How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota

Deciding to become a teacher in North Dakota is a great idea! It takes a unique and talented person to decide on a career in education. Each state has different requirements for becoming a teacher. The following steps will help you stay on task while on your journey toward becoming a teacher in North Dakota.

Choose What You Want to Teach

First you should decide what level or subject (s) you desire to teach before moving to other steps. You can become licensed to teach elementary school, middle school, high school, or special education. Do you have a passion for a certain content area like English or Math? If so, you should considering getting licensed to teach high school or middle school. Do you prefer to teach multiple fundamental skills to younger children? If that is the case, you can consider becoming licensed to teach elementary school. Each area has different requirements that you must know and fulfill. You can visit the state's Department of Education for additional details on school districts, teachers, and students in North Dakota.

Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in North Dakota

As with all states, it is a basic requirement that public school teachers in North Dakota possess at a minimum a Bachelor's Degree. You must also hold a license to teach, which is often earned after the completion of a teacher preparation program.

If you do not have a Bachelor's Degree yet, it is likely that you can complete the educational requirements for a teaching license and a Bachelor's Degree simultaneously through a blended program. A blended program joins the coursework for a Bachelor's Degree and a teacher preparation program so that you can become a teacher more quickly. This is great for individuals who know that they want to become a teacher from early on.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

Before becoming certified to teach in North Dakota, you must earn your teaching credentials or license. This is often done by completing a teacher preparation program. The coursework for the program will revolve around the level or subject you wish to teach. Keep in mind that the program must be accredited.

Teacher education programs are often intensive and require the teaching candidate to meet the demands of the school's curriculum and fieldwork. Classes usually consist of a combination of both aspects. Actual instruction is often based on pedagogy, teaching methods, differentiated instruction, and integration of technology. The fieldwork component of the program usually involves classroom observations, student teaching under the guidance of a licensed teacher, or internships. Student teaching involves the teaching candidate to take over a real classroom under the supervision of a master teacher. As a student teacher, you will prepare lessons, implement the lessons, and grade assignments just as a licensed teacher would be expected to do. Each of the mentioned areas must be mastered in order to successfully complete a teacher preparation program.

As mentioned earlier, if you do not have a degree yet, it is very likely that you could complete a teacher preparation program and earn a Bachelor's Degree simultaneously through a joint program.

However, if you do already have a Bachelor's Degree, you can complete a post-baccalaureate or alternate teacher preparation program. This route will still lead you to a teaching credential for the state of North Dakota. Many institutions offer joint Master's Degree programs as well.

Alternative Teacher Certification in North Dakota

There are some alternative ways to meet the education requirements for becoming a teacher in North Dakota.

Transition to Teaching / Clinical Practice

The state honors the "Transition to Teaching" or "Clinical Practice" program. This is a one-year alternative teacher preparation program designed for new non-traditional teachers. In other words, it is for individuals who hold non-teaching baccalaureate degrees in teaching-shortage areas. The program is also for individuals who are entering teaching from another industry or the military with specific technical skills.

Individuals participating in the Transition to Teaching/Clinical Practice program will be mentored by a master teacher for one year. These individuals will also participate in online and face-to-face seminar and courses. After one successful year, participants will earn credit for student teaching and the course Introduction to Teaching. Over the course of the next year after completing the those requirements, individuals will take additional classes specified by their university in order to meet the remaining requirements for a license.

Teacher Certification Reciprocity

Do you have a license to teach in another state? North Dakota has limited reciprocity with other states. In order to receive interim reciprocal licensure, you must first hold a valid and current teaching credential or license from another state, or must have graduated from a state approved teacher education program.

Applicants must submit an acceptable plan for completing the remaining North Dakota requirements. If accepted, you will be issued a 2-year interim reciprocal license.

Pass the Required Tests for North Dakota

Another step you must complete before becoming a certificated teacher in North Dakota is to pass the required tests.

Basic Skills

You will need to pass a basic skills test and a subject area competency test. The basic skills test is often referred to as the "Pre-Professional Skills Test" (PPST) or Praxis I. This basic skills test will assess your skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Subject Test

The subject-area competency test requirement will be based on the area you want to teach and is often fulfilled by taking the Praxis II exam. This assessment includes three sections on subject assessment, principles of learning and teaching, and teaching foundations test.

Some colleges or universities require that candidates pass these test before entering or exiting a teacher preparation program. For a school's specific requirements, ask a school representative or advisor.

Apply for your North Dakota Teaching License

Application Requirements

The Department of Education in the state of North Dakota asks applicants to submit the following when applying to become a certificated educator in the state:

  • Completed application form
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Documentation to verify the application, including official college transcript(s) showing proof of a Bachelor's Degree and completion of a teacher preparation program
  • Passing score of required exams

Contact Information

North Dakota Education and Standards Board
2718 Gateway Ave., Suite 303
Bismarck, ND 58503-0585
Phone: (701) 328-9641

Find a Teaching Job in North Dakota

North Dakota assures highly qualified professional educators for its students. With that said, once the above steps have been fulfilled, you will be ready for your own classroom this fine state.

