Alaska Teacher Placement
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Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we get at Alaska Teacher Placement. The page has links to detailed tutorials for some questions, and links to the correct page in our website to answer others.

Our Top FAQs!

How can I get help with completing my application?

This is our most common request for help, and the new ATP Applitrack database has its own help desk, and tutorials. You can find help with filling out the new resume forms and other associated documents here:

» Applitrack System Help

The #1, most common source of confusion for candidates is that ATP's Applitrack system display openings for ALL of the 55+ school districts and educational organizations in Alaska, and some of them have their own Applitrack databases. 

This means that if you click on a job listed on our website for those school districts - Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Fairbanks, Juneau or Kodiak - you will be taken to their system to apply.  You can import SOME of your ATP information to their applications, but not all of it. Why not? This is due to the differences between the questions and answer types on our forms and those of each member of the "Big Six" districts.  These districts can search and contact our ATP job candidate pool, but we can't help with job applicant issues on their database because we don't have any access.  This link will download an explanation of our how our ATP Applitrack system interacts with the Big Six district systems as a PDF document.

If you still have issues, or don't understand something, contact ATP Tech Support ( and we'll take a look.

How much is the starting salary for teachers in Alaska?

This is complicated question, as each district has its own pay scale. There is no statewide pay scale. Each district negotiates with their teacher and/or administrator union, and publishes their pay scale as part of their "Negotiated Agreement".  Our page here explains the way districts are organized and how the union contracts are created:

Alaska's School Districts

You can search using "Alaska",  the name of the school district, and the term "Negotiated Agreement" to find just about every pay scale for educators in Alaska. There are exceptions, but not many. 

In fact, we have a search shortcut tutorial we have created for this purpose that you can modify with the correct school district name right here:

Search for Alaska School District Pay Scales - Add the name of the school district to narrow  your search here

I am certified in another state. Does Alaska have reciprocity?

Remember, ATP is part of the University of Alaska system in Fairbanks, not the Alaska Department of Education in Juneau. 

Alaska does not call it "reciprocity", but the short answer is "yes", if you are certified, and completed a pre-service teacher preparation program from an accredited school.  You will need what Alaska calls an "Initial Certificate", even if you are an experienced teacher, but they are easy to obtain for most teachers who have experience or a degree.  If you got a non-traditional or "emergency" certificate, you'll need to check more carefully about your specific situation.

We've done our best to pull together the latest information - which changes a bit each year - on the  ATP Getting Certified page.  As the page states pretty clearly, your best, most up-to-date source of this information is ALWAYS going to be the State of Alaska Department of Education's  Teacher Certification Office in Juneau.

I am a foreign national. Can I apply for Alaska teaching jobs?

Ah, another very common question. We created a separate page just to answer this one. The short answer is "Maybe" ;-)  The most common way to do this is with the J-1 Visa program explained on this page:

» Foreign Teachers Working in Alaska

However, you still have to find an Alaska district that is interested in hiring J-1 visa applicants. Districts are not required to do so, and it varies by severity of their needs in certain subject areas, the district administrator doing the hiring, and the school year.

Where can I find answers to my many, many questions about living and working in Alaska?

We strongly suggest that you post your general questions to the ATP Forum. There is a very helpful group of Alaska teachers, principals and other administrators, as well as some state education officials, who regularly answer questions there.

Don't forget that this forum is fully searchable and you can find lots of good advice from those who came before you. When YOU get to be an Alaskan teacher, please continue to assist those interested in learning about teaching in our state by contributing your experiences and advice.

Other Common Questions

Loan Forgiveness - Is it true that I can have all my loans paid off if I teach in Alaska?

A definite maybe! The basics are that there are very specific criteria that allow some teachers in low income schools to get part or all of their loans paid off. 

Most rural, and many urban Alaskan schools with low income populations are eligible for various teacher loan forgiveness incentives. There is a database of which schools qualify as "low income" by year. You can apply even if the service was in the past, not your present position.

