If your dream is to become an educator, it is essential to know the steps you must take to become licensed in your state. There are several requirements to fulfill before you can become a certified teacher in Alaska. Educating yourself about these requirements will prepare you for a successful career in education.
Requirements for certified teachers in Alaska
According to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, all applicants for a teaching certification must hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited institution. Most often, this degree is in education, although other state-approved teacher preparation programs may be acceptable. You must submit transcripts to verify your successful completion of an accredited program and any other required coursework.
To receive an initial teacher certificate, you must demonstrate competency in your chosen subject area by passing a standardized test. Applicants must have passing scores from all three sections — reading, writing, and mathematics — of the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators exam or an approved equivalent exam. You must also pass the PRAXIS II exam in your chosen subject area (such as Middle School Mathematics or Elementary Education Content Knowledge).
First-time teachers must complete a several courses within the first two years of receiving an initial teacher certificate. Each teacher must complete three semester hours of approved Alaska studies coursework and three semester hours of Alaska multicultural coursework. These courses are designed to prepare you to be sensitive to Alaska’ unique culture and history.
Applicants for a teaching certificate must also submit a state or institutional recommendation, pass a background check, and provide fingerprints.
Alaska jobs for licensed teachers
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development offers eight types of certificates for teachers. These allow individuals with diverse educational backgrounds to have a path to becoming a teacher in Alaska.
- Initial Teacher Certificate: You are a first-time Alaska educator with a bachelor’s degree or higher in education. There are special initial teacher certificates for people with out-of-state licenses, current education students, and individuals whose licenses have lapsed. An initial teacher certificate is valid for two years.
- Second Initial Teacher Certificate: You have held an initial teacher certificate and have completed your required Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural coursework.
- Professional Teacher Certificate: You have two years of teaching experience with a valid certificate, have passed your PRAXIS II content area exams, and have completed your required Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural coursework.
- Master Teacher Certificate: You meet all requirements for the professional teacher certificate, currently hold an initial or professional certificate, and hold a current National Board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
- Type C Special Services Certificate: You hold or bachelor’s or higher degree, have completed a program in a special service area, have completed the required Alaska studies and multicultural coursework, and have taken six semester hours of courses in the past five years. Special services may include speech pathology, school psychometry, or library science.
- Reemployment Certificate: You previously held a valid certificate that has been expired for more than 12 months.
- Retired (Lifetime) Certificate: You retired from teaching while holding a valid Alaska teaching certificate.
- Type M Limited Certificate: You do not have a bachelor’s degree because a program is not sufficiently available. However, you can demonstrate subject matter expertise and teaching competency in Alaska Native language or culture, vocational or technical coursework, or military science.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Alaska for the 2015-2016 school year:
- English/Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Special Education
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Teaching license reciprocity in Alaska
Alaska participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.