Governor Noem Announces Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway

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July 10, 2023

Contact: Ian Fury


Governor Noem Announces Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Noem announced that more than 90 teachers’ aides have been selected to participate in South Dakota’s Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway. This pilot program will launch with the 2023-2024 school year and result in these apprentices gaining teacher certifications.


“When I announced that we would be rebooting our Registered Apprenticeship programs here in South Dakota, this is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind,” said Governor Noem. “This new opportunity will allow South Dakotans to work towards their bachelor’s degree this year, while still providing them the Freedom to continue working. Our kids and grandkids deserve the best teachers we can give them, and this pathway will help us meet that goal.”


The Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway will take successful para-educators, employed by school districts, and help them become fully certified teachers. These para-educators represent more than 50 school districts or systems across the state.


Over a two-year period, teacher’s aides will complete their coursework, which is offered virtually in the evenings and at other convenient times. This program will culminate with the para-educator serving as a student-teacher in their home district. Teachers’ aides will walk away with a bachelor’s degree in education.


“I am very excited for these para-educators. They are all fitting candidates to fill the state’s teacher pipeline. They already live and work in our communities, and they are committed to providing their students with the best possible education,” said Dr. Joseph Graves, South Dakota Secretary of Education. “I want to thank Dr. Kathryn Blaha, our Director of the Division of Certification and Accreditation, who worked tirelessly to get this project off the ground.”

Northern State University and Dakota State University have partnered through the support of the Board of Regents to offer the coursework for this program. The Department of Education is providing oversight and funding. And the Department of Labor and Regulation is providing funding and guidance to the development of the Registered Apprenticeship program in compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor.


More information about the Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway is available here.