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Alternative Teaching Certification in Minnesota

In order to get qualified teachers into the classroom as quickly as possible Minnesota has created tiered teacher certifications. This article covers the necessary qualifications for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 licensing which most closely resemble alternative teaching licenses in other states.

Career Overview

Teachers are an integral part of any child's development. Without their dedication, we wouldn't have a literate and educated populace. The chart below shows the education requirements, job duties, and salary of teachers in Minnesota.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
License Required Teaching license issued by the state of Minnesota
License Renewals Valid for one year can be renewed three times (Tier 1), valid for two years, can be renewed three times (Tier 2)
Testing Required Passing scores on content and pedagogy exams (Tier 2 only, optional)
Key Responsibilities Instruct students in the area of their specialty
Job Growth (2016-2026) 7% (kindergarten and elementary nationwide), 8% (middle school nationwide), 8% (high school nationwide)
Median Salary (2017) $58,790 (kindergarten), $63,490 (elementary), $64,780 (middle school), $65,290 (secondary school)*

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Teacher?

Teachers work to educate students and help them grow as both scholars and people. Teachers are responsible for the creation of lesson plans, homework, and tests. Teachers measure student progress through grading projects, homework, and tests. Outside of the classroom teachers may be responsible for supervising students in the halls, during lunch, and during recess. Additionally, the teacher needs to keep parents informed of their child's behavior and progress.

What Are Minnesota's Licensing Tiers?

In order to help teachers get into the classroom faster, Minnesota has created tiered licensure. Tier 1 and Tier 2 licensures allow one to begin teaching without completion of a teacher preparation program. However, those who have sought a Tier 2 license are expected to have enrolled in a teacher preparation program. These licenses most closely resemble alternative licenses issued by other states. Tier 1 licenses are valid for one year and can be renewed up to three times while Tier 2 licenses are valid for two years and can be renewed up to three times.

What Are the Testing Requirements for Licensing?

There are no testing requirements for Tier 1 licenses in Minnesota. For Tier 2 licenses one can pass a Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination in the specific subjects which one intends to teach in schools. However, it is optional for one to sit such an exam as one could alternatively complete a teacher preparation program, hold eight upper-division credits in one's subject area, receive training in subject-specific teaching methods, have two or more years teaching in one's subject area, or hold a master's degree.

What Are the Background Check Requirements?

Prospective teachers in Minnesota are required to submit a fingerprint card before they can begin working in the classroom. Fingerprint cards can be requested through local law enforcement, by emailing pelsb@state.mn.us, or by calling 651-539-4200. If one calls one must be sure to press 'Option 1' and leave their full name and mail address in their message. If one gets their fingerprint card through their local police station they must be sure they receive the card with the sky blue border.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Most teachers in Minnesota are required to have a bachelor's degree. This degree can be in any subject, not just education or the subject one intends to teach. However, one may have an easier time passing the content knowledge and pedagogy exams if one has their degree in the area they intend to teach or in education itself. Additionally, if one is teaching Career and Tech Ed or Career Pathways they need only have an associate's degree, professional certification, or five years of relevant work experience.