Arkansas Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in Arkansas. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, there are multiple routes for earning Arkansas alternative teacher certification. These routes typically allow candidates who meet basic requirements to accept employment as a classroom teacher while fulfilling the requirements for an initial license. To qualify for alternative teacher certification in Arkansas, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Continue reading to learn more about these alternative pathways.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

The minimum requirement for alternative teacher certification in Arkansas is a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the pathway to licensure, minimum GPA requirements and content-area coursework may also apply. It usually takes at least two years to complete the alternative certification program, which in most cases will lead to professional licensure in the state.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Arkansas

Alternative teacher certification pathways in Arkansas may lead to the issuance of a post-graduate certificate, professional certification, or a master’s degree in education, depending on the route to educator licensure followed. These programs are typically designed for those with degrees in non-education subjects.

Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure

The Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure (APPEL) is an alternative route that takes two years to complete, allowing candidates to actively work as a classroom teacher while completing the pathway requirements needed to obtain a standard Arkansas teaching license. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and have passed the Praxis basic skills and subject-area exams for their grade level and subject area(s). While teaching, candidates are mentored and participate in online instruction. The program leads to National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and Arkansas teacher certification. Note that applications for the APPEL pathway are only accepted from March through May each year.

Non-Traditional Master’s Route

The non-traditional master’s route allows teacher candidates pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, or Master of Education, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership degree to earn certification. This pathway is available through select Arkansas colleges and universities only. Certain programs allow candidates to teach while completing the required coursework. To review available programs and find out more information, contact the Office of Educator Licensure.

Arkansas Teacher Corps

The Arkansas Teacher Corps is an accelerated program that places applicants in full-time teaching positions in high-need areas for three years. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.75 GPA (3.0 recommended). High-achieving applicants are preferred for this route, which begins with an intensive six-week summer training institute and leads to standard licensure after a three-year teaching commitment. For further details, visit the Arkansas Teacher Corps website.

Provisional Professional Teaching License

Candidates who have at least three years of full-time experience in a teachable subject may follow this route to teach a subject area related to his or her professional field. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and have an offer of employment to teach in an Arkansas public school plus provide a statement of justification and two professional letters of recommendation. Upon acceptance to the program, passing the appropriate Praxis content knowledge test, and completing a 24-hour professional training course plus three years of successful teaching, candidates on this pathway may be issued a Professional Teaching Permit.

Testing Requirements for Arkansas Alternative Certification

Arkansas teacher licensure candidates must take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam, which measures basic academic competency in core subjects. This is typically taken prior to applying to a preparation program. Candidates must also take the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching and the Praxis subject assessments for the endorsement area sought.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

For experienced teachers who have out-of-state certification, Arkansas educator certificate reciprocity is based on individual evaluation. Basic eligibility is based on completion of a bachelor’s degree, teacher preparation program, and passing scores on the Praxis exams for educators. A provisional license may be issued if the candidate does not meet the content or pedagogy testing or has not completed the Arkansas history education requirement. For more information see our guide to teacher certification reciprocity or read more from the Arkansas Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Arkansas

In order to qualify for licensure in Arkansas, you must complete an approved teacher education program. The following school-based teacher preparation programs that lead to a certificate or master’s degree have been approved by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE):

  • Arkansas State University (Master’s)
  • Arkansas Tech University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Harding University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Henderson State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • John Brown University (Master’s)
  • Southern Arkansas University* (Master’s)
  • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (Master’s), Little Rock* (Alternative, Master’s), Monticello* (Alternative, Master’s), Pine Bluff* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of Central Arkansas* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Williams Baptist University (Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Arkansas Department of Education: https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/educator-effectiveness