Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Minnesota

U.S. Department of Labor job growth projections for early childhood educators in Minnesota show a more than 10 percent increase is expected during the current ten-year period ending 2022. Given the growing demand for early childhood education professionals in the state that cater to young learners with atypical development, Minnesota has also designated “Special Needs Early Childhood” as one of its current teacher shortage areas.

The mean annual salary for preschool teachers in Minnesota was $32,880 in 2013, compared to a national average of $31,420. Most early childhood education jobs in Minnesota are concentrated in theMinneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington area, where the average salary was $33,090. The highest salaries for preschool teachers in the state are found in northwest Minnesota’s non-metropolitan areas, where the average was $36,870 in 2013.

The steps in this guide will help you to become a licensed preschool teacher in Minnesota.

Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program
Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments
Apply for Minnesota Early Educator Certification
Complete Requirements for License Renewal



Step 1. Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program

The state of Minnesota requires aspiring public school preschool teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree or better from an approved early childhood education certification program.

If pursuing a preschool teacher position in a Minnesota Head Start program, you must have at least an associate’s degree.

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Students who wish to become preschool teachers will need to choose an Early Education program from an accredited school. The Minnesota Department of Education provides a list of state-approved and accredited early childhood education programs.

You will be required to earn at least a C average in all required courses, and to pass all three sections of the MTLE Basic Skills exams before you will can be certified. Upon successful completion of an approved program, and upon passing the MTLE, you will be eligible for licensure in the state of Minnesota.



Step 2. Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments

The Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) replaced the Praxis series exams previously used in the state.

The MTLE is divided into three main segments: basic skills, pedagogy, and content area subjects. Each main segment also has subtests. Each MTLE subtest has a passing score of 240.

The MTLE website allows you to schedule the computer-based test, usually at a Minnesota college, though testing sites are also available nationwide. The site also offers study materials and practice tests.

There is a registration fee of $50 for the MTLE test.

The basic skills portion of the MTLE consists of reading, writing and math subtests. Each subtest has a fee of $25.

The second portion of the MTLE, pedagogy, consists of two subtests, Early Childhood I and II. Each pedagogy subtest has a fee of $35.



Step 3. Apply for Minnesota Early Educator Certification

The Minnesota Department of Education website offers an online license application page that can be used to apply for an initial license, or to renew an existing one. Minnesota licenses are good for five years.

You must submit your application with verification of your successful completion of an accredited early childhood education program and the MTLE exam. You must also include a license fee of $87 and submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check.

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If you’re an out of state teacher applying for a Minnesota preschool teacher’s license, you may have to complete additional courses before attaining licensure. Minnesota does not participate in reciprocity, and it requires all teachers to take a Human Relations program with coursework about human relations and cultural diversity. You will have to take these courses to be licensed in Minnesota, and you may also be required to take the MTLE, or courses to satisfy the state’s reading strategies standards.

If you have a valid teacher’s license from another state, and your state’s licensing requirements are at least equivalent to Minnesota’s, you may qualify for a one-year license so that you can teach while taking the required coursework.

Ready to start your preschool teaching career with a bachelor’s degree in ECE or advance your career with a Master’s degree in ECE? Check out our comprehensive list of ECE degrees by State at various levels to determine what program is right for you.


Step 4. Complete Requirements for License Renewal

Minnesota licenses are valid for five years, and they expire on June 30 of the final year. You may apply for your renewal license online. The license renewal fee is $64.00.

You will also be required to complete a conduct review and to list any recent criminal offenses.

The state also has continuing education requirements for license renewals. You must show proof that you have completed 125 hours of professional development approved through your local school district’s continuing education committee.

Current license renewals must show evidence of professional development activities in these areas:

  • Positive behavioral intervention strategies
  • Accommodation, modification, and adaptation of curriculum, materials, and instruction
  • Key warning signs for early-onset mental illness in children and adolescents
  • Reading preparation
  • Activities that integrate technology with student learning
  • Work that demonstrates professional growth in best teaching practices

Minnesota Preschool Teacher Salaries

The 2014 median preschool teacher salary in Minnesota was $30,160 according to the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. The median Minnesota preschool teacher salaries in the state’s metropolitan areas were below the state’s average.

The highest was in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area:

  • Duluth – $27,664
  • Mankato – $22,984
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul – $30,077
  • Rochester – $26,811
  • Saint Cloud – $28,704

8,120 preschool teachers were employed in Minnesota in 2012. The greatest concentration was in the Seven County Minneapolis-St. Paul region, where 55% of Minnesota’s preschool teachers worked in 2012.

The number of early educator jobs is projected to increase 10.1% in Minnesota in the ten-year period leading up to 2020, according to the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. The level of increase is expected to be greater than the state’s average in the Seven County Minneapolis-St. Paul area and in Southeast Minnesota. Projections indicate an increase of 10.6% and 13.3% respectively.

The increase in preschool teacher jobs is projected to be more than double the state’s average in Central Minnesota, at 27.4%. Preschool teaching is considered to be one of the occupations in demand in this part of Minnesota in 2014, according to an analysis by the Central Minnesota Workforce Investment Board.

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In Central Minnesota, 51% of the preschool teacher jobs will be created due to growth as compared to 26.5% in the state overall. The rest of the jobs created will be due to the need to replace teachers who will leave the workforce.

The Bureaus of Labor Statistics provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 Minnesota Pre-K teacher salaries by percentile:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Duluth MN-WI
Fargo ND-MN
Estimate Not Released
Grand Forks ND-MN
La Crosse WI-MN
Mankato-North Mankato MN
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
Rochester MN
St. Cloud MN
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area

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