Prospective and current Walden candidates must research their own state requirements prior to enrolling in a program to help ensure that the program will meet any specific objectives the individual may have upon completion, such as obtaining a license/certificate, endorsement, upgrade, renewal, or salary increase. Licensure requirements vary state by state and are constantly evolving. Enrollment advisors can provide general guidance, but it is important that candidates research their own state and stay apprised of policy changes.

What should I look for when researching my state’s requirements?

Many states have requirements that are specific to individuals prepared at out-of-state institutions. Individuals from states other than Minnesota should look for requirements specific to individuals prepared at out-of-state institutions. Pay particular attention to the following terms:

Regional accreditation—Institutions receive regional accreditation from one of six accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Walden is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Institutional accreditation—Colleges, schools, or departments of education can receive professional accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership is NCATE-accredited.   

State-approved program—For individuals to be eligible for initial licensure and some endorsements (particularly reading/reading specialist and teacher leadership), states may require that they complete a program that has been approved by a state agency responsible for educator licensing.

Individuals completing a program approved in one state typically can apply for licensure in another state. Candidates should refer to for state specific licensure issues for additional information.

The following programs are state-approved for licensure/endorsements:

  • The Teacher Preparation Program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with specializations in Early Childhood Education and Special Education
  • The special education endorsement programs, which can be taken with the option of earning an M.S. in Education (M.S.Ed.)
  • The principal preparation program (preK–12), which leads to the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration (approved in Minnesota and Ohio)

When applying for licensure in a state other than Minnesota (or Ohio, for principal licensure), candidates should review whether: a) they can apply directly to their state department of education based on the completion of a state-approved program (i.e., the state is a “program-completer” state) or b) if their state requires that they actually obtain the license from the state where the institution is located before applying (i.e., the state is a “license-in-hand” state).


If you do not already have a teaching license:

I want to become a teacher. Can Walden University help me?

Yes. Walden University has received state approval from the Minnesota Board of Teaching to offer a teacher preparation program that leads to Minnesota licensure in early childhood education (birth through grade 3) and special education (preK–12 learning disabilities and/or preK–12 emotional/behavioral disorders). These programs are designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree.

Individuals who want to teach in a state other than Minnesota may be eligible for an initial license/certificate by completing the state-approved teacher preparation programs. When reviewing state requirements, prospective teacher candidates should check if:

  • The state offers a license/certificate with grade and age levels that are comparable with the programs listed above.
  • The state is a license-in-hand or program completer state (see definitions).
  • There are any additional requirements to complete prior to being issued a license/certificate (i.e., additional exams, coursework particular to that state, background checks).
  • There are any requirements specific to your state or out-of-state or online institutions.

Is Walden University’s teacher preparation program a state-approved program?

Yes. Walden University’s Teacher Preparation Program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with specializations in Early Childhood Education and Special Education is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Walden has also been approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators and the Ohio Board of Regents to offer a preK–12 principal preparation program.

Individuals who want to be licensed/certified in a state other than Minnesota should research their state’s requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to teacher or principal candidates who are completing a state-approved program from an out-of-state institution.

Does Walden University offer teacher preparation in fields other than early childhood education and special education, such as elementary education?

Not at this time. However, Walden’s current Teacher Preparation Program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) with a specialization in Early Childhood Education (Birth–Grade 3) includes preschool through grade 3, which allows program completers to teach in a public elementary school up through third grade in states that offer a license or certificate comparable to Minnesota’s in grade and age level. Walden has also been approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators and the Ohio Board of Regents to offer a principal preparation program (preK–12).

At the end of Walden’s teacher preparation program, will I be a licensed teacher in Minnesota?

Not automatically. The Minnesota Department of Education, not Walden University, grants educator licenses. However, by completing a Walden teacher preparation program, you will have met the educational requirements for the license. You will then need to pass all of the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) tests, clear a background check, and apply to the Minnesota Department of Education. They will make the final determination and grant you your teaching license.

What is the process for a teacher candidate to receive a teaching license in Minnesota?

