Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2016–2017, and was determined by examining the most recent data about unfilled teaching positions; positions filled by teachers certified by irregular, provisional, temporary, or emergency certification; and teachers teaching in subject areas other than their area of preparation.
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Alaska
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/15/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Alaska, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Step Four: Submit a Alaska teaching credential application.
Continue below for more information.
Earn Your Alaska Teaching Credential
To become certified as a teacher in Alaska, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete or be enrolled in a teacher preparation program, and pass the required standardized tests. If you have a teaching credential from another state, you may be able to use an interstate reciprocity program to become certified in Alaska. Learn more about Alaska’s certification requirements through the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
The two main types of teaching credentials used in Alaska are the Initial Certificate (valid for two years with a possible one-year extension, nonrenewable) and the five-year, renewable, Professional Certificate. To advance from the Initial to the Professional Certificate, you must teach for at least two years, complete a teacher preparation program, and take required courses. There is also a Master Teacher Certificate (valid for ten years, renewable) available for teachers who have earned National Board certification.
All states require that prospective teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete or be in the process of completing a state-approved teacher preparation program to receive certification. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development provides a Directory of Approved Teacher Education Programs.
Some states also have specific course and credit-hour requirements. Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements—curricula and fieldwork. Curricula generally include instruction on teaching fundamental skills, pedagogy (the science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design, and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Fieldwork often includes field observations, internships, student teaching, or a combination of all three. Check with your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information about specific requirements.
Alaska does not list specific course or credit hour requirements for an Initial Certificate, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. The state does require a period of student teaching or mentored/supervised teaching. To qualify for an extension of an Initial/Two-Year certificate or a Professional Certificate in Alaska, you must also complete approved coursework in Alaska studies AND Alaska multicultural studies.
Step Two: Alaska Teacher Certification Programs
Teacher certification programs generally require both coursework and fieldwork components. The coursework consists of essential knowledge and skills for teachers, as well as an exploration of contemporary pedagogy (the art and science of teaching). The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development provides a Directory of Approved Teacher Education Programs.
Check with your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information about specific requirements. Alaska does not list specific course or credit hour requirements for an Initial Certificate, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. The state does require a period of student teaching or mentored/supervised teaching.
Step Three: Required Tests for Alaska
Becoming a certified teacher requires the completion of certain standardized tests. In addition, some states and teacher preparation programs require an exam for entry into the program. For an Initial Certificate, Alaska requires that applicants pass the Praxis 1/PreProfessional Skills Test (PPST), the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, or an equivalent basic competency exam from one of a number of other states.
For information on which states’ exams can be submitted and what scores are required, check the Basic Competency Exam Requirement section of the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development’s website. For a Professional Certificate, you must also pass a Praxis II Content Area Exam or a content exam from another state. Read more about teacher certification tests on Teach.com.
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Alternative Teacher Certification in Alaska
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development offers a Type M Limited Certificate to those who do not have a bachelor’s degree, but who can demonstrate subject matter expertise and teaching competency as verified by the local school district. This limited certificate applies to the specialty areas of Alaska Native language or culture, military science, and vocational or technical. In addition, Alaska participates in the Mountain Pacific Region Troops to Teachers Program, which helps military personnel transition to teaching careers.
A master's degree in the field of education can increase your classroom competency, give you a wider breadth of pedagogical skills to draw from in planning lessons, and give you more confidence in dealing with students. This increased competence can often lead to an increase in pay. Teachers in the Anchorage School District with a master’s degree can expect to earn about $6,639 more per year than teachers with a bachelor’s degree and the same level of experience, according to 2015–2016 data from the National Council on Teacher Quality.
Alaska is one of the top-three highest paying states for teachers, with elementary school teachers earning an average salary of $73,220 and secondary school teachers earning an average of $80,550. Learn more about teacher salaries.
Professional development in Alaska is handled by the Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN), which offers a comprehensive development program executed primarily through online webinars, but also through on-site school workshops and summer programs. The program stresses increased use of technology in the classroom, collaboration between teachers, and community building.
The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development and the University of Alaska maintain the Alaska Teacher Placement website with info on job openings and job fairs, and a forum where teachers can help each other find placements. The site includes a section on teaching in Alaska’s rural and Bush school districts, where teachers are needed most. Learn more about finding a teaching job on Teach.com.