Minnesota Teacher Certification

Minnesota has both degree requirements and approved program completion requirements for educator licenses. All candidates must meet general and specific requirements as part of their credentialing process. You must have a current Minnesota license or a valid permission from the Minnesota Board of Teaching in order to teach in Minnesota.

On This Page:


Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE)

The Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) are the sole means of assessing the following:

  • Basic skills.
  • Pedagogical understanding.
  • Content-area knowledge.

All candidates for initial license will be required to pass the MTLE basic skills test as well as pedagogy and content-area tests.


  • Minnesota-prepared graduate applying for a teaching licenses are not required submit official transcripts.
  • Official transcripts from all non-Minnesota graduate or undergraduate institutions attended must be submitted.
  • Degree requirements are verified by transcript(s) submitted with the license application.

Fingerprinting and Background Check

Minnesota State Law requires all initial licensure candidates to pass
a national criminal background check, including being fingerprinted at a law enforcement agency. A state background check will also be conducted.

Verification of a State-Approved Preparation Program

  • Verification is required for applicants who have completed an approved college/university-based teacher licensure program.
  • The applicant must submit a Verification of Completion of State-Approved Licensure Program form completed by the registrar at the college/university where the preparation program was completed.

Human Relations Verification.

The Minnesota Human Relations requirement is a state mandate for all individuals seeking a license to teach in Minnesota. Applicants must show evidence of:

  • Understanding contributions and lifestyles of diverse racial, cultural and economic groups.
  • Recognizing and dealing with biases, discrimination and prejudices
  • Respecting human diversity and personal rights
  • Creating learning environments that contribute to self- esteem of and to positive interpersonal relations for all people.

First-time Full Professional Minnesota Education License

The Full Professional Minnesota Education License is available to applicants who have completed all requirements, including a teacher licensure program. Individuals may apply for a First-time Minnesota Teaching License after they accomplish the following:

  • Successfully complete a regionally accredited state- approved teacher licensure program.
  • Achieve the Minnesota Board of Teaching’s minimum passing score on all required teacher licensure tests.
  • Meet all additional requirements for the specific field of licensure, including grade level, content area and subject area endorsements for secondary school teachers.
  • Be granted a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Full professional Minnesota educator licenses can be issued to teachers for a variety of grade levels and content areas, such as:

  • Science, Math, Communication Arts and Literature, Social Studies, American Indian Language, History & Culture, World Languages, Health, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, etc.
  • A candidate cannot teach while waiting for the issuance of a license.

Kindergarten Endorsement Licensure Option

Individuals holding a valid Minnesota 1-6 Elementary Education Teacher license may add kindergarten to their license by submitting a form that verifies successful completion of an approved Kindergarten Methods course with Practicum Experience.

Full-Time Limited License

  • A temporary full-time, limited license allows an individual to teach in an area for which the person has not fully completed an approved Teacher Preparation Program.
  • This license may be issued if the candidate has a bachelor’s degree or higher but has not yet completed an approved Teacher Education Program.
  • A limited, full-time license may be granted and renewed twice if the administrator of the employing public school district signs and submits the official Request for Limited Full-Time License Information/District Information form.
  • Minnesota teacher education graduates are eligible for limited full-time licensure if they have a bachelor’s degree and have met all requirements for full licensure even though they have not yet achieved passing scores on required MTLE tests.

Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements

The Minnesota State Plan for Federal “Highly Qualified” Teacher Requirements requires teachers of core academic subjects to meet certain requirements that demonstrate federal “highly qualified” status, under the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

Out-of-State Applicants

  • Minnesota does not have licensure reciprocity with other states, but a copy of the candidate’s out-of-state teaching license is helpful in the review of the application.
  • Teacher preparation completed outside of Minnesota must be equivalent in content to approved programs offered by Minnesota institutions.
  • A prospective teacher who completes an approved program leading to licensure in another state may be granted a Minnesota professional license when Minnesota’s criteria are met.

Online Teacher Preparation Programs

  • Individuals who have completed an online teacher preparation program may submit a licensure application, which will be evaluated in the same manner as any other out-of-state program to determine if the program is essentially equivalent to Minnesota requirements.
  • If the requirements are met, a temporary limited teaching license may be issued so the applicant has time to complete licensure requirements of a Minnesota-approved human relations program and Minnesota testing requirements.

Alternative Pathways to Licensure

  • Legislation creating alternative licensing for teachers in Minnesota will offer new paths into the profession for nontraditional teachers and mid-career professionals. The change is aimed at filling projected teacher shortages and closing a wide racial achievement gap in Minnesota.
  • Alternative programs completed outside of Minnesota will be reviewed and compared to Minnesota’s alternative programs. Individuals who have been licensed in another state via an alternative program should apply for a Minnesota license via the online application process.