How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in North Dakota

Follow these steps to learn how to become a PE teacher in North Dakota:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Including a PE Teacher Preparation Program
Take the Praxis Tests
Apply for Your North Dakota PE Teacher’s License
Meet the Requirements to Renew Your North Dakota PE Teacher’s License

The North Dakota State Department of Public Instruction has identified content and achievement standards for teaching Physical Education (PE) in the state, which include:

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  • Behavior in Physical Activity
  • Fitness Concepts
  • Movement Concepts
  • Movement Forms
  • Physical Activity

Although it delineates expectations for each grade level from K-12, this agency allows a great deal of leeway for local school districts in North Dakota to decide exactly how PE teachers should teach this curriculum.

The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) offers a number of different licenses to aspiring PE teachers based their education and experience level.



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Including a PE Teacher Preparation Program

Most of the PE teaching licenses in North Dakota require a bachelor’s degree in PE education. If there is a shortage of PE teachers, you can obtain alternate types of licenses if you have a non-teaching bachelor’s degree. However, as of 2014, there is no shortage of PE teachers in the state.

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All license types require that you take at least two semester hours of Native American and multicultural studies within the first two years of your license.

Initial License (Two Year)

You must complete an approved bachelor’s level teacher education program in North Dakota to be able to obtain an Initial License. Five of these programs offer bachelor’s degrees in PE education. You can obtain the following types of bachelor’s degrees to teach PE in North Dakota:

  • Education—Physical Education (K-12)
  • Education—Major in Physical Education
  • Physical Education (recommended minor in Developmental Adapted Physical Education and/or Coaching)
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Physical Education Teacher Education Program

In addition, two programs offer associate’s degrees in PE that will allow you to transfer to another school to get your bachelor’s degree.

Student teaching is an important component of a PE teacher’s bachelor’s degree. Before you start your student teaching, you must have classroom professional experience. Then you must complete at least 10 weeks of supervised, full time student teaching in PE.

You must also meet the following requirements:

  • Have at least a 2.50 GPA
  • Undergo fingerprint screening for criminal convictions

    • You can obtain the materials from your teacher preparation program
    • This must be done by an authorized law enforcement agency
    • You must complete the criminal record inquiry authorization form
    • You must return the fingerprint cards and authorization from directly to the ESPB office
  • Have a recommendation for licensure by recent supervisors
  • Have at least four semester hours of special teaching methods inclusive of K-12 and for PE
  • Have had the appropriate professional education (pedagogy) coursework:

    • 26 semester or 40 quarter hours for secondary school teaching
    • 34 semester or 50 quarter hours for elementary school teaching
    • This must be from the following areas:

      • Child development
      • Classroom and behavioral management
      • Educational diagnosis and assessment
      • Educational foundations
      • Educational psychology
      • Educational technology
      • Human relations specific to teaching
      • Inclusive education

40-Day Provisional License

If you have completed the entire application process and been offered a job, but you have not yet had your fingerprint background check, you can apply for a 40 day Provisional License.

You will need a letter from the school’s administrator that he or she is willing to give you an immediate contract. You will also need to provide a letter to the ESPB indicating that your criminal background history is needed.

Regular License (Five Year)

Once you have met all of the requirements for your Initial License and have been teaching full-time for 18 months, you can apply for a Regular License that is good for five years. You must meet the following requirements:

  • Be under contract at least 30 days of the 5 year period
  • Complete 6 semester hours of re-education

Re-Entry License (Two Years)

If you have been out of the teaching field for over five years, you can apply for a two year Re-entry License. If you sign a contract, you will need to complete eight semester hours of reeducation.

Probationary License (Two Years)

If you have not completed the reeducation requirements for your Five Year or Re-entry License, you can obtain a Probationary License. You can only do this once.

Minor Equivalency Endorsement

You can obtain two types of endorsements to teach PE. An ME 16 endorsement requires that you take 16 semester hours in courses on teaching PE. To get an ME 24 endorsement, you need to complete this within five years. You must have completed your coursework before you can start teaching PE.

Alternate License (One Year)

This type of license is available when there is a shortage of qualified PE teachers. This is not the case in 2014. You will need to have a bachelor’s degree in a content area and a letter from your local school administrator indicating the following:

  • That he or she is searching for a qualified applicant
  • That he or she desires this type of license to be issued

You will need to make arrangements with an approved teacher’s education college to develop a plan of study for PE education. Once you have done this, you will need to take eight semester hours a year towards your teaching degree.

Interim/Substitute License (One Year)

You can get an Interim/Substitute License to teach PE during a demonstrated shortage of qualified applicants. As of 2014, there is no shortage of PE teachers in North Dakota. If that situation changes, you will need to provide a letter stating that you will not sign a contract and are just filling in during a shortage.



Step 2: Take the Praxis Tests

Praxis I PPST – All applicants for initial licenses must take and submit their scores on the Praxis I Pre-Professional skills test (PPST exam). You will need to obtain scores that meet or exceed the state’s cut scores. This involves one of the following:

  • Meeting the individual qualifying scores in all three subsets
  • Meeting the qualifying scores on two of the tests and having a composite score of 516

The required scores are shown below:

  • Math – 170
  • Reading – 173
  • Writing – 173

Praxis II Exam in PE – You will need to take one of the PE content knowledge Praxis II exams—either 0091 or 5091. You must get a score of at least 143 on this test.

You will need to provide your original scores to the ESPB. One way to do this is to save your scores as a PDF and then email them to [email protected].



Step 3. Apply for Your North Dakota PE Teacher’s License

Once you have met all of the requirements, you can apply for your Initial License at the ESPB licensing website. Click on the ND Teach Apply Online box and then follow the steps. You will have to register to create an account. Follow the steps until you reach the step where you fill out the information for your application.

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You should be prepared to provide the name of your teacher certification officer or Registrar, so they can supply your education information. This person would also be the one to verify your teaching experience.

You can find the links to apply for other types of licenses at a separate ESPB website.



Step 4. Meet the Requirements to Renew Your North Dakota PE Teacher’s License

To obtain your initial five year renewal, you must have successfully taught for 18 months in North Dakota on a valid certificate. Subsequent renewals require the following:

  • Evidence of 30 teaching days of contracted service
  • Completion of at least four semester hours of reeducation credit
  • Three recommendations
    • Two must be from the most recent employing board, supervisors, and administrators
    • One can be from a person who is familiar with your teaching potential and character

If you have not taught within the past three years, your recommendations must be from people who can speak with regard to your teaching potential and character.

If you have not been contracted for at least 30 days, but you have completed your four semester hours, your license will revert to the two-year renewal cycle. If you have not completed your reeducation credit, the ESPB will either not renew your license or will place you on a two year probation. In this case, you will have complete eight semester hours of reeducation credit or you will not be able to renew your license.

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