Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in Minnesota

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If you plan to teach English in Minnesota schools, you will be embarking on a career that provides a service that is critical to a student’s educational success; not only native English speakers, but ESL students as well. There are now more than 65,000 students in Minnesota who are not native English speakers. It will be your job as a Language Arts teacher to help these students learn the art of the English language.

If you teach younger children, you will help them learn how to identify and spell words, create simple sentences, and read grade-level appropriate books. For teachers in secondary school, it will be expected that your students now grasp the language well enough to create essays in English, read full length novels, and be able to spell complex multi-syllable words. The job will prove to be rewarding and challenging. If you are ready to embark on this new career, here are some steps that you can take to get ready:

Complete Your Education
Pass the State Exams
Apply for a Teaching Certification
Continuing Education and Professional Development



Step 1. Complete Your Education

If you are considering teaching in Minnesota, the first step in the process is your own traning and education. There are numerous approved programs found in colleges and universities across the state. Each one of there accredited programs will offer you the necessary training that will ready you for teaching.

Each program will be divided into a set number of courses and topics. At the beginning of your program, you will probably take courses that were similar to some you took in high school, only at a college level, These courses are basic such as history, math, science, and communications. They lay a broad base for learning. From there you will step up to your core courses that include many English Language Arts courses as well as pedagogy that prepares you to teach.

Your elective classes are typically chosen from a list of classes that you find interesting or helpful to your career. Some of the courses will have prerequisites. For this reason, it’s a good idea to carefully plan your entire college years. Some classes may only be offered once a year. If you miss a class, it could set your education back a semester or an entire year.

In the final stage of your training, you will enter the teaching program. It is here that you will experience training both in a classroom setting and in a school where you will serve as a student teacher.

The total time invested in your education will be approximately four to five years. You will need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree, but many students continue on to earn a master’s as this will offer many additional perks such as higher income and higher qualifications than an undergrad degree.

Career Changers

If you already hold a degree (and work in some other industry) and are now considering a career change, your current education may count towards the credits needed for licensing. There are alternative teaching programs for candidates such as yourself. These programs may even allow you to teach at a public school, earn a full salary, and complete the coursework required for teaching certification all at the same time.

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Step 2. Pass the State Exams

Minnesota requires all its teaching candidates to pass state exams. These exams are designed to show you have acquired all the skills needed in order to teach. The primary exam is a basic skills test covering writing, mathematics and reading. This exam consists of the following:

  • Reading- 48 multiple-choice questions
  • Writing- 33 multiple-choice questions and two essays
  • Math- 50 multiple-choice questions

The total time allotted for all three exams is two hours. You will need to score at least 240 on each section. The other tests you need to take are content-area specific and grade-level specific. The required tests are determined by your subject and age of students.

When you are ready to apply for your exams, you can complete the process online at:



Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certification

The Educator Licensing Division licenses and and verifies the qualifications of teaching candidates in Minnesota public schools. In order to start the licensing process follow these steps:

Types of licenses:

  • Limited Full Time License: This license is awarded to candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree and also minored in the English but did not yet complete the teacher preparation program.  You will also need a verification form signed by the Minnesota public school district that you will work at while you complete your education that states the district has hardship and hasn’t been able to fill the position with a fully-licensed teacher.
  • First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License: This license is awarded to all applicants who have completed their teacher licensure program.



Step 4. Continuing Education and Professional Development

Every educator in Minnesota will need to complete certain clock hours for continuing education in order to renew their teaching license.

The following are a list of current class topics that are required by:

  • Positive behavioral intervening strategies
  • Warning signs- early-onset mental Illness in Children
  • Reading Preparation and Readiness
  • Use of Technology
  • Reflective Statement of Professional Accomplishment and evaluation of Professional Growth

Also under consideration is the concept of Job Embedded Professional Development (PD). It is believed that this form of professional development will allow educators the benefit of a collective number of teachers all helping each other learn while on the job. Job-embedded professional development means that an educator’s PD hours will take place during the workday in the workplace, with a team approach to learning. The training will be directly linked to goals that are set for the students by the school administration and the team of teachers.



Minnesota English Teacher Salaries

Teachers in Minnesota Typically earn a salary of $34,025 a year on average as reported by the NEA. Schools in Minnesota will vary their compensation to teachers as each district negotiates contracts based on factors such as cost of living, historical salaries paid, and school budgets available.

As you look at the various districts across Minnesota, you will find that most are within a close range of each other. For instance, an English teacher in the following Minnesota cities would earn salaries based on the experience and education listed below:

St. Michael, Albertville

  • Entry level BA – $36,346
  • Experienced MA – $42,680

Brooklyn Center

  • Entry Level BA – $34,635
  • Experienced MA – $40,102


  • Entry Level BA – $37,324
  • Experienced MA – $39,462

Each of these schools pays for steps in salary based on time spent teaching. They also award additional income based on added college units. Not all schools require that these units conform to a formal degree. Many times you will be rewarded simply for adding units to your professional development. As an example, Rosemount School will pay $39,462 to the teacher who earns either a master’s degree or one who adds 54 additional units to his bachelor’s degree.

This may be beneficial to teachers who prefer not to seek a specific degree, but rather choose to be lifelong learners by continually going to school throughout their life taking classes that would enhance their education. This is something many schools want to encourage as it benefits their students as well.

To look at other counties around the state of Minnesota for teacher salary information see the table below:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
La Crosse WI-MN
Mankato-North Mankato MN
Estimate Not Released
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released

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