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Education Standards and Practices Board

Assuring highly qualified professional educators for North Dakota students
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2718 Gateway Avenue
Suite 204
Bismarck, ND 58503-0585
(701) 328-9641 - Phone
(701) 328-9647 - Fax


ESPB square logo Licensure

Types of License

North Dakota Century Code Authority

A person must hold a valid North Dakota license issued by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board in order to be permitted or employed to teach in any public school in this state. No teacher is entitled to receive any compensation for the time the teacher teaches in a public school without a license to teach which lawfully is issued and in force in the county in which the school is taught. Prior to receiving a salary for the first month taught in a school district, a teacher must exhibit the teacher's license to the business manager of the school district (NDCC 15.1-13-18 and NDCC 15-36-12). Non-public schools must employ licensed teachers to be approved and in compliance with compulsory attendance laws.


Types of Licenses

Initial Licenses Renewal Licenses
Initial In-State License Two Year Renewal or Five Year Renewal
Initial Interim Substitute License Interim Substitute License Renewal
Initial Out-of-State Reciprocal License Out-of-state Reciprocal License Renewal
Alternate Access License Alternate Access License Renewal
Initial Other State Educator License (OSEL) Other State Educator License Renewal
      (Available in 2 and 5 year) Probationary License
40-day Provisional License Re-entry License
  30 Year Life License



License Descriptions

Initial In-State License (Two-Year): Issued to first-time applicants who have met all of the ND requirements for licensure.

Two Year Renewal (Two-Year): Issued to applicants with less than eighteen months of successful contracted teaching in North Dakota, those who have completed all requirements of a Probationary License, or those who have met all the requirements of an Interim-Reciprocal License.

First FIve Year License (Five-Year): Issued to individuals who have met all of the requirements for a ND Educator's Professional License and have successfully taught 18 months (full-time equivalent) in the state of North Dakota.

Five Year Renewal License (Five-Year): Issued to individuals holding a 5 year license - must be under contract at least thirty days of the five-year period and complete six semester hours of re-education to renew the 5 year license.

Alternate Access License (One-Year): Issued in a documented shortage area. This license is for those who do not have a teaching degree but do have a bachelor’s degree in a content area where the vacancy exists in the school. It is expected that the applicant will work with a university to complete their education coursework over the next 3 years (if needed.) The license must be requested in writing by the local school administrator indicating the unsuccessful search for a qualified applicant and the desire for this license to be issued. Requirements include the completed online application, a bachelor’s degree in the content area to be taught (official transcripts), and a plan of study from the college of education where the applicant will complete 1/3 of the program of study each year toward the teaching degree. This license can be issued a year at a time for a maximum of 3 years.

Interim Substitute License (One-Year): Issued to individuals with a minimum of 48 semester hours of college coursework. License must be requested in writing by a local school administrator.

Out-of-State Reciprocal License (Two-Years): Issued to individuals who graduated from an out-of-state university but do not hold a teaching license in another state. A transcript analysis is completed and a plan of study is developed for each individual indicating the coursework and testing needed. This license can be issued twice, so the educator has a total of four years to complete all requirements.

Other State Educator License (OSEL).  A two or five year license issued to those applicants who hold and submits a valid teaching license received from an approved regular teacher education program from another state.If the applicant has not tested in the sending state and has been licensed after 2002 in that state, they will have two years to complete ND tests. The regular application will be submitted including official transcripts, Completed background packet, a copy of your current, valid teaching license from another state and/or confirmation form or test scores. If you have completed an approved program, including student teaching, hold a license in another state and have met their testing requirements, there will be no additional requirements.

Re-Entry License (Two-Years): Issued to individuals who have held a ND teaching license but it expired more than 5 years ago. A new background check is required. Eight semester hours of reeducation will be required if the applicant signs a contract during the license period.

Probationary License (Two-Years): Issued to individuals who have not completed the reeducation requirements for the five year or re-entry license. Only one probationary license is issued to an applicant.

40-Day Provisional License (40 Calendar Days): Issued to applicants who have been offered a job (either substitute or teaching) and have completed the entire application process with the exception of the background investigation. A letter from the school administrator indicating their desire to hire that person without the background investigation being complete and a letter from the applicant indicating their criminal background history is needed by the ESPB prior to issuing this license. 40-Day Provisional License Instructions (34kb pdf)

30-Year Life License: Issued to a teacher who has held a ND license for 30 years and met the requirements of their current teaching license. Expiration: none

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