There are many ways to become an educator in Minnesota, which makes it a great place to earn teacher licensure. The new tiered system, which went into effect July 2018, makes it easier for out-of-state teachers and those without traditional training to enter Minnesota classrooms. U.S. News and World Report ranks Minnesota among the top 15 states for education.
Many Minnesota colleges and universities offer online education programs that prepare learners to obtain licensure. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education's website provides a comprehensive list of schools that offer online courses. Earning a teaching degree online prepares students to begin teaching careers or to advance to high-level positions in education.
Learners can complete an online teaching preparation program through an out-of-state school, but because licensure requirements vary by state, students should ensure that the program aligns with Minnesota's licensure requirements. Applicants for a Minnesota teaching license must have completed student-teaching requirements in their chosen subject area. The state also requires candidates for licensure to take a human relations course from a Minnesota-approved program, so students attending an out-of-state institution may need to complete this course separately.
How Do You Become a Teacher in Minnesota?
All states require public school teachers to be licensed or certified in the grade level they teach, but specific licensure requirements, including education and experience, vary by state. Therefore, teaching licenses do not automatically transfer between states. Until recently, Minnesota required out-of-state teachers to complete a complicated process to obtain licensure, but the new tiered licensure structure simplifies the process.
The new licensing structure is divided into four tiers, with the fourth tier being the most prestigious. The fourth tier is only available to educators with at least three years of teaching experience in Minnesota. However, third-tier licenses are available to incoming teachers with two years of teaching experience in another state who are in good standing, and who have passed all required exams. Out-of-state teachers who have been offered a teaching position in a Minnesota school district can apply for a second-tier license before passing the required exams. The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board specifies requirements for all tiers of licensure.
In most states, K–12 teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. However, in some states, preschool teachers only need an associate teaching degree. Minnesota pre-K teachers working in public schools must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution. But an associate degree in child development or early childhood education qualifies professionals for positions as assistant teachers or teachers in a childcare setting. Additionally, Minnesota's new licensure system allows associate degree holders to teach career and technical classes.
Because education requirements vary by position and licensure level, aspiring teachers may need to complete two to four years of education.
To obtain teaching certification, Minnesota candidates must hold a bachelor's degree. Candidates with a bachelor's degree in any subject can apply for a first-tier licensure, which is valid for one year and can be renewed three times. Depending on the licensure tier, candidates may need to be enrolled in or have completed an approved teacher preparation program.
Because education requirements vary by position and licensure level, aspiring teachers may need to complete two to four years of education. Students in teacher preparation programs complete at least 12 weeks of student teaching.
After earning a Minnesota teaching license, professionals can apply for licensure in other states. Minnesota participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement. This agreement simplifies the process for transferring teaching licenses between states by specifying the credentials each state recognizes. Each participating state provides a statement outlining the types of educator certificates it accepts from other states. Teachers may need to complete additional requirements before earning certification in a new state.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Minnesota
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Effects Of Drugs On Children and Adolescent Health||This class explores the physical, social, emotional, and mental health components of drug use among children and adolescents. Topics include addiction theories, family dynamics, and best practices for drug education, intervention, and treatment.|
|Introduction To Educational Psychology||Students review the core principles of learning and how to apply them in classrooms. Coursework explores the cognitive, linguistic, social, and moral development of students and how development relates to learning outcomes.|
|Foundations Of Early Literacy||This course prepares future early childhood educators, primary teachers, and paraprofessionals. Students learn theories and strategies related to literacy in pre-kindergarten through third grade. Students review instructional methods to promote early literacy development skills.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Learners With Special Needs||Students explore methods to teach gifted students and those with disabilities and special needs. They learn techniques and resources to help students succeed, especially those in urban settings.|
|Human Relations In Education||Learners review the causes and psychological dynamics of forms of human oppression, including racism and sexism. The course prepares students to utilize anti-bias teaching strategies in the classroom and is required to obtain licensure.|
|Technology For Teaching And Learning||This course prepares future teachers to use educational technology in K–12 classrooms. Students learn how to effectively use technology to stimulate personal productivity and to improve learning processes.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Education Of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool Children With Disabilities||Students learn how to develop intervention services for young children with disabilities and their families. Learners explore practical applications of intervention.|
|Social, Cultural, Political, and Community Dimensions Of Education||This course provides school leaders with an understanding of the historical, philosophical, ethical, social, and economic influences that impact education.|
|Legal and Ethical Issues In Education||This class explores legal issues, professional ethics, and moral philosophy in education.|
Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Minnesota
Minnesota offers several paths to obtain teaching licensure. As of July 1, 2018, the state's new tiered licensure structure will allow teachers to obtain one of four types of licensure. Minnesota's new Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board oversees and issues teacher licenses. The board consolidates the Minnesota Department of Education Licensing Division and the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Below is a breakdown of the licensure levels in the tiered structure.
