Early Childhood Teacher Certification in North Dakota

All About North Dakota Early Childhood Education

North Dakota, a largely rural state in the upper Midwest, is the 19th largest state by area, but the third least-populated and fourth least densely populated in the country. Its higher education institutions are located in Fargo and Grand forks. North Dakota has escaped the Great Recession mostly unscathed, due to its resources and state bank. Developing those resources has generated economic growth and kept unemployment low. An additional $1 billion in Federal agricultural subsidies also contributes to North Dakota’s continued good fortune.

The 2012 average salary for teachers was $44,807, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although many states have experienced budget cuts, North Dakota has seen a significant increase in per-student spending since 2008. In March 2012, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced that North Dakota will receive $1.2 million to help improve its schools, which persistently rank among the nation’s lowest in academic achievement. Over $70 million is available for North Dakota through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The assistance is expected to support sorely needed education reform, as well as saving hundreds of thousands of teachers’ jobs that were at risk from state and local budget cuts.

With all of North Dakota’s well-rounded and well-funded early childhood programs, the state is still eagerly looking for improvements to their programs and ways to increase funding. As of 2013, several innovative programs are in operation. In 2011, North Dakota started special funding to for the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program. Created by the North Dakota State University Extension Service in collaboration with statewide Parent Resource Centers, the program helps with the transition from preschool to kindergarten. The state’s Head Start programs enroll 3,322 students as of 2013.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) Early Childhood Education website provides support and guidance to North Dakota schools, with the focus on early learning experiences and assistance for disabled children.

To aid in pursuing all these goals, NDDPI has created the North Dakota Early Childhood Outcomes Process (ND ECO) with the assistance of early childhood professionals at all levels. ND ECO gives entry and exit ratings to children with Individual Education Planswhen they enter or leave special early education services, to help track and ensure good outcomes.

Teacher Certification/Licensure in North Dakota

The Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) is the sole official body that approves teacher education programs, and is in charge of teacher licensure and professional practices and development. As an independent board, the ESPB is funded solely by licensure fees paid by North Dakota educators. Consisting of 10 teachers, school board members, administrators and teacher educators appointed by the governor, it serves two three-year terms.

In order to be compensated for their teaching hours, teachers in North Dakota public schools must have valid North Dakota licenses. Licensed teachers employed by non-public schools must be approved and comply with North Dakota’s compulsory attendance regulations.


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Intitial Licensure

To qualify for initial North Dakota licensure, you must:

  • Have a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a major or minor appearing in the list on the back of the North Dakota application. Both general studies and a professional sequence must completed.
  • Have at least a 2.5 grade point average.
  • Have at least 10 weeks of full-time supervised student teaching.
  • Pass a background check and fingerprinting.
  • Have endorsement from recent supervisors.
  • Pay the application fees.

If you fail to meet the academic requirements, you will need to make up the shortfall by taking the needed coursework at a state-approved institution.

State licensure for out-of-state educators calls for a satisfactory teacher education degree from an out-of-state institution.

Early Childhood Education Degree Programs in North Dakota

The Department of Teaching and Learning in the University of North Dakota’s

College of Education and Human Development prepares early childhood teachers to work with children from birth through age eight in schools, enrichment programs, preschools, and child care centers. Degrees offered include:

a private Catholic university, is a small liberal arts school based in Bismarck. A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education qualifies teachers for kindergarten and pre-K programs, and one in elementary education is good for grades one through six. The graduate program in education provides further opportunities. Adult students may pursue education credentials and endorsement courses or go on to achieve a Master of Arts in Education.

offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Students may take advantage of Rasmussen’s unique network of extensive student support services that provide customized support designed to help each student reach their educational goals and get started in their careers.

North Dakota Teacher Job Opportunities

Graduating early childhood teachers in North Dakota will be working in a relatively small job market that is expected to reach around 5,960 jobs by 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You may find opportunities by searching through Human Resource Management Services, affiliated with Job Service North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction website also posts education job vacancies and application forms.

Private institutions are also looking for qualified teachers. Examples include Bright Horizons and Montessori schools, local child care centers, and Head Start branches.

Professional Teacher Groups in North Dakota

The North Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children, NDAEYC, partners with North Dakota early childhood professionals to work for children’s education, rights and needs, as well as the professional development of its over 300 members throughout the state. NDAEYC is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

For over 100 years, the North Dakota Education Association has worked to support educators by promoting opportunity, better economic and political conditions, and school reform in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Retired Teachers Association (NDRTA) consists of 14 North Dakota community-centered organizations keeping teachers up to date on the things that will affect their retirement.

The North Dakota Education Association, established in 1887, has 8,500 members. An affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest professional employee organization in the nation at over 3 million members, it shares the goals of promotingacademic freedom and school employees’ rights, improving professional teaching standards, and lobbying for the resources to ensure quality education.


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Early Childhood Education Blog

Gearing up for Kindergartenis a blog hosted by North Dakota State University; it offers activities for preschoolers as well as educational information for parents.

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