Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Minnesota

All About Minnesota’s Early Childhood Education

The people of Minnesota, known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” are highly literate, as well as among the nation’s healthiest. The state’s dedication to quality education accounts for the many top honors it has received, and it has the distinction of being host to the first charter school.

The average starting salary for Minnesota teachers in 2012-2013 was $34,505, slightly under the national average. Many states have experienced budget cuts, and Minnesota is no exception, with a slight decrease in per-student spending. However, in December 2011, Minnesota received a $45 million award from the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant, with the aim of enriching early childhood education and development opportunities for Minnesota’s young children.

The state of Minnesota parent website provides resource links and information about the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and its Early Learning Services Division. Administered by the MDE, the following programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start, were developed to support early childhood education in Minnesota:

The School Readiness Program is available to all eligible public school children aged three to kindergarten. This program aims to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten and to ensure parental involvement in their child’s education.

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is a program available to all Minnesota families with young children. ECFE emphasizes family as a foundation for later education and works to ensure that all parents and family members have the ability and parenting education to provide good learning environments for their children.

Infant and Toddler Intervention/Preschool Special Education helps eligible children from birth to age two with specific diagnosed mental or physical disorders or disabilities that may cause a developmental delay.

Reading Well by Third Grade aims to ensure that instruction, curriculum and assessments support the organization’s namesake goal. Reading Well by Third Grade webinars are also available.

Minnesota’s Teacher Certification and Licensure

The Educator Licensing Division manages licensing and verification of administrators and public educators in Minnesota’s public schools, and is the place to go for information about becoming an educator here.

Types of Educator License Applications

  • First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License: For applicants who have completed an administrative or teacher licensure program.
  • Limited Full-Time License: For applicants who have a bachelor’s or higher with at least a minor in the relevant area of study, but who have not been through a teacher education program.
  • Limited Intern: This requires a university/college and district signature.
  • Two-Year, Short-Call Substitute: For applicants with a non-education bachelor’s degree. You will need a statement to verify that the school district cannot easily find licensed teachers.

Kindergarten Endorsement Licensure Option

Applicants with a Minnesota elementary (grades one through six) teaching license may also add kindergarten by completing an approved, valid kindergarten methods course along with a practicum. Be sure to include an endorsement application with a transcript showing an approved kindergarten methods course, as well as any required fee payments.

Online Licensing System.

Log into this system to apply for a new license, renew a license, and more.


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Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

Minnesota has an impressive number of colleges and universities, of which six private schools rank in the top 100 U.S. liberal arts colleges.

has 337 full-time faculty and almost 7,500 students, and offers undergraduate degrees for early childhood (birth through age three) and elementary education (K through six).

Combining research and instruction, the University of Minnesota-Duluth

is a branch of the University of Minnesota system. Students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in early childhood education, as well as an undergraduate degree in elementary education.

a Christian-oriented school with a seminary, a graduate school and two colleges, awards undergraduate degrees in both early childhood education and elementary education.

is another Christian-focused school. Located in New Ulm, Minnesota on a 50 acre campus, the College trains teachers, religious and otherwise, through undergraduate degrees in early childhood education and elementary education.

Teaching Jobs in Minnesota

The U.S. Department of Education has developed a list of regions in Minnesota with teacher shortages. You can see the list here.

Minnesota’s Professional Groups for Teachers

Education Minnesota, a union of 70,000 educators, is an AFL-CIO, AFT and NEA affiliate representing teachers, higher education faculty members and school support staff.

Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) & ESPs is a union of professionals with the goal of improving the Minneapolis school system.

The Teacher’s Retirement Association is a statewide pension fund for educators in Minnesota. Benefits include retirement, disability and death benefits for teachers and their families.

The Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MNAEYC) is made up of nearly 700 professionals including teachers, center directors, and advocates, to name a few. The organization is dedicated to networking with early care and education, as well as with school-age programs across Minnesota. It is also affiliated with the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The Minnesota Center for Professional Development supports early childhood and school-age educators throughout the state in maintaining and adding competency, with the goal of giving children the best educations possible.


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ECE Blogs in Minnesota

The Small Wonders Blog, connecting children with nature, is an education-based consulting company. Their services include nature education, teacher training, teacher workshops and more.

The Early Childhood and Youth Development blog is maintained by the Dakota County Technical College program of the same name. Among the resources for teachers are activity cards, a semester schedule, block plans, observation forms and the ECYD Policy Handbook. Children can use the blog, too, to for fun, facts and games.

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