The first-tier license is the lowest level of certification. Most candidates for a tier-one license must hold a bachelor's degree. Teachers of career and technical education or career pathway programs need only an associate degree, professional certification, or five years of relevant work experience. These specialized teachers can also earn upper-tier licensure with the same qualifications. School districts and teachers must apply jointly for this license, and the district must prove it could not find a teacher with a tier-two, -three, or -four license. A tier-one license is valid for one year and can be renewed three times, though districts may continue to renew the license under certain conditions.
Tier four is the most prestigious type of license. It is valid for five years and can be renewed indefinitely.
In addition to a bachelor's degree, candidates for a tier-two license must be enrolled in a state-approved teacher preparation program, have a master's degree in the subject they plan to teach, or meet at least two teaching qualifications. This includes completing an approved teacher preparation program, earning at least eight upper-division or graduate-level credits in their subject area, completing training in teaching methods specific to their subject area, having at least two years of teaching experience in any state, or earning passing scores on the state's pedagogy and content exams. Tier-two licenses are valid for two years and can be renewed three times. The school district and teacher must apply jointly.
To earn a tier-three license, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, pass the state's pedagogy and content exams, and meet at least one teaching criteria. This includes completing a state-approved teacher preparation program, finishing an out-of-state preparation program with equivalent student-teaching requirements, having a portfolio in a given licensure field, holding a professional teaching license from another state with two years of teaching experience, or having three years of teaching experience with a tier-two license and evidence of summative evaluations that did not result in placement on an improvement plan. Tier-three licenses are valid for three years and can be renewed indefinitely.
Tier four is the most prestigious type of license. A tier-four license requires candidates to hold a bachelor's degree, have completed a preparation program, earn passing scores on state exams and a board-approved skills exam, and have three years of teaching experience in Minnesota. Candidates' most recent teacher evaluation must be satisfactory. A fourth-tier license is valid for five years and can be renewed indefinitely.
Minnesota participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, a collection of more than 50 individual agreements among states and Canadian provinces. States in this agreement outline the type of teaching qualifications they accept from other states. While the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement simplifies the process for teachers moving between states, candidates must typically complete additional requirements to earn full licensure in a new state.
Choosing a Degree Program in Minnesota
Aspiring teachers have many options for online education programs in Minnesota. Prospective students should consider factors such as cost, geographic location, and available specializations.
Geographic location is important, even for online students. Some distance programs require residencies or campus visits. Students should also consider student-teaching requirements and whether the program allows learners to complete field experiences locally. Learners should check with the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board to ensure the program meets requirements for state teaching licensure. Minnesota state provides a list of approved teacher preparation programs.
Prospective students should also decide on a budget. Schools typically list tuition rates online. In-state students almost always pay less than out-of-state students, though some online programs charge learners the same rate, regardless of residency. Pursuing a specialization, such as special education, could extend program length and increase cost.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Minnesota?
Several Minnesota institutions offer online teaching degrees. When researching online programs, prospective students should verify the program holds accreditation and meets state requirements for the type of licensure the student plans to pursue. Most programs state this information online.
Candidates for licensure in Minnesota must have completed at least 12 weeks of student teaching. Some online programs partner with K–12 schools throughout the state, allowing distance learners to complete field experiences locally. Students should contact their prospective program to learn about student teaching placement options.
