SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –Aspiring teachers in the Sioux Falls area will soon have another option for getting a degree.

University of South Dakota-Sioux Falls will soon offer an elementary education degree.

The Bachelor of Science will allow future educators to teach K-8.

“This is our first entry into the education field, and it mirrors the same program you could get in Vermillion, but you don’t have to go to Vermillion. You can do it right here at home,” USD-Sioux Falls Vice President Jay Perry said.

The program kicks off here USD-Sioux Falls in the fall of 2023.

“We’ve talked with a lot of the regional school districts and we think it’s going to be a big success,” Perry said.

The new program is aimed at filling a need for teachers.

“Over the past several years, the state has experienced a shortage of teachers. That’s not unique to South Dakota, that’s nationwide,” USD Dean of the School of Education Amy Schwienle said.

According to the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, there were 126 teaching openings at public schools across the state in October, which is more than double the openings in October of 2019.

“There are a lot of school districts in the region that have teacher shortages, and this would be a great way for USD Sioux Falls to help those school districts fill their teacher pipeline,” Perry said.

Perry says adding the degree to the Sioux Falls campus will also help the Teacher Pathway Program.

It’s a partnership between USD and the Sioux Falls School District that provides opportunities for students interested in teaching.