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 the "the
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
certification area with accurate, up-to-date info.
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 forum.
» 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.
all certificates are the same price – $200, plus a $60 Fingerprint
Likewise, nearly every type of certificate requires either an
Institution Recommendation (IR),
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
types are as follows:
It seems that many of the teacher certification changes
in December, 2015 are being phased in this summer,
and over the coming school year. As metioned on our Teaching
Alaska 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 contained here.
The changes are in several key areas effective immediately, and
at least one is going to be phased in for 2017:
The new-for-2017 areas of mandatory pre-service traininginclude:
"Incorporating the training required by sec. 10, ch. 2, SSSLA
2015 (a new state law) into the certification requirements for initial
and renewals, effective June 30, 2017."
Training must address:
I have been unable to find details yet about the "what, how and
where" of these trainings. I'm guessing that they will become part
of New Teacher In-service for most school districts, although the
state has had modules with similar topics delivered by distance ed
in the past.
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. As specified above, most
teachers certified in another state will need 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
months, but was valid for at least two years, then you would
apply for an
Teacher 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
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.