Public Schools

The North Dakota Office of Public Instruction maintains an online database of all available teaching jobs within the state. The state also lists some teaching jobs using SchoolSpring.com.

Labor Unions for Public School Teachers

Upon hiring, teachers can join a state labor union. In North Dakota, the options are ND United, and the NEA. Additionally, teachers can join a subject-specific professional association like the North Dakota Science Teachers Association (NDSTA).

Retirement Plans for Public School Teachers

Contribution to a retirement plan through the North Dakota Teachers' Fund for Retirement (TFFR) is mandatory. After retirement, teachers and surviving spouses draw a monthly amount from the fund depending on contributions made while working.

Private Schools

At this time, there is a low need for teachers in the public system (Feb. 2014). Interested applicants are encouraged to submit their CV to any of the state's 52 private schools. Teachers should be aware that 85% of private schools in the state have a religious affiliation. Private schools are not required by law to hire solely certificated teachers. With that said, certified teachers and non-certified teachers have an opportunity to teach in a private school. However, certified teachers are often highly preferred.

Teacher Shortage in North Dakota by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in North Dakota has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year

  • Agriculture Education
  • Business and Office Technology (Business Education)
  • Career Clusters
  • Computer Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • English Language Arts
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Health Careers
  • Information Technology
  • Languages/Native American Languages
  • Marketing Education
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education Programming
  • Technology Education (Industrial Arts)
  • Trade and Industrial Education

Number of Public School Teachers By Grade

The table below lists the number of public school teachers in North Dakota by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers130
Kindergarten Teachers549
Elementary Teachers4,916
Middle & High School Teachers3,082

Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013

Number of Private School Teachers By Grade

There are more than 40 private schools with an estimated 500 private school teachers in North Dakota. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Elementary School Teachers230
Middle & High School Teachers32
Combined K-12 School Teachers250

Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012

Continue Your Professional Development and Education

The American educational system was established with teacher professional development as an integral component. Over the last few decades, more research than ever reflects that teachers who engage in high quality and ongoing professional development achieve higher rates of student achievement, career goals, and earn a higher salary.

Professional Development in North Dakota

In the state of North Dakota, professional development initiatives are guided from the national and state levels to district and schools. This way, teachers can exercise their due diligence by making sure that the professional development offerings they engage in are ones that not only meet their own needs as educators, but also align with district, national, and student needs. Additionally, teachers need to ensure that the professional development they engage in empowers them to demonstrate leadership, underscores a respect for diversity in the student population, supports classroom content and common core standards, and helps them reflect and assess their practice. Teachers with further inquiries are encouraged to contact their district, the state Department of Education, and the Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) for information.

Employment and Teacher Salary in North Dakota

Newly hired teachers in a full-time position in the state of North Dakota can expect to make $32,019 - almost exactly the mean salary of the state. With 521 public schools across the state, and statewide shortages in teachers certified to teach languages, technology, arts, STEM subjects, and special education, North Dakota's Department of Education is committed to filling gaps for the states students. Teachers certified to teach the above subjects, or who apply to larger urban centers like Bismarck, Fargo, and Long Beach Unified where there is increased need may be hired more quickly.

Total Employed

5,250

Salary Range

$37,760 - $63,090

Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $37,760 to $63,090 a year in North Dakota. There are around five thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.

Elementary School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo1,380$50,840
Bismarck770$49,490
Grand Forks540$47,750

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)

Total Employed

170

Salary Range

$37,190 - $93,250

English teachers have a salary range between $37,190 to $93,250 a year in North Dakota, with over 170 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.

Total Employed

2,780

Salary Range

$38,490 - $63,180

As a high school teacher in North Dakota you can expect to make between $38,490 - $63,180. There are around two thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.

High School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo770$49,990
Grand Forks360$49,620
Bismarck330$50,330

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)

Total Employed

60

Salary Range

$50,920 - $97,490

In North Dakota, a history teacher's salary may range from $50,920 to $97,490. There are around sixty employed history teachers. Get more information about becoming a history teacher.

Total Employed

9,270

Salary Range

$37,760 - $98,510

As a math teacher in North Dakota you can expect to make between $37,760 - $98,510. North Dakota is home to about nine thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.

Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Grand Forks30$84,220

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1022)

Total Employed

590

Salary Range

$17,870 - $56,140

P.e. teachers have a salary range between $17,870 to $56,140 a year in North Dakota. North Dakota is home to about 590 p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.

Coaches and Scouts
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo280$31,340
Bismarck120$25,300
Grand Forks110$37,780

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)

Total Employed

460

Salary Range

$20,190 - $39,570

In North Dakota, a preschool teacher's salary may range from $20,190 to $39,570, with over 460 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.

