Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Education certifies math teachers at one of two levels: either at the middle level (grades 5-8) or at the middle and secondary levels (grades 5-12). Follow these four steps to become a math teacher in Minnesota at either of these levels:

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum and an Educator Program
Take the MTLEs (Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams)
Apply for Your Minnesota Math Teacher’s License
Meet the Requirements to Renew Your Minnesota Math Teacher’s License

The Minnesota Board of Education has established academic math standards for each grade from kindergarten through 12th. This ensures that students meet proficiency standards specific to their grade level and are on track to develop their math skills progressively from elementary through high school. These standards were revised in 2007 and then fully implemented in the 2010-2011 school year, even before the federal government released the Common Core standards for math. The Minnesota Board of Education will be revising its math standards again in 2015.



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum and an Educator Program

While most people in Minnesota become math teachers by earning a bachelor’s degree through one of the state’s approved teacher education programs, you may also be able to obtain a teaching license through an alternate route if districts in the state are experiencing a shortage of math teachers.

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First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License

A large number of colleges and universities offer Minnesota Department of Education pre-approved programs designed specifically for future math teachers seeking the First-Time Full Professional Education License. These programs are available at both the graduate and undergraduate level as shown here:

Mathematics 5-12
Mathematics 5-8 Endorsement

These programs provide instruction in both math and pedagogy, and include a student teaching component.

Alternate Licenses Available During a Math Teacher Shortage

You may be eligible for a Minnesota teaching certificate if you have a math degree, even if it did not include a pedagogical and student teaching component, as long as there is a demonstrated shortage. As of the 2014-2015 school year, math was identified as being a shortage area. To qualify for an alternative license, you will need to isolate a school district that has had trouble hiring licensed math teachers.

There are two alternative licenses available in Minnesota:

  • Limited Full Time License (if you have at least a minor in math)
  • Two-Year, Short Call Substitute



Step 2: Take the MTLEs (Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams)

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you will need to sit for three tests that together make up the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams:

  • Pedagogy Test
  • Basic Skills Test
  • Content Area Test in Mathematics
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If you are adding a math endorsement to an existing teaching license, you do not have to take the pedagogy and basic skills tests.

Pedagogy Test

One of the Minnesota Department of Education requirements for your initial license is to pass either the Elementary or Secondary Pedagogy Test. You do not have to take both.

Basic Skills Test

You will have to demonstrate that you are skilled in writing, reading, and mathematics to obtain your first license. The test on writing involves both answering multiple-choice questions and constructing written responses. The other two tests are solely multiple-choice.

The Board of Teaching may be changing requirements to allow those with high ACT or SAT test scores to qualify without taking the Basic Skills Test.

Content Area Tests in Mathematics

You will take either the math test for teaching grades 5-12 or for grades 5-8. Both tests are computerized exams that involve two subtests. Each subtest has 48 multiple-choice questions. The testing agency provides two resources to aid you in taking the exams:

  • On-screen scientific calculator
  • A page of formulas

You are strongly advised to prepare for your exam ahead of time by reviewing the areas that will be covered. The Mathematics (Grades 5-12) exam covers the following areas:

  • Subtest 1:
    • Number Sense
    • Functions, Algebra, and Calculus
  • Subtest 2:
    • Measurement and Geometry
    • Data, Probability, and Discrete Math
    • Mathematical Processes

The Middle Level Mathematics (Grades 5-8) exam covers these areas:

  • Subtest 1:
    • Number Sense
    • Patterns, Relations, and Functions
  • Subtest 2:
    • Shape and Space
    • Data, Randomness, and Uncertainty
    • Discrete Mathematics and Reading



Step 3. Apply for Your Minnesota Math Teacher’s License

You will need to receive approval from your teacher preparation program in order to apply for your Minnesota math teacher’s license. This is the case whether you are getting your first license or adding a math endorsement to an existing license.

After you have passed your MTLE test(s), you will apply online through the Minnesota Department of Education’s website. If you are applying for a Limited Full Time License or a Two Year, Short-Call Substitute License, you will need a district verification form stating that they have had difficulty finding fully licensed math teachers.



Step 4. Meet the Requirements to Renew Your Minnesota Math Teacher’s License

You can renew your teacher’s license at the site where you submitted your initial application. You will need to find appropriate clock hour opportunities to fulfill the conditions for your renewal. Your employing school district will help you find these opportunities. The Minnesota Department of Education provides a list of potential clock hour opportunities.

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As of 2014, the requirements for license renewal include:

  • Accommodation, modification and adaptation of curriculum, materials, and instruction
  • Key warning signs for early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents
  • Positive behavioral intervention strategies
  • Reading preparation
  • Reflective statement of professional accomplishment and assessment of professional growth
  • Technology

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