First, please note that the Minnesota Department of Education grants teaching licenses, not Walden University. Candidates for teacher licensure must successfully complete one of Walden University’s state-approved teacher preparation program specializations (e.g., early childhood education or special education).

Before Walden can recommend a candidate for licensure to the Minnesota Department of Education, the candidate must:

  • Complete Walden’s state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Pass the MTLE Basic Skills Exam and the MTLE tests pertinent to the teaching content area.
  • Undergo a Minnesota background check.
  • Ensure that all Minnesota Department of Education requirements are met.

Where should I go to find out more information about getting a Minnesota teaching license?

The Minnesota Department of Education, Licensing Division website is a great resource.

What is covered on the MTLE tests? Can I look at a sample test?

Specific information about what is covered on the MTLE tests is available on the MTLE website at www.mtle.nesinc.com

Will I be working in classrooms during the teacher preparation program?

Yes. Throughout Walden’s teacher preparation program, you will spend approximately five hours per course in classrooms, completing field experiences (an average of one hour a week during the course’s duration). During this time, you will complete activities and assignments, including observing, interviewing, and interacting with children, and creating and teaching lessons. Then, at the end of the program, you’ll spend 14 weeks full-time in demonstration teaching (also known as candidate teaching) split into two experiences at different age levels. During each experience, you will take over all responsibilities for the classroom and implement what you have learned during the program.

Will I earn a degree with the teacher preparation program?

The post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program in early childhood education and special education lead to the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree. The endorsement program in special education does not lead to a degree unless you also enroll with the option of completing additional courses and earning an M.S. in Education with a specialization in Special Education (Grades K–12).


If you do not already have a teaching license and live in a state other than Minnesota:

What if I want to obtain a license in a state other than Minnesota? Can I obtain a license in my home state by completing Walden’s teacher preparation program?

In most cases, yes. Candidates should review their own state’s requirements, paying particular attention to the following:

  • Requirements specific to individuals prepared out-of-state.
  • Whether the state issues a license/certificate in a similar subject and grade span.
  • Whether the state is a program completer or license-in-hand state (see definitions).
  • If there are any additional requirements specific to that state (e.g., additional exams, coursework, background checks).

First and foremost, candidates should check whether their state offers a license/certificate or endorsement with grade and age levels comparable to Walden’s program. For example, your state may not offer a special education license in learning disabilities but instead offer special education licenses that are cross-categorical (covering multiple disabilities). In this situation, the candidate should receive acknowledgement from the state as to whether the Walden special education teacher preparation program (i.e., the Early Childhood Education [Birth–Grade 3]; Special Education, Emotional/Behavioral Disorders [K–12]; or Special Education, Learning Disabilities [K–12] specializations) will be accepted for the cross-categorical license.

In many states, there are licensure requirements particular to individuals who complete a program from an out-of-state institution. These requirements may differ from the requirements for individuals completing programs from in-state institutions. Candidates should determine whether out-of-state programs need to be state-approved and/or accredited by an organization, such as NCATE. This applies to endorsements, renewals, upgrades, and salary increases, as well as initial licensure/certification. Please refer to state specific licensure issues for more information.

Some states require that individuals completing a program at an out-of-state institution actually obtain the out-of-state license first; other states do not require the actual license, just completion of a state-approved program. Candidates should review the requirements for individuals completing programs from out-of-state institutions to determine if they must receive their license from the originating state or if completing a state-approved program will allow them to apply directly to their state.

Walden’s enrollment advisors can provide you with guidelines and other information about licensure. It remains your responsibility to understand and comply with the out-of-state licensure requirements for the state in which you seek to be licensed, as requirements vary state by state. Walden University makes no representation or guarantee that successful completion of any program or coursework will permit you to obtain state certification or licensure in your state.

If I live in a state other than Minnesota and want to obtain a teaching license from my home state, do I first have to obtain the Minnesota license?

It depends upon your home state. All states have policies regarding out-of-state procedures that must be followed when someone is eligible for or has received licensure through an out-of-state institution with a state-approved program, such as the Minnesota Board of Teaching-approved programs at Walden University. Some states require that you actually obtain the out-of-state license first while other states do not require the actual license, just completion of a state-approved program.