Preschool Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Grand Forks100$32,700
Fargo-$28,430

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

Total Employed

680

Salary Range

$31,960 - $113,050

As a school administrator in North Dakota you can expect to make between $31,960 - $113,050. North Dakota is home to about 680 school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo80$41,040

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)

Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo140$97,870
Bismarck70$96,200
Grand Forks70$90,830

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)

Total Employed

700

Salary Range

$42,910 - $72,860

School counselors in North Dakota, can earn between $42,910 to $72,860 a year, with over 700 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo250$54,660
Bismarck120$54,970
Grand Forks100$55,830

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)

Total Employed

470

Salary Range

$40,770 - $66,480

School librarians have a salary range between $40,770 to $66,480 a year in North Dakota. North Dakota is home to about 470 school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.

Librarians
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo120$52,960
Bismarck90$51,240
Grand Forks90$50,290

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)

Total Employed

1,280

Salary Range

$42,050 - $68,850

In North Dakota, a special education teacher's salary may range from $42,050 to $68,850. North Dakota is home to about a thousand special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?

Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo260$51,130
Grand Forks140$51,760
Bismarck110$51,780

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)

Special Education Teachers (Middle School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo60$49,720

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Middle School) (SOC Code: 25-2053)

Special Education Teachers (High School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo130$53,500
Bismarck40$52,490

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (High School) (SOC Code: 25-2054)

Total Employed

4,120

Salary Range

$24,910 - $38,670

In North Dakota, a teaching assistant's salary may range from $24,910 to $38,670. There are around four thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?

Teacher Assistants
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Fargo740$26,740
Grand Forks640$28,370
Bismarck630$31,110

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)

Top School Districts Supporting Teachers in North Dakota

homepage_badge_topTeachers work hard every day and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in North Dakota that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. 10 school districts in North Dakota were analyzed with the top 5 school districts being featured below. The school districts were scored on several factors which represent how well a school district supports their teachers.

For more information on school district rankings, see our methodology page: http://www.teacher.org/school-district-ranking-methodology.

Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 93.99
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 92.11
% Proficiency Score: 96.23

Located south of the community of Webster, North Dakota, the Devils Lake 1 School District is an important part of Ramsey County. Serving more than 1,600 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, the district employs more than 100 classroom teachers and over 100 additional staff members throughout its 5 schools, which provides a student-teacher ratio of about 13:1. Devils Lake schools are proud to provide a quality education to create a quality life for students every day. Learn more by visiting the Devils Lake 1 School District website at edlinesites.net.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 1,000-2,000 Students
  • > 75 Total Support Staff
  • 76.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 96.85
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 86.5
% Proficiency Score: 96.27

Located north of Fargo, at the extreme eastern edge of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Public Schools Districts is home to about 7,200 students spanning pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Employing more than 500 classroom teachers throughout its 19 elementary, middle and high schools, the district reports a student-teacher ratio of about 12:1. Grand Forks schools provide an environment of educational excellence for each student. Learn more by visiting the Grand Forks Public Schools website at gfschools.org.

District Details
  • > 500 FTE Teachers
  • 5000-10,000 Students
  • > 300 Total Support Staff
  • 76.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 100
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 76.06
% Proficiency Score: 100

Located between Bismarck and Valley City, North Dakota, Jamestown 1 School District serves more than 2,000 elementary, intermediate and secondary students throughout its 9 schools. With a teacher employment of more than 150 classroom teachers, Jamestown 1 District has a classroom ratio of about 12:1. Jamestown teachers and administrators are committed to planning for each student's successful future. Learn more by visiting the Jamestown 1 School District website at jamestown.k12.nd.us.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 2,000-3,000 Students
  • > 100 Total Support Staff
  • 79.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 86.28
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 93.06
% Proficiency Score: 93.14

Located in the community of Minot, North Dakota, between Burlington and Velva, Minot Public Schools operate 19 elementary, middle and secondary schools. With more than 7,500 students from pre-K to grade 12, the district employs more than 500 classroom teachers. A student-teacher ratio of about 14:1 ensures that Minot schools are dedicated to ensuring that every student experiences a safe but challenging school environment. Learn more by visiting the Minot Public Schools website at minot.k12.nd.us.

District Details
  • > 500 FTE Teachers
  • 5000-10,000 Students
  • > 300 Total Support Staff
  • 74.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 80.07
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 100
% Proficiency Score: 91.24

Located just east of the Missouri River, Mandan Public Schools District is an important part of Morton County. Headquartered in Mandan, North Dakota, the district operates 9 elementary, middle and high schools that enrol a total of almost 3,500 students. With more than 200 classroom teachers employed through the district, the learning ratio is about 15 students per teacher, ensuring that Mandan schools are places for students to grow, safe and supported by all. Learn more by visiting the Mandan 1 School District website at mandan.k12.nd.us.

District Details
  • > 200 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 150 Total Support Staff
  • 72.5 Avg % Proficiency

Continued List of School Districts in North Dakota

RankingSchool DistrictSchoolsTeachersOverall Score
#6 Fargo Public Schools2282690.2
#7 West Fargo Public Schools1666384.46
#8 Dickinson 1 School District1021884.13
#9 Bismarck Public Schools2678083.42
#10 Williston 1 School District820475.39

Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey