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Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway

South Dakota is piloting a two-year Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway to provide classified/support staff employed in an accredited school system the opportunity to earn a teaching certificate. Through completion of this program, participants will earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, special education, or secondary education while gaining hands-on experience in the classroom and receiving support from experienced mentors.

Selected participants must be employed as a paraprofessional (also known as an “aide”, “educational assistant” or "teacher's aide") during the apprenticeship until the beginning of their student-teaching period. Participants will continue to be compensated at rates determined by the district during this employment. The expected time to complete the program is two years, assuming a full course load each term. Participants will be responsible for up to $1,000 per year to assist with tuition, the cost of required books and state-designated assessments, such as the Praxis test. School districts also have certain commitments under the program.

The South Dakota Department of Education is leading this effort in partnership with Dakota State University (elementary and special education), Northern State University (secondary education), the South Dakota Board of Regents, the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation, and potentially other partners. The effort is aimed at addressing teacher shortage challenges across the state.