North Dakota Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Art Teachers make a positive impact on students’ lives: in a longitudinal study of 25,000 secondary school students, those with higher involvement in the arts scored better on measures of persistence than their peers with lower arts involvement, watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service, and reported less boredom in school.

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has made a commitment to the visual arts as part of the state’s core curriculum, by adopting content standards that seek to encourage visual arts literacy at all grade levels. The state Education Standards and Practices Board licenses teachers in the state.To become an Art Teacher in North Dakota, follow these steps:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for a Certificate/License
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

The first steps to becoming an art teacher in North Dakota is to complete a state-approved four-year bachelor’s level teacher prep program. A list of state-approved teacher prep programs may be found here, and 12 programs on the list are approved to prepare arts teachers.

According to state regulations, your program should include a general studies component, a professional pedagogy core, an appropriate arts education major, and student teaching. North Dakota requires 26 semester hours or 40 quarter hours of professional education coursework for secondary licensure, and 34 semester hours or 50 quarter hours for elementary education licensure. Majors must include a minimum of thirty-two semester hours of coursework specific to the major beyond the introductory level.You must maintain at least a 2.5 overall grade point average throughout. You must also complete at least 10 weeks of full time, supervised student teaching in art. Details about the precise coursework involved is available from the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board website. Licensure in North Dakota is based on the major you choose, so read the document carefully.



Step 2. Complete Testing

Before becoming licensed as an art teacher in North Dakota, you must pass both the ETS-Pre Professional Skills (PPST) skills tests and, if you are teaching art in high school, a Praxis II content assessment.

The PPST, also known as Praxis I, assesses whether applicants have the academic skills needed to prepare for a career in education, by measuring basic skills in reading, writing, and math through multiple-choice questions and an essay question. More information is available from the ETS website here. Required scores in North Dakota are below:

  • Math 170
  • Reading 173
  • Writing 173

Note that you must meet individual qualifying scores in Math, Reading or Writing, or meet qualifying scores on two of the tests and have a composite score of 516.

Before becoming an art teacher, you must also pass the Art: Content Knowledge test (5134), a two-hour exam that measures basic knowledge of art-making and the historical and theoretical foundations of art in the Western tradition and worldwide. A passing score in North Dakota is 158.



Step 3. Apply for Your License

You must be licensed to teach in a North Dakota public school, and non-public schools must employ licensed teachers to be in compliance with certain state laws.The first license to apply for is an Initial License, which is valid for two years. An overview of the specific types of license available for art teachers, and the classes each license enables you to teach, is available here on page 10.

Requests for initial application packets should be made in writing and accompanied by a $30 initial application packet fee. The application packet includes both application forms and instructions and fingerprint cards and instructions. State law requires that you must be fingerprinted before receiving your license.

To request a packet, write to the board at the address below:

North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board
2718 Gateway Avenue
Suite 303
Bismarck, North Dakota 58503-0585



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License

During the two years of your initial license, you must complete an approved course in North Dakota Native American studies. Note that only the specific curriculum of this course, which was approved by the Native American nations within the state of North Dakota and by the ESPB, can be accepted.

After the Initial License, you can pursue the following main types of higher licenses in North Dakota:

  1. Regular (Five-Year): Issued to individuals who have met all of the requirements for a ND Educator’s Professional License and have successfully taught 18 months (full-time equivalent) in the state of North Dakota. Individuals must be under contract at least thirty days of the five-year period and complete six semester hours of re-education.
  2. Re-Entry (Two-Year): Issued to individuals who have not held a North Dakota teaching license for more than five years, or to out of state applicants who have not completed at least four semester hours of reeducation credit within the past five years. Eight semester hours of reeducation is required if the applicant signs a contract during the license period.
  3. Renewal and Substitute (Two-Year): Issued to individuals who have completed less than 18 months of contracted teaching time in North Dakota.  This license can be used to sign a teaching contract or to substitute teach.
  4. 30-year Life: A license issued to a teacher who has held a ND license for 30 years.

Renewal applications must be submitted online using the ND Teach system.



Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

Graduate work as an arts teacher in North Dakota can help you earn renewal credits, move up additional layers of licensure, expand your skills, and nurture your teaching practice. Post-baccalaureate programs in the state include the following:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in English Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in History Education
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Music Education
  • Master of Science (MS) in Science Education
  • Master of Science (MS) in Social Science Education
  • EdD in Institutional Analysis
  • EdD in Occupational & Adult Education
  • PhD in Education, Institutional Analysis
  • PhD in Education, Occupational & Adult Education



North Dakota Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in North Dakota (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $32,019, somewhat lower than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education5,25046,570
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education1,10050,720
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education2,78046,850

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Bismarck, ND
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education77049,490
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education33050,330
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School4050,570


Fargo, ND-MN
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education1,38050,840
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education29050,660
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education77049,990


Grand Forks, ND-MN
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education54047,750
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education26055,680
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education36049,620

Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. A breakdown of minimum and maximum teacher salaries by district appears here. The salary schedule for Bismark, North Dakota, public schools appears here.

The mean wage for postsecondary art, music, and drama teachers as of May 2013 was $66,400, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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