Distance delivery option approved for secondary teacher certification South Dakota's public universities have just made it easier for college graduates to return to school to get the courses they will need to be certified to teach in high schools across the state. The South Dakota Board of Regents this week approved an online format for a secondary education teacher certification program. It is a collaborative effort of all five schools of education in the regents' system, including Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota State University, and The University of South Dakota. Individuals interested in enrolling in this program should contact one of the deans of education at the respective institutions. "The five education deans and their faculty worked together to develop a common set of course requirements that are at the core of this program," said Nancy Hall, dean of education at BHSU. "Students who successfully complete the required coursework and the field experiences will be recommended for licensure." Each campus already offers a certification-only program for students who have a bachelor's degree in a subject area for which the state of South Dakota certifies teachers, but who lack the education courses needed for certification. Some of those courses already were offered online, but this latest effort now ensures a statewide online delivery option. "We believe this will be a major benefit in terms of opening up more access to people in rural and underserved regions of our state," said Sam Gingerich, chief academic officer for the Board of Regents. The program delivers a series of courses, as well as required education practicum coursework and field experiences, over three academic terms. Students completing the program will earn 44 to 45 undergraduate credits. Plans call for the program to begin in the summer of 2009, with the first students completing requirements at the end of the spring 2010 term.