Accreditation & Program Requirements



The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Salish Kootenai College is accredited by NWCCU to offer the degree programs listed in its catalog.

Salish Kootenai College has been involved in teacher preparation for many years. In the late 1980s, SKC began offering coursework toward credentials in Early Childhood Education. In the mid 1990s, SKC embarked on a partnership with the University of Montana Western (then Western Montana College) to create a “2 plus 2” program, wherein students would complete their bachelors degree from UMW in Elementary Education. In 2007, SKC’s Education Department was approved by NWCCU and the State of Montana to offer its own independent elementary education degree program… the ninth elementary education teacher preparation program in Montana, and the first new program in the state in decades. It was the first tribal college in Montana to offer a bachelors degree in education.

SKC’s Division of Education Teacher preparation programs are fully accredited by the Montana Board of Public Education and approved by the MT Office of Public Instruction.

Background Checks

Students pursuing a degree in Early Childhood, Elementary or Secondary Education at Salish Kootenai College are required to submit to state, federal and CPS background checks during their program of study. Candidates are required to submit a fingerprinted background check as soon as possible after enrolling in an education program and maintain an updated background check every two years. For detailed information on the background policy that is all Education majors are required to follow visit the Background Check Policy page.

Transfers and Credit History

The Division of Education welcomes transfer credits from other institutions for use in its education programs, provided the courses are approved by SKC Enrollment Services / Admissions and Division staff.

Division policy regarding courses that have been taken at other institutions is as follows:

      • Courses must be equivalent in credits, allowing for semester / quarter credit conversion (1 semester credit = 1.5 qtr credits). SKC operates on a 10-week quarter system, as opposed to 15 week semesters. A three credit semester course would be equivalent to 5 quarter credits.
      • Course content must be appropriately aligned. This may be determined by Division staff along with SKC’s Enrollment Services Transfer Specialist. Often, course descriptions from the source institution are used to help make this determination.
      • Certain time limits may apply; if courses were completed more than 5 years prior to the requested transfer, an individual Division review may be required. Certain courses, such as those centered on technology and writing fluency may require more rigorous review. These guidelines apply to previous SKC credits as well.
      • For more on course transfers, visit the SKC online catalog’s Transfer Specialist page.


Salish Kootenai College’s Bachelor degree programs in Early Childhood: P-3, Elementary K-8 , and Secondary Education meet professional licensure standards and make students eligible for recommendation for teaching certification in the state of Montana. Licensure is the process of obtaining your teaching certificate.

Licensure is not automatic with College graduation, and students must initiate the process by registering with the Montana Office of Public ­Instruction’s “TeachMT” online licensing system.

SKC offers degrees in Elementary ­Education, ­Early Childhood P:3, and Secondary Education that lead to eligibility for licensure. Students applying for a Montana teaching license must have passed the Montana Assessment For Content Knowledge (MACK), including a passing score on the appropriate Praxis Exam; however, new MT licensure rules established in 2022 also include GPA eligibility and other guidelines relevant to licensure; check with  Department Chairs or the Education Division Dean for more information.

 Licensure requirements vary among states, but SKC graduates usually find they are at least initially (provisionally) qualified to teach in states other than Montana. Please visit Teacher Education Disclosure by State to acquire information on the licensure requirements in other states.



SKC’s Division of Education relies on a number of measures to assess and evaluate both its students and its program effectiveness. Students maintain “Teacher Education Program (TEP) Portfolios” which serve as archives of their educational progress. Education students are assessed in three stages that span throughout their academic career. Student portfolios and critical assessment data are organized around multiple program outcomes that include the Division of Education’s “Central Beliefs” and the eleven Professional Educator Preparation Program Standards (PEPPS). Montana’s PEPPS incorporate the ten Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) outcomes, plus Indian Education for All outcomes.

Click here to view the InTASC Standards

Assessment of students within courses is addressed in many diverse ways, including (but not limited to) projects, presentations, research papers, portfolio assessments, group work, field practica, and many other traditional and alternative assessment strategies.

The SKC DOE uses the data from critical assessments along with other sources of information to establish assessment reports that detail its overall impact on education at the local, state, and regional levels.

An Academic Program Review evaluating its Early Childhood, P-3, and Elementary K-8 programs was presented to SKC’s administration in 2023. This document summarizes much of the data relevant to the DOE’s programs and is available to view here:

DOE Academic Program Review 2023

APR 2023 Internal Review Results

A similar process was completed in 2021 for the Division’s Secondary Education programs:

Secondary Education APR Report 2021

Secondary Ed. APR Review Results

The following documents provide further details regarding Division of Education program assessment:

2023-24 Div. of Education Annual Plan

DOE State Accreditation Assessment Report

Division of Education Conceptual Framework


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