Teacher and administrator certification is more complicated
than it appears in most states, and Alaska is no exception.
With a series of recent changes to teacher certification in
progress now, it's especially important to realize that we
are not the "the experts".
This section of our website is only meant to provide an
overview of the process and requirements. The Alaska
Department of Education (EED) maintains a very
useful certification area with accurate, up-to-date
Oh, we know a little about this topic, as we have followed
the regulations ourselves for years as school
administrators, and hosted many virtual chats with EED staff
on the topics, but for current, accurate answers that can
impact critical life decisions,it's always important to get
answers about your specific situation direct from
the source, not from a third party website or an online
» Important Note: You need to get specific certification questions answered from Alaska EED!
Each state has its own hoops to jump through in the form of regulations, statutes, requirements, restrictions, background check procedures, and reciprocity agreements with other states. Although the Alaska Department of Education makes every attempt to help candidates navigate these requirements, it WILL be different than where you are from!
Start early, keep a positive attitude, and be detail
oriented. If you meet the requirements as outlined on the
application forms, you will end up with a certificate. All
teacher and administrator candidates must be fingerprinted,
and pass an FBI background screen.
Almost all certificates are the same price – $200, plus a
Likewise, nearly every type of certificate requires either
an Institution Recommendation (IR),or
a State Recommendation (SR).
The Multicultural (MC - 3 credit hours) and Alaska Studies (AK - 3 credit hours) courses required are almost always completed in the two-year interval after you are hired, and already working in Alaska. Typically, distance education methods are used for these courses.
Special Education is different in some ways. For those interested in teaching Special Education to children with disabilities, in addition to meeting other requirements for teacher certification, no matter which certificate you apply for, you must already ahve an endorsement based upon completion of an approved teacher training program in Special Education.
The main teacher
certification types are as follows:
It seems that many of the teacher certification changes
December, 2015 are being phased in this summer, and
over the coming school year. As metioned on our Teaching
page, there are also concurrent changes happening due
to ESSA (formerly NCLB) regarding accountability, "highly
qualified" status and education standards. You will want to
review those in addtion to the certification information
The changes are in several key areas effective immediately,
and at least one is going to be phased in for 2017:
New Mandatory Training Modules
Starting June 30, 2017, all teachers who have never been
certified in Alaska or another state, as well as those
applying for renewal of their license will need to prove
satisfactory completion of training in four new areas.
Important Note: This means that newly minted, just graduating teacher candidates, and those just completing their teacher preparation programs will want to have their completed Alaska Teacher Certification packet submitted and received by Alaska EED no later than June 29, 2017 to avoid the new training requirement.
Alaska Department of Education - New Mandatory Trainings
Since Alaska is only able to provide about 33% of its annual demand for teachers from in-state university pre-service programs, it is a fact that most teachers are originally recruited from other parts of the country.
Teacher certification is handled by states, and most teachers are certified in the state in which they finish their pre-service endorsement program, or where they are working now.
Question: Does Alaska have reciprocity with other states?
It's not exactly reciprocity, no. Reciprocity implies
that a license in another state exempts a teacher from
needing one in the state with reciprocity. Alaska still
requires all teachers to have a valid Alaska certificate
prior to the first day of instruction.
However, having certificate in another state or US
territory does make getting one in Alaska much easier.
As specified above, most teachers certified in another state
will want to apply for an Initial
/ Out-of-State certificate. But, it at a minimum
seems to smooth the path for a one-year certificate while
other requirements are met. Although it is a one-year,
certificate, it may be reissued twice for a total of two (2)
one-year extensions. It will bear the same certification
area as your other state of certification.
For the first one-year extension, the following items must be received by the Teacher Certification office prior to the expiration of the Initial/Out-of-State certificate:
Depending on whether you have already met the Alaska basic competency examination requirement or not elsewhere, and completed a Bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program - which most teachers have - this certificate would be valid for a period of up to 3 years.
This is important, as Initial Out-of-State certificates are non-renewable. All holders of Initial type certificates have to complete the requirements for a Professional or Master certificate during the validity period of their Initial certificate.
Question: My Alaska certificate has expired? Which certificate would I get?
If your Initial Alaska certificate has been expired for 12
or more months, but was valid for at least two years,
then you would apply for an Initial/Reemployment
certificate. It will reflect the certification
area of your initial certification. This
certificate is non-renewable, and you must next apply for a
Question: What if I'm considered a master teacher, or have a lifetime certificate in my home state?
All teachers new to the state start with Initial
certificates. There is no difference in pay or benefits.
But, after having held an Initial Certificate, and
passing the National Board exams ( NBPTS), you will quality
for a 10-year Master
The term "alternative certification" or "alternative route to certification" usually describes programs that do not have all the components of a traditional, pre-service teacher preparation program. Please note that Alaska no longer issues "emergency certification", nor does it allow anyone who is not certified to work as a teacher.
You must either arrive with a current, valid certificate
from another state, or be enrolled in an approved teacher preparation program
in order to be certified. Approved pre-service programs will
require an Institutional
Endorsement form. If the certificate you have is
from an Alternative Certification program in another state,
you will need a State
to Teachers program provides counseling, financial
assistance and scholarhips to armed forces members wishing
work as teachers.
Troops to Teachers started in 1994, and is intended to assist qualified military personnel make the transition from the armed services to service in the classrooms. The program helps connect individuals with information, institutions and the people that can help participants in meeting existing state certification requirements. Assistance in finding a teaching position is also provided.
» Stipends (up to $5,000) have previously been available to help defray the costs of certification.
» Bonuses (up to $10,000) for those who commit to teaching
in "high needs" schools for a minimum of three years have
previously been available.
Eligibility guidelines for military service are pretty
specific, so check out the official contact list from DANTES,
which lists an address in Colorado, or download the lastest
official brochure I could find here.
There are several specialty certification areas with more complex, and specific requirements. Some of these include School Psychologists, Speech Pathologists and and Hearing specialists. Please see the EED website for details.