Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country's overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how Alaska measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).
Teaching in Alaska provides a different set of challenges than teaching in other states. Education Northwest reports that 64 percent of school districts in Alaska qualify as “rural,” meaning that they either have a population of 5500 or less and are not connected by rail or road to Anchorage, or that they have a population of 1500 or less and are connected by rail or road to Anchorage. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is actively recruiting teachers for these rural, or bush, areas, that make up most of the state, and may offer incentives to prospective teachers in these areas. Whether you choose to teach in a rural or metropolitan area, you must satisfy the same requirements to become a certified teacher in Alaska. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in Alaska.
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The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
(EED) (907) 465-2831
requires all teachers to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree before going on to complete one of the approved teacher preparation programs in Alaska
. Teacher certifications that are offered are specific to the teacher preparation program you complete:
- Early Childhood Education (Pre K -3)
- Elementary Education (K-6)
- Secondary Education (7-12)
- Specialty Areas
Some of the approved Alaska teacher preparation programs are offered at the bachelor’s level, but many are at the post-bachelor’s, master’s, or post-master’s level. Alaska teacher preparation programs may lead to a bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate or master’s degree.
If you do not enroll in an approved Alaska teacher preparation program following the completion of your bachelor’s degree program, you may still be eligible for an initial certificate if you complete a program from an accredited college or university offering nationally recognized programs that use National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards for teacher preparation.
Types of Certificates Available:
- Initial teacher certification is valid for three years and is granted to applicants who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, including a teacher preparation program, as well as met examination, criminal background and application requirements.
- Applicants for initial certification must have a bachelor’s degree and may still be in the process of completing the teacher preparation program, but must complete this program within two years of receiving the Initial Teacher Certificate.
- If you hold an Initial Teacher Certificate, you must meet the requirements for a Professional or Master Teacher Certificate during the three years your Initial Teacher Certificate is valid.
- Professional teacher certification is granted after applicants have met experience and examination requirements (listed below) and have:
- Master teacher certification does not require additional education but does require that you have an Initial or Professional Teacher Certificate (and meet other certification requirements listed below)
For an overview of Alaska examination requirements for prospective teaches, visit the Praxis website.
Basic skills testing:
All candidates for Initial Teacher Certification must receive passing scores on a Basic Competency
examination. Tests that may be taken and their corresponding passing scores include:
Content area assessment testing:
- Praxis I: Reading (score of 175), Writing (score of 174), Math (score of 173)
- California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST): (total score of 123)
- Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B): Reading (score of 240), Writing (score of 240), Math (score of 240)
- Florida Teacher Certification Exams (FTCE) - General Knowledge: Reading (65 percent of questions correct), English Language Skills (73 percent of questions correct), Math (60 percent of questions correct), Essay (6 out of 12 points needed)
- Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) - (score of 220)
- Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS): Scaled Score (240) including Reading (50 percent of questions correct), Writing (5 out of 12 correct), Math (35 percent of questions correct), Language Arts (50 percent of questions correct)
- Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC): Reading (scaled score of 220), Writing (scaled score of 220), Math (scaled score of 220)
- New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills (NMTA): Reading (score of 240), Writing (score of 240), Math (score of 240)
- New York State Teacher Certification Liberal Arts and Science Test (NYSTCE): (score of 220)
- Oklahoma General Education Test: (total score of 240)
In order to become licensed in a specific content area, you must take the Praxis II
exam. This is not required for an Initial Teacher Certificate, but is required for a Professional Teacher Certificate. Prospective Elementary Developmental K-8 or Middle School 6-8 teachers take the tests corresponding to their specialization. Future Special Education or specialty subject area teachers, as well as those seeking a language certification, English endorsement, General Science endorsement or Mathematics endorsement must take the test specific to their requested certification. Specialty content areas in the Praxis II lead to Alaska teacher certification in the following subjects:
- Elementary Developmental K-8
- Middle School 6-8
- Middle School English Language Arts 6-8
- Middle School Mathematics 6-8
- Middle School Science 6-8
- Middle School Social Studies 6-8
- Secondary Education:
- Business Education
- Earth Science
- Family and Consumer Science
- General Science
- Government and Political Science
- Health and Physical Education
- Physical Education
- Physical Science
- Social Science
- Social Studies
- Speech Communication
- Technology Education
- Vocational Education
- English Endorsement
- General Science Endorsement
- Mathematics Endorsement
- French Endorsement
- German Endorsement
In order to qualify for an Initial Teacher Certificate, you do not need teaching experience beyond that of your college teacher preparation program. If you attend an Alaska teacher preparation program, an internship and/or field placement averaging a year in duration should be included within this program. You will likely complete this internship in an actual classroom setting under the mentorship of a supervising teacher.
During your internship, you can expect to prepare lesson plans, direct the class, observe your mentor teacher as he or she directs the class, and receive valuable guidance from your mentor teacher. The length of your internship will vary based upon your teacher preparation program.
Document and Application Requirements
After completing your educational and examination requirements, and fulfilling any practicum or field placements, you will be ready to apply for initial teacher certification in Alaska. This may be accomplished through filing the Teacher Certification Application: Initial Certification
form. The completed application along with the following supporting documents should be mailed to the Department of Education and Early Development, Teacher Education and Certification, 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200, P.O. Box 110500, Juneau, AK 99811-0500:
- Official, unopened transcript verifying your receipt of a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university
- Official, unopened transcripts verifying completion of 3 semester hours of approved Alaska Studies and 3 semester hours of approved Alaska Multicultural coursework
- One of the following:
- Institutional recommendation verifying completion of an approved Teacher Education Program from a regionally accredited college or university (recommendation forms are included within application packet)
- State recommendation verifying completion of a state-approved Teacher Education program
- Passing scores on an approved Basic Competency exam
- Application fees
- Signed and notarized application
If you hold a teacher certificate in another state or a foreign country, check the requirements (see page 8) necessary for submittal of an Initial Teacher Certificate application.
Criminal History Background Check
All applicants for Initial Teaching Certification in Alaska must undergo a criminal history background check. If you already held a student teacher position in an Alaska school and completed a background check, and your Alaska Student Teacher Authorization expired less than 60 days prior to submitting your Initial Teacher Certificate application, you may not need to re-apply. Email the teacher certification office at firstname.lastname@example.org to check.
You must submit one FBI fingerprint card as part of the criminal history background check. If your school does not supply you with a card, email the teacher certification office to request one. They can also direct you to the nearest fingerprint location.
If you have questions about Alaska teacher education preparation programs, contact the university directly.
Further questions about the process for Alaska Initial Teacher Certification may be directed to the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Teacher Education & Certification at (907) 465-2831, or by visiting the EED website.
State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.