South Dakota’s successful Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway will be expanding, thanks to funding provided by the state legislature. The program provides paraprofessionals, or teacher aides, the opportunity to become fully certified educators. Applications are now being accepted for a cohort that will start this July. The program has room for up to 90 apprentices.


 Through the apprenticeship program, participants earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary, secondary, or special education while continuing to work as a paraprofessional in their school. Northern State University (NSU) and Dakota State University (DSU) offer the necessary coursework over a two-year period, culminating in a student-teaching experience and resulting in the completion of a bachelor’s degree in education. All coursework is offered virtually at convenient times, so participants can continue to work while enrolled. School districts provide a local mentor to support the apprentices throughout the process.


The program is a collaborative effort of NSU, DSU, South Dakota Board of Regents, Department of Labor and Regulation, Department of Education, and local school districts. Each partner plays a unique role in supporting the apprentices, whether academically or financially.  


Applicants must have a letter of recommendation from their school district administrator. Information about the program can be found on the Department of Education’s Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway webpage.