Teacher and administrator certification is more complicated than it appears in most states, and Alaska is no exception. We hope to provide Alaska Department of Education (EED) staff with direct editing access to this page to ensure accuracy.
» Important Note: You need to get specific 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, 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 – $125.
The state of Alaska requires educators to take a state approved course in Alaska Studies and one in Multicultural/Cross-Cultural Communication. There are various state approved courses available in fall, spring and summer.
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 info.
Changes in certification requirements to a "tiered certification" system over the last year have been pretty significant. Some aspects of the new requirements are still being worked out, so check here and with EED for changes.
There are five categories of information we touch upon briefly here:
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?
New EED regulations allow teachers certified in another state to receive a one-year, non-renewable Tier I Initial certificate. So, that is a generic no.
Depending on whether you have met the Alaska basic competency examination requirement or not, and completed a Bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program, this certificate would be valid for a period of up to 3 years.
In other words, if you have met the testing requirement, you will receive a two-year certificate. If you have not met the testing requirement, you will have one year to complete that requirement.
This is important, as Initial 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 Alaska certificate has been expired for 12 or more months, then you would receive the Tier I Initial certification.
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 Tier I Initial certificates. There is no difference in pay or benefits.
Question: How do I get a Tier II Professional certificate?
All Professional certificate holders must have held a Tier I Initial certificate, passed approved Alaska Studies credits, and approved Multicultural / Cross-Cultural credits, and have taken six (6) recency credits. These recency credits can include the required two courses.
Tier II Professional certificates are valid for five (5) years. A teacher can remain in Tier II for his or her entire career.
The Alaska Teacher Performance Review is required of all teachers initially certified September 1, 2006 and beyond who seek Professional certification. The Alaska Teacher Performance Review consists of a 45-minute videotape and the supporting documentation for the videotape. Teachers subject to the performance review requirements in regulation must submit two performance reviews to Teacher Certification prior to the end of their second year of Initial certification in Alaska. Further information about the performance reviews may be obtained on the Teacher Certification website at http://www.eed.state.ak.us/teachercertification/TPR/.
Question: How do I get a Tier III Master Teacher certificate?
The requirements for this certificate are basically to hold either a Tier I Initial or Tier II Professional certificate, and obtain National Board Certification. The Tier III Master Teacher certificates are valid for ten (10) years.
All of these requirements are spelled out in much greater detail on the EED website, and the forms you need are located there for download and printing.
So you are just finishing your pre-service teacher preparation program, or student teaching, and you are wondering just how to go about getting certified in Alaska, eh?
The easiest thing to do in many cases involves simply accepting your local state's certification – virtually all accredited teacher training programs result in a state credential – and applying to Alaska for the Tier I Initial certificate described above. Assuming that you've passed your testing requirement with a suitable score, that gives you two years to work on the Tier II Professional certificate.
In either case, you will need to send the Alaska Department the forms mentioned above, as well as an "Institutional Recommendation" from the department of education of the school in which you completed your pre-service training program. Sometimes it's the department chair, or the dean's office that fills this form out. Make you use the correct term to avoid confusion.
Dont forget to also check on your state's highly qualified forms so that you can present that to your employing school district. See our Teaching in Alaska page for more information.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which is actually enforced through Alaska's Department of Education and Early Development (EED), requires teachers to be "highly qualified" in their content area. This basically means that the teacher has met a "subject area specialty" level in the are he or she teaches. There are numerous ways to document this, such as number of credits, and passing the approved subject area tests.
You would be wise to learn some basics about how your qualifications are viewed in Alaska before you interview, as many positions in core subject areas now require staff to be highly qualified.
If you are highly qualified in your current state, you really should document your status with a letter. It makes things much easier when you move here.
» Here are some resources to help you learn your status: Alaska EED Highly Qualified Information
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 enroll in an approved teacher preparation program.
All secondary level teacher preparation programs listed for Alaksa are “post-baccalaureate”, meaning that you need to have a Bachelor's degree in a subject area first. However, as long as you complete an accredited pre-service teacher preparation program, or have a valid certificate from another state, you should be in pretty good shape.
Many states also have programs for non-typically prepared persons who have other degrees. These are usually called "Alternative Routes to Teaching" in the literature. In Alaska, this program is the Alaska Transition to Teaching (AKT2) program. (See Transition to Teaching below for more information)
The National Center for Alternative Certification (NCAC) is charged with disseminating research and information about each state's programs in this area, and has a good background of this terminology. The National Center for Education Information (NCEI) also has one.
The NCARC folks do produce a guide to Alternative Routes to Certification programs which has not been updated to include AKT2.
Before committing to any program, make sure it is regionally accredited, approved for certification in the state in which the program is offered, and if you want to teach up here, check with the Alaska Department of Education's Teacher Certification Office to make sure you would be qualified to work here after completion.
The Troops to Teachers program is run out of offices at Elmendorf Air Force Base. It is a Category K program if using the National Clearinghouse criteria.
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) are 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.
Eligibility guidelines for military service are pretty specific, so check out the TTT website for details.
All Troops for Teachers participants must a hold Baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution at the time of registration, or have the equivalent of one year of college, and six years of work experience in a vocational or technical field.
School administrator certification still uses the Type B document, good for five (5) years, and requires:
If you have everything but the six credit hours of required course work, you can get a one-year, non-renewable Temporary Type B certificate.
There are numerous endorsements for the Type B – Principal, Superintendent, and so on. Make sure you get the latest information from EED.
» No Type B certificate allows you to teach without one of the teaching certifications mentioned above (Initial, Professional or Master Teacher).
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.