If you have questions, please contact a Walden University enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336. Enrollment advisors can provide information on licensing requirements, but it is your responsibility to understand and comply with the most up-to-date out-of-state licensing information for your state. Please refer to state specific licensure issues for more information.

Is Walden University’s teacher preparation program approved in any other state besides Minnesota?

No. Our program is a Minnesota state-approved program. Just as with the majority of other teacher preparation programs throughout the United States, our program is approved only in our home state. Since Walden University is based in Minnesota, the program is approved by Minnesota. The program may, however, meet the educational requirements for licensure in other states. (Individuals may need to complete additional requirements before being eligible for licensure/endorsement.) You should research your state licensure/certification requirements, paying particular attention to requirements specific to individuals prepared by out-of-state and/or online institutions. Please refer to state specific licensure issues for more information.

Do I need to go to Minnesota to take the MTLE tests?

No. You can take the MTLE tests at any official testing site. When you register for the tests, be sure to select Walden University from the list so that your scores can be sent to Walden. To find a testing site, visit the MTLE website at www.mtle.nesinc.com

What is covered on the MTLE tests? Can I look at a sample test?

Specific information about what is covered on the MTLE tests, including sample questions and other preparation materials, is available on the MTLE website at www.mtle.nesinc.com

Will I be working in classrooms during my teacher preparation program?

Yes. Throughout Walden’s teacher preparation program, you will spend approximately five hours per course in classrooms completing field experiences (one hour a week during the course’s duration). During this time, you will complete activities and assignments, including observing, interviewing, interacting with children, and creating and teaching lessons. Then, at the end of the program, you will spend 14 weeks full-time in demonstration teaching (also known as student teaching) split into two experiences at different age-levels. During each experience, you will take over all responsibilities for the classroom and implement what you have learned during the program.

Will I earn a degree with the teacher preparation program?

The post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs in early childhood education and special education lead to the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree. The endorsement program in special education does not lead to a degree unless you also enroll with the option of completing additional courses and earning an M.S. in Education with a specialization in Special Education (Grades K–12).


If you already have a teaching license:

Can Walden’s other graduate courses and programs be used for the renewal of an already-existing teacher license or certificate?

It depends on the state and sometimes on the school district. In most states, graduate coursework that could lead to a master’s degree or the master’s degree itself suffices for “lane changes” on the salary scale and for licensure renewal or upgrading. Typically, the coursework or degree must be earned at a regionally accredited institution of higher education, such as Walden University. Check with your state and your district to learn about any specific requirements. Please refer to state specific licensure issues for more information.

Does Walden’s M.S. in Education program with a specialization in Educational Leadership (Non-Licensure) (Grades K–12) lead to certification as a principal?

If your state requires the completion of a state-approved program, then no. The M.S. in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership (Non-Licensure) (Grades K–12) program is not approved for administrative licensure in Minnesota (Walden’s home state) or any other state. This program does meet the principal licensure requirements in Texas as part of a partnership with the Harris County Department of Education and in Mississippi. The program may also meet some of the coursework requirements for administrative licensure in states that do not require the completion of a state-approved administrator licensure program.

Individuals interested in obtaining administrative licensure in Mississippi or Texas should refer to state specific licensure issues for more information.

For those interested in principal certification, Walden has a principal preparation program (preK–12) (Ed.S. in Educational Leadership and Administration) that is approved by the Minnesota Board of School Administrators for meeting the educational requirements for principal licensure. Candidates may need to satisfy additional state requirements (i.e., assessments, background checks) before being issued a license/certification.

Does Walden’s M.S. in Education program with either a specialization in Elementary Reading and Literacy (PreK–6) or a specialization in Elementary Reading and Mathematics (Grades K–6) lead to an endorsement, or add-on certificate, for already-certified teachers?

If your state requires the completion of a state-approved program, then no. Neither specialization has been state-approved in Minnesota as a licensure program and, therefore, would not be recognized as leading to a reading endorsement or reading add-on certificate in states that require the completion of a state-approved program. Neither of these specializations covers the grade span of K–12 or includes a practicum, which are requirements for endorsements in some states.