Minnesota is looking for good teachers. According to the Duluth News Tribune, 70 percent of school districts in Minnesota are struggling to find special education teachers, while another 43 percent expect difficulty in finding qualified math teachers. Science and English teachers are also in high demand. With so many spots unfilled in schools across the state, now is the time to pursue the options, and learning how to become a teacher in Minnesota is the first step.
Prerequisites and Tests for Minnesota Teacher Certification
To become a licensed teacher in Minnesota, students must graduate from an approved preparation program with a bachelor's degree. Students can expect to take courses related to teaching, such as curriculum development or lesson planning, as well as courses that hone skills and knowledge in a particular area. For instance, someone aspiring to become a history teacher will take a class load heavy in history courses. Students will also complete the licensure program, which consists of both classroom work and supervised field work.
Many colleges and universities in the state offer these programs for aspiring teachers; the Minnesota Department of Education lists hundreds of options on their website. Due to state laws passed in March 2011, alternative pathways to earning a teaching license are currently in the planning stages, with no programs yet approved.
In addition to earning the proper education, teachers in Minnesota must pass three examinations:
- The Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination (MTLE) basic skills test
- The MTLE content knowledge test for subject area competency
- The MTLE pedagogy test
Minnesota Teaching Degrees, Certificates and Credentials
While a bachelor's degree and license are required to begin teaching in Minnesota, many choose to further their education and career prospects by also earning their master's degree. Not only does the master's degree boost the teacher's ability to instruct a classroom full of students, it can allow them to move into administrative positions. The bachelor's degree usually takes four years to complete, and most master's programs take between one and two years of additional study after that.
Some teachers may need to become certified in a particular area of study. For example, Minnesota teaching credentials in special education and English as a second language have been very popular in the past several years, mostly because Minnesota has seen a shortage of teachers in those areas. Aspiring teachers who gain specialty experience in areas that help students with special needs, such as those with learning disabilities or autism, might also see excellent job prospects in the state.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Minnesota
Those who are interested in becoming a teacher in Minnesota might see better job opportunities with particular credentials or specialties. According to the 2013 Teacher Supply and Demand Report by the Minnesota Department of Education, the following areas are experiencing a teacher shortage the state:
- Early childhood special education
- English as a second language
- Developmental/adapted physical education
Those with Minnesota teaching credentials that give them insight and experience into emotional behavioral disorders, speech pathology, school psychology, learning disabilities and developmental disabilities are also in demand, as the state has experience a shortage of qualified individuals in these areas as well.
Below is a chart of the expected growth of Minnesota teaching positions from 2012 to 2022, according to Projections Central:
- Elementary school teachers: 2%
- Middle school teachers: 1.9%
- Secondary school teachers: 2%
- Special education teachers, preschool: 2.7%
- Special education teachers, elementary: 2%
- Special education teachers, middle school: 2.1%
- Special education teachers, secondary school: 2.1%
- Preschool teachers: 10.1%
- Kindergarten teachers: 3.4%
- Preschool administrators: 11.2%
- Elementary or secondary school administrators: 1.8%
When it comes to pay, teachers in Minnesota enjoy excellent salary and benefit options. Below is a list of what aspiring teachers can expect from mean annual wages in Minnesota, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Elementary school teachers: $60,140
- Middle school teachers: $59,230
- Secondary school teachers: $60,680
- Special education teachers, preschool: $58,520
- Special education teachers, elementary: $54,460
- Special education teachers, middle school: $63,510
- Special education teachers, secondary school: $64,880
- Preschool teachers: $34,720
- Kindergarten teachers: $56,300
- Preschool administrators: $49,790
- Elementary or secondary school administrators: $98,940
It is important to note that Minnesota has often been criticized for stringent teacher licensure requirements and union rules, which make it rather difficult for teachers trained outside of the state to find work within the state. Given those limitations, students who choose to teach in Minnesota might be best served by earning their degree and teaching credentials through Minnesota-based schools.
Approved Licensure Programs, Minnesota Department of Education, http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/Licen/TrainTeachMN/AppLicenProg/index.html
Long Term Occupational Projections: Minnesota, Projections Central, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
"Minnesota faces teacher shortage, but how best to fix it?" Pioneer Press, February 28, 2015, Christopher Magan,http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_27613149/minnesota-faces-teacher-shortage-but-how-best-fix
"Reader's view: Minnesota should streamline teacher licensure system," Duluth News Tribune, May 12, 2015, Daniel Sellers, http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/readers-views/3743785-readers-view-minnesota-should-streamline-teacher-licensure-system
State Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates, Minnesota, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm#25-0000
Teacher Supply and Demand, Minnesota Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2013, http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/mdeprod/groups/communications/documents/basic/050407.pdf
Train to Become a Teacher in Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Education, http://www.education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/Licen/TrainTeachMN/index.html