Non-Native English Speaker Basic Skills Exam Exemption

Effective July 1, 2014, nonnative English speakers are eligible for an exemption from taking the MTLE Basic Skills tests required for licensure in Minnesota if a school district/charter school verifies they meet the criteria of being a nonnative English speaker. Generally, a "nonnative" speaker is defined as an individual whose first language is not English. 

The exemption only applies to candidates for licensure teaching in immersion programs in which you provide direct instruction in your native language, or world language programs.

Candidates teaching ESL or in bilingual/bicultural education are not eligible for the exemption. The license for candidates teaching in elementary or secondary immersion programs will indicate eligibility to teach in only immersion settings; you will not be eligible to teach in regular elementary or secondary settings.

To be eligible for the exemption from the Basic Skills tests, you must be in the process of being hired or have been hired by a school district or charter school. Not all district/charter schools may be aware of this procedure. Please provide them with a copy of these procedures or direct them to the Educator Licensing website.

If you are a candidate for licensure who qualifies, follow these procedures: Obtain an official letter from a Minnesota school district on district letterhead that includes an original signature of the Superintendent or director of Human Resources. Photocopied letters are not acceptable. The letter should include the following:

  1. Name
  2. File Folder Number
  3. A statement that the exemption is for either immersion instruction, or world language instruction.

The letter must be included with your application packet or, if you are teaching on a limited license, mailed to Educator Licensing or submitted in person. Faxed or scanned copies are not acceptable, only original copies.