What is alternative certification?

This particular certification is an alternative pathway to receive a special education endorsement. This new route was authorized by the South Dakota Department of Education (SD DOE) on July 1, 2017, to address the shortage of special education teachers.

Who is eligible to apply?

To qualify for the endorsement, teachers must have three years of experience in a classroom, and have a valid teaching certificate.  They must be currently employed at a qualifying school district. A qualifying district includes one that is unable to find a certified special education teacher.

How do I apply?

The first step is communicating with your current administration. Your principal must recommend you and complete the DOE paperwork which serves as an application. You must be under contract to teach in a special education classroom and be provided mentorship by an individual with special education experience. Once the DOE has been notified and has accepted the application, an alternative special education endorsement will be added to your current license. In other words, the certification is granted immediately upon acceptance.

What is the next step?

The next step is completing the requirements, which include nine credits of coursework and a six credit internship. In addition, you must pass the state-designated pedagogy test (which you may have already done), and the state-designated special education content test. The employing school district must sign off, indicating that you have completed all requirements.

What is the licensure fee and how long will I be able to teach under the special education alternative certification option?

The fee for the one-year initial request is $25, which can be renewed twice at a cost of $25. Your administrator must file the appropriate form for renewal.

Is this endorsement only good for two years?

No. Once all the requirements are met, alternative certification will be changed to completed.

What happens if I do not complete all the requirements?

After three years, the alternative certification status is removed from your license and you are not endorsed to teach special education. In other words, if you do not re-apply or your district does not sign off after the first or second year, the endorsement is removed.

Does the University of Sioux Falls offer the required coursework?

Yes.  The 15 credits are offered online through the Fredrikson School of Education.

What is the cost per credit?

The per-credit price mirrors the graduate education tuition. The summer 2022 cost is $385 per credit; the fall 2022 cost is $395 per credit. All credits are transcribed as graduate credits.