There are very specific criteria that allow some teachers in low income schools to get part or all of their loans paid off. The rules vary by loan type, certification area, school, and number of years you teach there, but range from $5,000 to 100% of your teacher loans forgiven or cancelled.

Again, this is not just for new teachers. If you meet the listed Stafford or Perkins loan criteria, and taught in one of these schools, you should really check it out. The list that the U.S. TCLI folks keep goes back to 1998, and as long as you fill out the form, and have the Chief Administrative Officer of the district you worked for sign it, you may get some repayment help. You can get credit for service in eligible schools that you've worked in since 1998. It's pretty cool, and I don't know why this program isn't better known!

You will need persistence. All of these programs place the burden on YOU, the teacher to pursue the right forms from your bank servicing (which typically does not want you to pay off early), the student aid offices of the schools you were enrolled in at the time of the loan. You then have to track down the certifying official in the school district you worked for in those years, and get their signature. Many districts are not well versed in the program, but it's usually the HR Director, Business Manager or Superintendent who will need to sign.

The database you want is called the "Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory".  It lists each year the designated public and private nonprofit elementary and secondary schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education as having a high concentration of students from low-income families.

TCLI Directory Database

This is what the search screen looks like. You'll notice it is organized by year, and each year it changes.  You can specify the school district or school, but it's probably best to search it all and then look for the schools you want to find to avoid missing the correct info. This is because slight changes happen each year in how the data is listed or named based on the school officials or agency staff reporting the data.

TCLI Directory Search Screen - Alaska
Here are the results I got for the 2021 school year as an Excel spreadsheet I compiled....404 schools in Alaska qualify for the 2021 school year.  I have turned on filtering by school district name.

2021 TCLI High Needs School List - Excel spreadsheet example

In order - from best to worst in terms of amount forgiven - the loan forgiveness / cancellation programs are currently:

1) Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program

This one ROCKS. Almost all teachers in TCLI schools benefit, even during first two years, and you can have up to 100% "cancelled". Seriously.

2) The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP)

Between $5,000 (everyone) and $17,500 (Special Ed, HS Math & Science) of loans total can be forgiven if in TCLI qualified school with 30% or more poverty level, and you have a Direct loan or FFEL loan. Under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP), if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.

3) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

Aimed at public service employees of many types, not just educators, but school teachers do count. This program started in 2007, but criteria say that you have to have 120 on-time, full amount, monthly payments before any benefit can be had...which is ten years. ;-) That means that NOBODY got a penny until 2017. Then, it started to function with forgiveness. So, worth this is for sure worth tracking if you qualify, or even feel that you might down the road. Every year, of course, more will qualify by reaching the threshold of 120 qualifying loan payments. Also, there is a "Temporary Expanded" version (TEPSLF) if you you may have missed a few qualifying payments, but meet the other criteria.

Whether new to the state, or an old hand, you can use the database above to search by year for eligibility of the building you were working in, or will work in. The list does not change much year to year for rural Alaska, so although not a guarantee, it's likely that a school on the list year after year in the past will also be on the list if you go to work there.

Is there a list of schools that hire for summer school programs?

No, not really. Districts may post summer teaching opportunities on our site late in the spring, but they usually hire their own teachers on "extra duty" contracts to take these positions. These positions usually do not count toward retirement contributions, and the rate of pay varies.

Is it true that districts will pay for your relocation to Alaska?

Some with provide a stipend for moving expenses, but this really varies by district and by year.  The vast majority of districts will expect you to get yourself and your possessions up to Alaska on your own. They may or may not cover part of that cost with a bonus or stipend. However, some districts do pay for a teacher's ticket from Anchorage to the village you will teach in as part of their union contract, or will offer a stipend to help pay for some shipping.  It's worth asking about if you are finalist for a job, and don't see the information in the materials the district provides. 

What should I do about winter clothes?

We cover this topic on our Shopping Tips page. The short answer is that you buy some lightweight outdoor clothing that is good for parts of Alaska when you arrive in July or August, and then find out from other staff what sort of clothing is recommend. There are links to proven sources of winter clothing on the Shopping Tips page.