NSU Catalog 2017-2018 
    Jun 16, 2024  
NSU Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teacher Education

School of Education

Gerber, Room 112
(605) 626-2415

Dr. Kelly Duncan (Dean); Ms. Carol Knecht, (Director of Field Services)

A major focus for Northern State University is the preparation of professional educators. Over one-third of the state’s teachers are graduates of one of our teacher education programs. The School of Education provides the professional education coursework required for certification in the state of South Dakota as an elementary, secondary or K-12 teachers. Certification requirements can be met through a program culminating in the Bachelor of Science in Education degree or as post-baccalaureate preparation.

Any student who plans to major in elementary, secondary, or K-12 education at Northern State University must complete the system-wide core, institutional graduation and degree requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Education, professional education courses, and major and minor requirements as established for the appropriate discipline. Students who successfully complete a teacher education program will be recommended for a teaching certificate.


K-8 Certification

Elementary Education

K-12 Certification

Art Education
Art Education Comprehensive
Music (Vocal and Instrumental) Education
Physical Education
Spanish Education
Special Education

Grades 7-12 Certification

Biology Education
Chemistry Education
History Education
Language Arts/English Education
Mathematics Education
Social Science Education
Speech/Debate Education

Every candidate for a degree in education should study and follow the requirements and procedures in the university catalog and the Teacher Education Policy Handbook (available on the School of Education website.)

Certification Testing

All teacher education programs must comply with certification requirements of the South Dakota Department of Education (SDDOE). Students will be expected to complete certification examinations in their content area(s) and in pedagogy at the achievement level set by the State. Content examinations must be completed prior to Student Teaching and pedagogy examinations will be completed during the professional semester.

Admission to Teacher Education

In addition to application to Northern State University, students in elementary education, K-12 education, and secondary education programs must apply for admission to teacher education. Transfer students and students who change to an education curriculum must apply for and be accepted into the teacher education program before they may register for professional courses in teacher education.

Admission to teacher education requires:

  1. Competency in reading, writing and mathematics as shown by minimum scores on the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) exam. The CORE should be taken during the freshman year. Students register to take the CORE online.
  2. A minimum 2.60 cumulative grade point average (GPA).
  3. Proficiency in English and speech as evidenced by a minimum of C in ENGL 101 and SPCM 101, SPCM 215, or SPCM 222.
  4. Completion of EPSY 302 and the sophomore field experience with minimum grade of C.
  5. Advisor approval and dean’s signature on application for admission to teacher education.

Students who have been admitted to teacher education will be allowed to register for professional education courses. For a complete list of courses that require admission, consult the Teacher Education Policy Handbook.

Once accepted into teacher education, teacher education candidates must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.60 and a 2.60 GPA within their major. Prospective teachers must, also, continue an accepted level of scholarship and must also agree that their actions and general appearance will conform to appropriate standards for professional educators.

Students seeking certification in the K-12 programs of art, music, physical education, special education or world languages must complete methods courses and student teaching at two of the three levels (elementary, middle, or secondary).

For information about admission to teacher education policies for under-represented populations, and students with disabilities, consult the Teacher Education Policy Handbook.

Students with baccalaureate degrees in teaching majors may seek teacher certification through the certification only program.

Graduate Studies

Graduate programs leading to certification in K-12 principalship and school counseling are available. Master of Science in Education degrees are available in Teaching and Learning with emphases in educational studies, elementary classroom teaching, health and physical education, language and literacy, secondary classroom teaching, and special education.


Northern State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the School of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The music programs are also accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. All of the university’s teacher preparation programs are  approved by the South Dakota Department of Education.

Additional Information

In addition to certification and graduate programs, the Northern State University School of Education provides a wide array of professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers through the Office of Extended Studies. As a part of the activities in the Center for Statewide E-learning at Northern State University, candidates in teacher  education programs are trained in the development of distance curriculum and the use of distance delivery classrooms. All teacher education candidates complete a literacy practicum tutoring a K-12 student in the NSU Reading Clinic.

Title II Reported Program Information

Number of initial teacher certification program completers for 2014-2015 71
Number of students in teacher preparation program for 2014-2015 186
Number of students in supervised clinical experiences during 2014-2015 academic year 273
Number of full-time equivalent faculty who supervised clinical experiences 5
Number of full-time equivalent adjunct faculty in supervised clinical experiences 9
Number of full-time faculty in professional education (undergraduate courses only) 9
Number of full-time faculty in professional education (undergraduate and graduate courses) 7
Number of full-time faculty in professional education (graduate courses only) 7
The average number of clock hours required prior to student teaching 94
The average number of clock hours required for student teaching 480
The total number of weeks of supervised student teaching required 12
The content exam pass rate (%) of all program completers for 2014-2015 100%

Teacher Certification Endorsements

Graduates may seek additional certification to their primary teaching certificates authorizing them to teach in other age/grade spans and/or content areas. Graduates who complete minor/endorsement programs which have content specific tests must pass the content or area specific state certification test. The Administrative Rules of South Dakota require all coursework leading to education endorsement programs must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher. The endorsement definitions are a minimal suggestion and will not ensure endorsements by themselves except in the cases of the K-12 Braille Education, Blind/Visually Impaired, Gifted, Kindergarten, Adapted Physical Education, Mass Communications, Speech/Debate, Educational Technology, Drivers Education, Lakota Studies, and Coaching Endorsements. Education minors/endorsement programs listed below have been approved for the applicable certification in South Dakota. More specific information on requirements for endorsements can be found on the SD Department of Education website.

K-12 Endorsements

These endorsements may be issued on a K-8 elementary education certificate, on a K-12 certificate, or on a 7-12 certificate.

7-12 Endorsements

These endorsements may be issued on a K-8 elementary education certificate, a K-12 certificate, or a 7-12 certificate.

Middle-Level Endorsement

Middle level preparation is integrated into all certification programs, K-8, K-12, and 7-12, for students admitted after September 1, 2000. Graduates beginning their professional courses prior to that date may add a middle level endorsement with the following course work. The middle level endorsement may be added to a K-8, K-12, or 7-12 certificate.

Coaching Endorsements

The coaching endorsement may be issued on a K-8, K-12, or 7-12 certificate.