Examine Requirements
STEP 2: Examine the Minnesota requirements to become a special education teacher

The Minnesota Department of Education's Educator Licensing Division oversees the licensing of all educators and administrators working in Minnesota public schools.To achieve a standard, five-year Minnesota special education teaching license, candidates must meet the standards established in Minnesota Rule and pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs).

Minnesota special education teachers must demonstrate competency in three categories of standards, as outlined in Minnesota Rule: Standards of Effective Practice (SEPs), Special Education Core Skills, and categorical license standards. Candidates most often meet these standards in teacher education programs in colleges or universities.

MDE Educator Licensing staff review candidate transcripts or other evidence that candidates have met the standards. Candidates certified through alternative preparation programs (often in other states) are regularly asked to provide additional evidence that they have met these standards. This may add to the time it takes to make a licensure determination.

Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs)
Candidates must also register for and take the appropriate MTLEs. Use the link provided to access more information on the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exam (MTLE) website.

A candidate must take three types of MTLEs to achieve a special education standard five-year Minnesota teaching license:
  • Basic Skills Tests – The three basic skills subtests are reading, writing and math. Visit the MDE licensing website to find out more about changes to the MTLE Basic Skills Tests.
  • Pedagogy Tests – Teachers take the pedagogy tests once for the lifetime of a teaching license in Minnesota. May take early childhood, elementary, or secondary pedagogy tests. Each test has two subtests. 
  • Content Area Tests – Cover special education core skills as defined in Minnesota Rule 8710.5000 Core Skills for Teachers of Special Education. This test has two subtests.
Applying for a Minnesota Teaching License
Submitting your application for a Minnesota teaching license begins with logging on to the MDE Licensing Division Online Licensing System. Within the application process initiated with this online registration, you will receive instructions on how to pay the licensing fees online, how to meet the fingerprinting requirement as part of the background check (yes, we do have a fingerprinting requirement), and how to submit your entire packet to MDE’s Licensing Division. Access the Online Licensing System.