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The Alaska Teaching and Certification Resource

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (EED) oversees the Alaska teacher licensing process. Teaching in Alaska K-12 schools requires an active teaching certificate issued by the EED. The Alaska educator certification process is outlined below to help you learn how to become a teacher in Alaska.

How to Become a Teacher in Alaska

To obtain Alaska teacher certification, prospective educators must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program. For those who already have have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete teacher preparation, there are alternative routes to teacher certification in Alaska.

Like many other states, Alaska uses a tiered system for educator licensure. First-time teachers are issued an Initial certificate. The Initial certificate may be upgraded to a Professional teacher certificate after two years of successful teaching and completing the Praxis II exam as well as Alaska’s state-specific coursework requirements. Experienced teachers may advance to a Master teacher certificate by meeting the requirements for a Professional certificate and earning certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Alaska

Projected Job Growth

10%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in AK through 202215

Candidates for teacher certification in Alaska must complete a teacher preparation program that is approved by the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. You can find a list of approved programs through the department’s website.

Candidates must also earn a bachelor’s degree through an institution that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Completing a bachelor’s degree or teacher preparation program through a school that is not appropriately approved and accredited may not qualify graduates for teacher licensing in Alaska.

Teacher education programs may also hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization is the result of the merger between the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation carries a distinguished reputation for rigorous standards in teacher preparation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Alaska.

Alaska Teacher Outlook
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects 27 average annual openings due to growth and 59 average annual openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 7 average annual openings due to growth and 17 average annual openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 13 average annual openings due to growth and 37 average annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers from 2012 to 2022.2 There are approximately 7,070 elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers employed in Alaska (excluding special education) according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 Within the state the average annual salary for elementary teachers is $71,460, for middle school teachers $71,040, and for secondary school teachers $72,120.3 The NEA-Alaska, the largest active union for education professionals in the state, provides information on issues impacting teachers.

Alaska Teacher Education Requirements

In order to be certified to teach in Alaska, an applicant must have completed a bachelor’s degree as well as state-approved teacher education program at a regionally accredited college or university. The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development also requires all educators to take two courses, one in Alaska studies and one in Alaska multiculturalism. A list of approved courses is available through the department’s website.These courses must be taken within the first two years of an Initial license in order to renew a teaching certificate. However, many candidates choose to fulfill the coursework requirements prior to applying for a certificate.

Alaska Teacher Testing Requirements

Alaska State SealProspective teachers in Alaska must pass a basic competency exam. There are a number of competency exams that meet this requirement for Alaska teacher certification, which are listed through the Division of Teaching & Learning Support website.

In addition to demonstrating basic skills, candidates must also demonstrate content-specific knowledge for their endorsement area(s) by taking the appropriate Praxis II subject area exam. The Praxis II is not a requirement for initial licensure, but teachers must take and pass the exam in order to advance to a Professional certificate and continue teaching in Alaska.

Additional Alaska Teacher Certification Requirements

All Alaska teaching applicants are required to complete a background check with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and a federal background check with the FBI. Fingerprints must be rolled or scanned by a trained technician. Acceptable fingerprint cards can be requested from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.

Alaska Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the steps to Alaska teacher certification are complete, candidates must submit an application for a certificate with the following documentation:

  • Official transcripts demonstrating proof of bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program completion
  • Institutional recommendation for a license from a teacher preparation program official
  • Completed fingerprint card for background check
  • Verification of passing scores on an acceptable basic competency exam
  • Payment of non-refundable fees

Completed applications should be sent to:

Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Teacher Education & Certification
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500

Visit the Department of Education & Early Development for more details on earning teaching certification in Alaska.

Alaska Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 720 $38,020
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 190 $64,750
Kindergarten Teachers 340 $66,380
Elementary School Teachers 3,230 $71,460
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 580 $67,520
Middle School Teachers 1,620 $71,040
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 300 $67,910
Secondary School Teachers 2,220 $72,120
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 320 $73,550
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 210 $74,460

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

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References:
1. Alaska Department of Education & Early Development: http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/
2. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development: http://live.laborstats.alaska.gov/occfcst/
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alaska: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm