Early Childhood Teacher Certification in South Dakota

Overview of Early Childhood Education in South Dakota

South Dakota, the 5th least densely populated, the 5th least populous and the 17th most extensive U.S. state, is in the upper great plains and midwest. Most people live in the agricultural eastern part, while the western region adds tourism and defense work into the mix, along with tourist stops such as Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park.

Although budget cuts have affected many states, as of 2012, and South Dakota’s per-student spending has decreased since 2008, there are still encouraging trends and initiatives in the state. As recently as 2013, the South Dakota Department of Education Birth to Three program is providing free early intervention services to young South Dakota children with developmental delays or disabilities. Head Start supports social and cognitive development of South Dakota students enrolled in the South Dakota Head Start system, as of 2013. Early Head Start, dating from 1995, focuses on children from birth to age three. Head Start grantees serve all counties in South Dakota, along with nine Early Head Start grantees working locally. As of 2011, the South Dakota Bright Start Initiative is working to ensure that native South Dakota children get a good start in life, focusing on infant brain development and early childhood development.

Requirements for Teacher Certification in South Dakota

The routes to take in pursuing a South Dakota Teaching Certificate include the following:

Initial Five-Year Certificate: for individuals who have completed an approved education program, passed the necessary tests, and taken six or more credits in the last five years.

Initial One-Year Certificate: for individuals who, while having completed a teacher preparation program, have not passed the needed tests or taken six credits or more in the last five years.

Additional documentation required may include the following:

  • Transcripts verifying the degree and recent credits
  • Documentation of a teacher education program
  • Documentation of Praxis II test scores
  • Copies of valid teaching certificates from other states
  • Verification of teaching experience in other states
  • Documentation of legal alien status for non-citizens

International academic credentials must satisfy United States educational requirements.


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Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education

There are eight early childhood education institutions to choose from. Here are four of them.

(SDSU), located in Brookings, is the state’s largest early education institution, offering bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education for birth through age five, birth through age eight, and elementary education, as well as master’s degree options.

is a tribally controlled college on the Pine Ridge Reservation specializing in providing education to enable Lakota people to find employment on the reservation in education, health care, and other fields. The college offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood (either birth-preschool/infant-toddler or birth through age eight) and elementary education (K through eight).

located in Spearfish, South Dakota, is the sole comprehensive university in the western part of the state. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood special education (toddlers through third grade) and elementary education (K through eight).

is the oldest and the only liberal-arts university in the state. South Dakota’s “flagship” university, it offers bachelor’s degrees in both elementary and early childhood/elementary education, as well as several master’s and doctoral options.

Looking for Teaching Jobs in South Dakota

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. The teacher.jobs.net site provides prospective teachers with listings and application forms, as well as the ability to search by city or state. ASBSD Teacher Placement, another job search site, is operated by the Associated School Boards Of South Dakota.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Professional Groups for Teachers

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Indiana that share similar visions.

The South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) represents public school teachers and educators across the state, and aims to improve both the profession and local public schools. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children (SDAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It strives to help children from birth through age eight, as well as their families. The organization is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

There are also a variety of organizations for teachers based on specific areas of interest, including the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English (SDCTM), South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (SDCTM), and South Dakota Science Teachers Association (SDSTA).


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South Dakota Education Blogs

The official blog of the South Dakota Department of Education allows teachers to find support, share their stories and stay current on all the latest legislative developments and other news going on in South Dakota’s public education system.

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