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 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 will be issued an Initial certificate. The Initial certificate may be upgraded to a Professional teacher certificate after two years of successful teaching and completing the appropriate Praxis Subject Assessments exam(s) 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


Growth in Teaching Jobs in AK through 20262

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. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs in Alaska by using the sortable table on our Alaska schools page.

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.

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 a 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 Subject Assessments. The Praxis Subject Assessments are 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 Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are about 507 public schools in Alaska, serving 132,737 students.3 The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are about 7,620 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the state, including private and public school teachers.4 This gives the state a student-teacher ratio of approximately 17:1.3

Projections call for 160 average annual openings for elementary school teachers, 40 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 120 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Alaska from 2016 to 2026.2 Within the state the average annual salary for elementary teachers is $74,070, for middle school teachers $75,770, and for secondary school teachers $77,920.4 The NEA-Alaska, the largest active union for education professionals in the state, provides information on issues impacting teachers.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers940$36,210
Preschool Teachers, Special Education90$65,500
Kindergarten Teachers200$62,660
Elementary School Teachers3,870$74,070
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School640$72,770
Middle School Teachers1,370$75,770
Middle School Teachers, Special Education270$75,530
Secondary School Teachers2,380$77,920
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education430$75,530
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education150$76,860

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Alaska

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Alaska broadly has the following shortages5:

  • General shortages (Multiple districts), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (All Exceptionalities), Pre-K-12

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much do teachers make in Alaska?

Answer: Teachers in Alaska earn an average annual salary of $74,070 for elementary teachers; $75,770 for middle school teachers; and $77,920 for secondary school teachers.4

Question: What are the requirements to become a substitute teacher in Alaska?

Answer: Alaska does not offer certification for substitute teachers on a state level. There are also no state minimum requirements for substitutes. Individual schools and school districts decide who to hire as substitute teachers.

Question: Does Alaska need teachers?

Answer: According to the US Department of Education, many school districts in Alaska reported general teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year, and special education shortages were reported statewide.5

1. Alaska Department of Education & Early Development: https://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alaska: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/