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The Arkansas Teaching and Certification Resource

Arkansas has implemented a performance-based certification system for state educators. Arkansas teacher certification is overseen by the State Educator Licensure Unit within the Arkansas Department of Education.

How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas

In order to pursue teaching certification in Arkansas, the state requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program. Additionally, all applicants must complete a background check and pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching and the Praxis Subject Assessments appropriate to the endorsement areas sought.

Teaching applicants who complete all of the requirements are eligible for an initial teaching license. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree but have not yet completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Arkansas.

The initial teaching license is valid for three years and is considered a period of induction for new teachers. During the induction period, new teachers are assigned an experienced teacher as a mentor for their teaching practice and professional growth. After gaining three years of teaching experience, educators may apply for a Provisional Professional Teaching License. A teacher must complete 24 hours of training in pedagogy during the first year of provisional licensure and complete summative evaluations for each year of the three-year provisional license period. After holding the Provisional Professional Teaching License for three years, passing the appropriate pedagogy assessment, and earning recommendation by the superintendent of the school district in which the candidate is employed, the Provisional Professional Teaching License may be converted to a five-year, standard educator license.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Arkansas

Projected Job Growth

5.2%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in AR through 20242

To pursue teaching certification in Arkansas, it’s imperative to complete an approved teacher preparation program. You can see a list of approved educator preparation programs in Arkansas through the Arkansas Department of Education.

Programs that are located out-of-state or delivered online must be accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies overseen by the US Department of Education.

Arkansas also requires teacher preparation programs to be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation serves as a standard of teaching excellence in the educational field and is recognized by the US Department of Education.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Arkansas.

Arkansas Teacher Outlook
The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services has projected 57 average annual openings due to growth and 239 average annual openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 32 average annual openings due to growth and 133 average annual openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 45 average annual openings due to growth and 211 average annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers through 2024.3 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding special education teachers there are about 27,890 teachers in Arkansas.4 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $45,120, for middle school teachers $47,440, and for secondary school teachers $48,600.4 The Arkansas Education Association, the largest active union for education professionals in the state, provides up-to-date information on career opportunities for educators.

Arkansas Teacher Education Requirements

Arkansas requires all teachers in the state to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the traditional route for acquiring Arkansas educator certification requires completion of a state-approved teacher education program from a CAEP-accredited college or university. These programs typically include a major in elementary education, special education, or secondary education with a particular content focus. Additionally, all teachers must take a three-credit-hour course in Arkansas history to qualify for a standard license.

Arkansas Teacher Testing Requirements

Arkansas State SealAs in many other states, the Praxis Exam Series is required for teacher certification in Arkansas. Candidates first take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam, which measures basic academic competency in core subjects. Next, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching is a basic skills test in pedagogy. The Praxis Subject Assessment is an advanced test of professional knowledge and subject-area content knowledge. Content-area tests are usually taken towards the end of a teacher preparation program.

Additional Arkansas Teacher Certification Requirements

The Arkansas Department of Education requires an Arkansas State Police, FBI, and Child Maltreatment Central Registry background check for all prospective educators. Fingerprinting can be done at any Arkansas law enforcement office or through LiveScan.

Arkansas Teachers Licensing Application Process

To apply for Arkansas teacher certification, you must complete the required steps above and provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of completion of a bachelor’s degree and an approved teacher preparation program.
  • Passing scores on the Praxis Core, Principles of Learning and Teaching, and Subject Assessment(s) for the endorsement area sought.
  • Completed application along with payment of non-refundable fees required by the Department of Educator Licensure.

Applications should be sent to:

Office of Educator Licensure
Arkansas Department of Education
Four Capitol Mall, Rooms 106-B and 107-B
Little Rock, AR 72201-1071

Visit the Arkansas State Department of Education for full details on how to become a teacher in Arkansas.

Teacher Quote: “Don’t be satisfied with ‘getting by’ behaviors in your students or yourself. Always strive for transparency, fairness, honesty, consistency, and excellence. Expect excellence and it happens.” -Sue Mistric, President of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French

Arkansas Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 2,380 $30,330
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 450 $33,870
Kindergarten Teachers 1,960 $45,570
Elementary School Teachers 11,690 $45,120
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,040 $44,940
Middle School Teachers 6,120 $47,440
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 630 $49,040
Secondary School Teachers 10,080 $48,600
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 1,250 $50,060
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 880 $50,650

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Arkansas Teacher Career Interview

  • President, Arkansas Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French, Sue Mistric

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Arkansas

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Arkansas?

Answer: You must be certified through the state to become an elementary teacher in Arkansas. The state requires that you earn a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program in elementary education. Arkansas also requires that you pass the Praxis exams for elementary education and a criminal background check.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Arkansas Department of Education: http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Arkansas Department of Workforce Services: http://www.discoverarkansas.net/cgi/databrowsing/?PAGEID=4
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm