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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 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. When the pair decides that the new teacher meets the mentoring requirements, the Praxis III (the capstone experience of the induction period) is scheduled. After the teacher completes the performance assessment successfully, he or she will receive a standard Arkansas teacher certification.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Arkansas

Projected Job Growth

13%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in AR through 202215

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 416 average annual openings for elementary school teachers, 232 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 316 average annual openings for secondary school teachers through 2022.2 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding special education there are about 27,800 teachers in Arkansas.3 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $44,810, for middle school teachers $47,270, and for secondary school teachers $48,310.3 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 a bachelor’s degree at minimum, preferably in education. 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 the pedagogy. The Praxis Subject Assessment is an advanced test of professional knowledge and subject-area content knowledge. Content-area tests are usually taken toward the end of a teacher preparation program. The Praxis III assessments are performance assessments, which, in Arkansas, are administered by the Office of Teacher Quality. The Praxis III is completed after gaining experience in classroom teaching and includes interviews before and after a classroom observation, written descriptions of the teacher’s class and subject matter, and observation of instructional practices by a state-certified performance assessor.

Additional Arkansas Teacher Certification Requirements

The 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 2,350 $29,480
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 370 $36,090
Kindergarten Teachers 1,920 $45,420
Elementary School Teachers 11,670 $44,810
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,070 $45,950
Middle School Teachers 6,460 $47,270
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 5,720 $58,460
Secondary School Teachers 9,760 $48,310
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 1,410 $50,290
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 1,070 $51,110

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

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. Arkansas Department of Workforce Services: http://www.discoverarkansas.net/cgi/databrowsing/?PAGEID=4
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arkansas: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.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