According to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, aspiring teachers need a degree from a regionally-accredited college or university. The Higher Learning Commission is the regional accrediting agency responsible for accrediting Minnesota schools; the agency provides a list of accredited programs on its website. Education programs may also hold field-specific accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Minnesota
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Minnesota
Education students have a variety of options for financing their degree. Learners should begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether you qualify for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Many states and schools use FAFSA information to determine whether students are eligible for state and university-sponsored aid.
The federal government offers financial programs specifically for educators, including the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and federal Perkins loan cancellation. Minnesota offers a grant for students enrolled in a Minnesota teacher preparation program. Prospective educators can also apply for grants and scholarships through private and nonprofit organizations.
Loan Forgiveness for Minnesota Teachers
Some teachers in Minnesota can significantly decrease student loan debt through state or federal loan forgiveness programs. These programs encourage students to pursue teaching careers and incentivize teachers to work in high-need areas and subjects.
Minnesota educators can apply for the Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program, which awards up to $1,000 per year for a maximum of five years. The program relieves student loan debt for teachers working in shortage areas, which include specific geographic regions and teacher licensure fields. The award cannot exceed the balance of the recipient's qualified educational loans, including principal and interest.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program supports qualifying teachers in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families. Teachers can receive up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness for direct loans and federal Stafford loans. Federal Perkins loan cancellation is available to teachers who work at low-income schools, teach special education, or teach in a high-need subject. The program cancels up to 100% of federal Perkins loans for eligible teachers. Most elementary and secondary school teachers qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which forgives the remaining balance on a teacher's direct federal loans after they have made monthly payments for 10 years.
Scholarships for Minnesota Teaching Students
Teaching students have access to a variety of scholarships that are specifically for educators. Teaching students in Minnesota can apply for scholarships through the state, universities, individual donors, and organizations.
Minnesota Teacher Candidate Grant $7,500
Audrey Erskine Scholarship Award $500
Judy Lindman Memorial Scholars Program $6,000 per year
Ann Allen Kindergarten Scholarship $500
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Minnesota
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Minnesota's more than 164,000 teachers earn an annual mean wage of about $54,000, while the mean wage for teachers in the U.S. is about $54,500. Educators in the Twin Cities area generally earn higher salaries than teachers outside the metropolitan area. Minnesota's largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, reported in 2016 that more than half of all school teachers in the state's capital city earn more than $75,000 per year.
High school teachers earn the most among educators in Minnesota, with an average annual salary of about $64,310, which is nearly double the average salary of preschool teachers in the state. Elementary school teachers make up the largest teacher group, followed by secondary school teachers.
|Elementary School Teachers||$62,000|
|Middle School Teachers||$62,470|
|Secondary School Teachers||$64,310|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Minnesota
How do I get certified to teach in Minnesota?
What is the average salary for a teacher in Minnesota?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Minnesota?
Resources for Teachers in Minnesota
- Education Minnesota As the largest education union in the state, Education Minnesota offers bargaining resources, supplemental healthcare options, professional development opportunities, and legal assistance. Student members have access to scholarships, financial assistance, professional workshops, and conferences. Education Minnesota is a division of the National Education Association.
- Minnesota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Minnesota ASCD is the state affiliate of the International ASCD. The organization helps state educators end racial achievement and outcome gaps. Members receive discounted event registration, a monthly newsletter, governance voting rights, leadership and networking opportunities, and exclusive access to education resources.
- Minnesota Middle School Association MMSA supports Minnesota middle school educators. Members have access to regional seminars, grants, discounted rates on teaching resources, and development and networking opportunities.
- National Education Association With more than three million members, NEA is the nation's largest professional educator advocacy group. The organization helps members gain access to better pay, representation, and working conditions. Other benefits include financial assistance, professional development, and on-the-job liability insurance. NEA's student branch, National Education Association Aspiring Educators, connects members to scholarship and professional development opportunities. Members also receive a subscription to the association's annual magazine, which contains first-year teaching tips and strategies for parental and community outreach.
- American Federation of Teachers The AFT is a national educator union that supports high-quality public education. Member benefits include financial assistance, discount programs, supplementary insurance programs, and legal assistance. The AFT offers an associate member program for students, which provides the same benefits, along with access to a student debt clinic and financial aid programs.