State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - South Dakota

April 2018


The data included in this 50-state comparison is specific to school leader preparation program and certification requirements. There may be additional requirements that are not indicated. For additional information, questions or comments, please contact Deven Scott at

Has the state adopted leadership standards? Yes. South Dakota has adopted principal performance standards. S.D. Admin. R. 24:58:01:01
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? South Dakota Board of Education S.D. Admin. R. 24:53:02:01
Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. The required courses and experiences of administrative preparation programs must align with the 2001 ELCC standards. S.D. Admin. R. 24:53:08:01
Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Field experience must be developmental and related to job responsibilities in a variety of educational settings. State policy provides additional requirements. However, no hour requirement was found. S.D. Admin. R. 24:53:06:02
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? Yes. An institution may seek approval to offer an innovative or experimental program. State policy provides additional requirements. S.D. Admin. R. 24:53:02:02
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for a Principal Endorsement, a candidate must:
  • Hold a master's degree in education
  • Demonstrate competence related to the age/grade span for which authorization is sought
  • Participate in an internship to include all job responsibilities of the principalship at the age/grade span for which authorization is sought
  • Have three years of verified experience on a valid certificate in an accredited K-12 school, one year of which includes classroom teaching experience or direct services to students.

Note: The three years of verified experience may be waived if the candidate receives a passing score on the Praxis II: Educational Leadership assessment.
S.D. Admin. R. 24:53:08:01
What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants holding valid, comparable certificate issued by another state with no pending disciplinary actions must also verify completion of an approved preparation program and an internship. Applicants must also pass an approved South Dakota Indian studies course with a grade of "C" or better and receive a minimum of one clock hour of suicide awareness and prevention training.

In addition, applicants prepared in an alternative certification program must also have three years of experience in the certification area sought within the last five years.
S.D. Admin. R. 24:28:16:01 through S.D. Admin. R. 24:28:16:04
Is there an alternative route to initial certification? A candidate in the process of completing administrator certification requirements while employed as an administrator in a public or department-accredited school may receive a principal administrator alternative certification. S.D. Admin. R. 24:28:15

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