Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in North Dakota

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North Dakota’s school system historically began in 1873 when the first public school was opened in Bismarck at the Congressional Church. From those humble beginnings of a handful of pupils, they now serve over 100k students statewide. Of these students, several famous people have passed through the school halls including William H. Gass, author of Fargo, and Louis L’Amour who wrote multiple award-winning novels about the West. At one time these students sat in English classes in local North Dakota schools.

If you aspire to become an English Language Arts teacher in North Dakota the door will open to opportunities for you to help to shape the minds and future careers of your students — possibly even educating the next great American author. To get you started on this journey, just follow the basic steps outlined below:

Complete Your Teacher Training Education
Pass Teaching Exams
Apply for a Teaching License in North Dakota
Upgrade Your North Dakota Teaching License



Step 1. Complete Your Teacher Training Education

The first part of your new journey will begin with an appropriate education. This means that you will need to enroll in an educational program that trains you to become an English Language Arts teacher. There are several institutions in North Dakota that are accredited for this purpose.

The programs will include the following breakdown in coursework categories:

  • Certifiable major in English Language Arts (or a minor depending on the grade level you teach)
  • Professional educational courses that train you as a teacher
  • General educational studies that include:
    • 26 semester (40 quarter hours) of professional educational coursework for secondary school teachers
    • 34 semester hours (50 quarter hours) for elementary school teachers

All teaching candidates in North Dakota are also required to complete an approved course in Native American/multicultural studies.

The general educational courses you will be required to take will fall under several broad categories. Each college may have a unique name for similar courses. The courses are divided into these basic areas of study:

  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Electives
  • History
  • Sociology

The teacher-training portion of your studies will consist of twenty-two semester hours of pedagogical courses. They will cover the following categories:

  • Foundations in Education
  • Child and Educational Psychology
  • Childhood Development
  • Methods and Practices of Teaching and Learning Theory
  • Diagnosis and Assessment of Education
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Behavioral Management
  • Human Relations in Education

This portion of your education will also include your internship. The classroom experience will cover a minimum of ten weeks of full-time participation in student teaching. Your internship must be completed at the grade level(s) you plan to teach. You will be under the supervision of your college or university during this time.

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Step 2. Pass Teaching Exams

North Dakota Department of Education requires you to take a set of exams as a final step to full licensing. These tests will show your basic skill levels in math, writing, and reading as well as specific content area tests.

Each of these exams has a set time limit, number of questions, and passing scores that you will need to meet. The core competency tests are listed in order of grade level as well as subject area. For instance, if you are planning on teaching high school you will need to include test number 5038. This test is specifically designed to show that you have acquired the skills necessary to teach secondary level English Language Arts.

Preparing for your exams:

  • Create a Praxis account. Here you will be able to sign up for the tests, check your times, make changes, and request test scores.
  • Check out all the available study guides that are listed with each test.
  • Consider how many tests you want to take at one time. Given the fact that each test several hours, you may need to break up the testing dates.
  • Complete all the information necessary to apply for your testing date(s).
  • Print out your test date ticket and bring it with you, along with your official government issued ID. When you register, create your account with the name as it appears on your ID so that your entrance to the exam is permitted.



Step 3. Apply for a Teaching License in North Dakota

Now that you have completed your education and testing, you are ready to take the final step to licensing. The general steps to licensing are as follows:

  • Complete an accredited bachelor’s degree and teacher educational program including all required coursework listed above.
  • Have at least a 2.50 GPA on your college transcripts.
  • You will need to complete ten weeks of full-time, student teaching internship in either English Language Arts or elementary education.
  • Apply for and complete a finger print screening and criminal background check. You can receive the necessary forms for fingerprinting from your college or university teacher training program office.
  • Have a recommendation for licensing by your intern supervisor or other school official.
  • Fill out a completed application form, follow all the instructions, and supply all appropriate documentation.
  • Pay the application fee.

Mail fee, documents, and application to:

Education Standards and Practices Board
2718 Gateway Avenue, Suite 303
Bismarck ND 58503-0585

If you have any questions you can contact the Board at:

(701) 328-9641 office

The most common types of licensing in North Dakota are:

  • Initial License: This is the license that you will receive once you have met all requirements for licensing. This license is good for two years.
  • Two-Year Renewal: If you have less than 18 months of teaching in North Dakota, you will renew your initial license.
  • Regular License: Once you have met all of the licensing requirements, have taught for a minimum of 18 months in North Dakota schools, and completed six semester hours of continuing education. You will be able to apply for the Regular License. This license is good for five years, at which time you must renew.



Step 4. Upgrade Your North Dakota Teaching License

When you first signed up for your teacher-training program, you may have only met the minimum requirements of a bachelor’s degree. If this describes you, you have the opportunity to upgrade your teaching license by earning a master’s or doctorate degree. While continuing your education may not have been something you had considered, the additional salary benefits may be worth the time investment.

For example, a teacher in Bismark public schools will earn $42,605 (BA) in their first year of teaching. The teacher with a master’s degree will earn $48,167 and a doctorate earns $52,596. The difference in the first year is $5,562 (MA) and $9,991 (PhD). Just this fact alone will allow a teacher to earn an additional $166,860 over a thirty-year career for a master’s or $299,730 for a PhD.

There are other possible perks to a higher degree as well. If at some point in your career you decide to seek an administrative position or teach at the college level, you will have your education completed. You may even want to consider earning a higher degree when you first apply to college.



North Dakota English Teacher Salaries

A few years ago, North Dakota was one of the fastest growing states in the country. It also has the lowest unemployment rate. In 2012—when much of the nation was edging towards double digits—North Dakota was at just under 4% unemployment. This strong state economy is just one of the many factors that draws more people to this state each year. Among those are teachers that will teach in North Dakota’s 521 public schools districts.

Teachers who are new in the field will want to consider the salaries of teachers around North Dakota as all schools negotiate contracts on a regular basis. The average teacher salary in North Dakota was $31,065 according to the NEA. This average salary does not necessarily reflect a teacher’s experience or education, however.

As an example, an English teacher in Fargo North Dakota will be able to start at $37,145. For a post-graduate degree and additional college courses he will be able to increase his pay. Additional education isn’t the only thing that will affect his salary though. Every year this English teacher stays in Fargo schools he will be awarded a minimum of one percent increase a year in pay. For the first year, that would add on an additional $371.45. Each additional year is compounded by another one-percent-plus increase.

In Grand Forks schools the teacher salary steps are different. They still allow for increases according to additional education, however longevity increases are predetermined dollar amounts. For example, the same first year English teacher would earn $36,850 in Grand Forks. In their second year they would earn $37,550. The schedule is predetermined all the way through twenty-five years.

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