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South Dakota Teacher Certification & Licensing Requirements

Find out about the process to become a teacher in South Dakota. Learn more about the specific requirements needed to apply for the South Dakota educator certification.

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The United States and South Dakota Departments of Education have identified areas in the state experiencing a teacher shortage, including several counties and Native American reservations. It is critical that all South Dakota students have access to well-qualified teachers. By becoming a teacher, you can instill a love of learning in your students, which can lead to future success.

Average Salary for Teachers in South Dakota (2017)* $41,570 (Elementary School); $42,520 (Middle School); $41,980 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Teacher Education; South Dakota Indian Studies course
Testing Requirements Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) or Praxis Principles of Teaching and Learning (PLT) (all grades); Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects or Praxis Content Knowledge or Praxis Elementary Education (Grades K-4 or 5-8); Praxis Subject Test (Grades K-8 for additional endorsement); Praxis Subject Test (High School)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

To become a teacher in South Dakota, you must receive at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Students must also complete a teacher education program from a regionally accredited institution approved by the state of South Dakota. The program typically includes coursework in areas such as educational theory and classroom management. Various majors and minors are available for students from the elementary level to the secondary grades. The teacher education program also has a fieldwork component which allows prospective teachers to gain experience teaching students in a real classroom.

Step 2: Complete a South Dakota Indian Studies Course

All prospective teachers must complete a three credit hour course in South Dakota Indian Studies. This can be completed as part of your degree or separately using an approved course. The course should include information on language, cultural awareness, history, theory and background of traditional tribal education, and strategies of South Dakota Indian learning styles and assessment. The South Dakota Department of Education maintains a list of in-classroom and online courses that meet this requirement.

Step 3: Complete Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training

All applicants for an educator certification in South Dakota must complete at least one hour of suicide and prevention training. This training should be evidence-based and include information on youth suicide risk indicators, educator responses, and sources of referrals. The South Dakota Department of Education provides an updated list of approved programs.

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Step 4: Pass Required Tests

Prospective teachers of all grade levels must take and pass either the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) or one of the Praxis Principles of Teaching and Learning tests (PLT). The PLT exams available vary according to the grade level which the applicants are interested to teach. In addition to the PPAT or PLT, those wishing to teach grades K-4 or 5-8 can choose to take one of the following tests: Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects, Praxis Content Knowledge, or Praxis Elementary Education. If you wish to include an endorsement for a specific subject, you must also take the appropriate Praxis Subject test. Those who wish to teach high school must take the Praxis subject test for their area of interest along with either the PLT or PPAT as well. The score reports of students who took the exam in South Dakota will be forwarded by ETS directly to the South Dakota Department of Education.

Step 5: Apply for the Educator Certification

Once you complete all coursework and exams, you can apply for the South Dakota Professional Educator Certification. This certification is for new teachers and is valid for five years. The application is completed online at the South Dakota Department of Education website using the Initial Educator Application form. The application must include documentation that all requirements are met, these include the official transcripts, verification of teacher education program completion, and official Praxis test scores.

Test Resources for South Dakota Teachers

We have a variety of resources to help you prepare for your South Dakota educator certification. Check out these links to help you study for the necessary exams.

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