Teacher Licensure 101

This document is provided for those planning to apply for licensure after completing The College of Saint Scholastica's licensure programs.

Download a PDF of this information

Getting started: What this page covers

This page will cover the following:

  • Your responsibilities
  • CSS responsibilities
  • Minnesota Department of Education, Educator Licensing's responsibilities
  • Timelines
  • Frequently asked questions

What you can do TODAY

  • Ensure all transcripts are at CSS
    • Be sure ALL your grades are listed on your transcript, including transfer courses
    • Check to make sure any grade changes have been applied
    • Your degree must be conferred, with a date listed
  • Verify that all grades are posted (no I or NR). This information can be found on Cor
  • Ensure there are no holds an your transcript

What you need to do in the NEAR FUTURE

  • Apply online at Minnesota Department of Education (1st-time license)
    • You will get a File Folder Number (FFN) when you complete the application.
  • Current license holders should print-off paper application (license holders)

Applicant responsibility

  • The initial licensure process takes 60 days to complete
  • Fingerprint Card (MDE originator)
  • To CSS coordinator
    • MDE License Application Cover Page
    • Verification of Completion of State Approved Licensure Program
    • Fingerprint Card
  • Wait patiently

CSS Responsibility (1-3 weeks)

This stage begins when student completes final course & submits application. Coordinators and the Licensure Officer ensure all of the following are completed and are up to, or surpass minimum requirements:

  • MTLE scores (Pedagogy and Content Exam(s))
    • K-12: 1-Pedagogy & 1-Content (for licensure area(s))
    • 5-12: 1-PLT & 1-Content (for licensure area(s))
      • 9-12 Chemistry & 5-8 Science
      • 9-12 Biology & 5-8 Science
    • K-6: (1-PLT, 1 content -- 3 sub tests)
      • K-6 Content
      • 5-8 Specialty Content(s)
  • MTLE scores (Reading, Writing, Math, and/or Content and Pedagogy)
  • INTASC Standards attainment 
  • Program course completion
  • Minimum grade requirement C
  • Grade Point Average(s)
  • Portfolio(s)
  • TPA
  • Letters of recommendation(s)
  • Observation forms

Once the above steps are complete and verified, your Licensure Officer will do the following: 

  • Complete "Verification of Completion of State Approved Licensure Program"
  • Mail materials to MDE
  • Mail letter to student
    • Licensure recommendation
    • Licensure fields

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)

  • Reviews application
  • Mails fingerprint card to MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) national database background check
  • Issues license when background check is passed -- web and mail


  • Student completes all program requirements & submits completed application materials
  • 1-3 weeks - CSS processes application materials
  • 12-15 weeks - MDE processes licensure application and awards licensure

Common Delays

  • Student has not completed all requirements for program/application
    • Transcripts
    • Course requirements
    • Portfolios
    • MDE forms
    • Poor fingerprint processing
  • Transcript holds
  • MTLE scores


  • Three "Golden Tickets"
    • Actual Teaching License -- this is the norm
    • File Folder Number -- after you've applied. This is much less common
    • Letter from licensure stating you have been recommended for licensure -- all requirements met, very rare
  • Many districts require training

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use the application background check for districts that want one?

A: Sorry, no. MDE & BCA originate the background check. They do not share the results. Employers must run their own.

Q: Can I speed up the process? I have a job waiting! I need the money!

A: Sorry, no. We will work as quickly as we can. Many times the CSS review only takes 1-3 days. MDE really does take 12-15 weeks.

Q: Will hand-delivering my application and waiting in-person for it to be completed speed up the process?

A: Yes, and No. 

Yes: Your hand-delivery will cut down on the time it takes to get to the coordinator.

No: We still have to verify everything. You waiting will probably just make us nervous, and slower at our work.

Q: I know someone important at the College. Can I call him/her to speed it up?

A: Sure, but it will slow the process down. I will have to take time away from processing your application to explain to him/her why it takes as long as it does.

Q: If I delay the licensure process and submit my application to the SOE during the summer, will someone be on campus to process my application?

A: Most faculty are not on campus during the summer. Faculty who facilitate the licensure process will be available off and on during the summer, so their time on campus may not coincide with your desire/timline to process the licensure. Therefor, submit by your graduation or shortly after.

Other questions?

Please contact your site coordinator with any other questions you may have.