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South Dakota: Teacher Credentialing in South Dakota

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In 2005 the average teacher's salary in South Dakota was reported to be $34,040 placing it behind 49 other states and Washington, D.C. While the cost of living in South Dakota is low, there is little public support for the educational system. In fact, public support for schools is at a record low, and it is in dire need of people with ambition who are willing to get to the heart of things and reach out to the public in an effort to prove how important education is.

While the pay is dramatically low compared to all of the other states, the cost of living in South Dakota is also low. However, on the other end of the spectrum lies the hard fact that South Dakota is in need of good teachers. Teachers who have a higher level of education and are more qualified to implement change receive more compensation and are in a better position to do what is necessary to bring about change within the educational system. These changes are essential in order to relate to the public the importance of education and how it will affect the lives of the students throughout the state.

South Dakota needs more than just leaders for administrative duties or to provide mentoring for teachers. The key issue of importance is to locate highly qualified leaders who are highly qualified in both current and past methodologies of instruction and administration who can also understand how South Dakota has gotten to the point where they are now and what is necessary to implement progress. By continuing your education and obtaining a master's degree, PhD, or administrative credentials from one of the accredited universities you can play a role in helping the state progress and accept the changes in the educational systems that are necessary.

Initial certification to teach in South Dakota requires the applicant to provide verification he or she had attended an accredited educational institution, has met the standards of an approved teacher preparation program, and as such can be recommended for certification. They are also required to sign a notarized statement of citizenship and provide verification they have not been convicted of any crime that involves moral violations such as drug trafficking. South Dakota also requires teachers to complete a course in human relations and South Dakota Indian studies.

The South Dakota Board of Education and other applicable regulations set the standards for the issuance and renewal of certificates. The certificates include authorizations that show the levels of teaching or administrative duties for which the holder is qualified as well as the subject areas of his or her teaching expertise. Some of the authorizations are issued after the teacher completes all of the required programs while others are issued following an analysis of the transcripts or submission of the Praxis test to show the educator possesses the minimum requirements that are necessary for authorization outside of a major. These certification requirements assure that only highly qualified and well-educated teachers receive South Dakota certifications.

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