Alaska Teacher Placement
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Getting Certified

Teacher and administrator certification is more complicated than it appears in most states, and Alaska is no exception. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) Teacher Certification Office has an excellent web portal now compared to even a few years ago.  This includes a new, totally online certification and renewal process. 

The new Program Administrator, Colleen Walker, and her small staff are extremely helpful for new-to-Alaska educators, and not the usual bureaucrats found in many states. This is the office that should be your first stop in the teacher certification process, and the final word in all things related to requirements, application processes, fees and help with understanding what you need to do to get certified before you begin work.

Teacher Education and Certification Office
Alaska Dept. of Education & Early Development
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
(907) 465-2831

The Alaska DEED site also includes a page with live processing status tracking information so that certification applicants, as well as current educators applying for renewal,  can know how busy DEED staff are, what applications are being currently processed,  and the most recent information regarding related regulations and training resources.

The new Educator Application & Certification Hub Alaska (TEACH-AK) is an online certification system where existing certificate holders can view, download and print active certificates through the applicant dashboard. Certificate renewals, extensions and new applications will all take place within TEACH AK.  There is one-time registration process required for all potential, new and existing Alaska educators.

Important Note: Paper applications will no longer be accepted or processed.

Alaska Teacher Certification Office - Juneau

This section of our website is only meant to provide an general overview of the process and requirements. 

Oh, sure, 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.

This Important Point Right Here  Important: You need to get specific certification questions answered from Alaska DEED!

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 $60 Fingerprint Fee.  (Verified 5/29/24)

Likewise, nearly every type of certificate requires either a State-Approved Program Verification form, or Program Enrollment form from the DEED website. Programs must include a program of study, and a period supervised clinical practice. These documents replace what used to be called the "Institutional Recommendation".   (Verified 5/29/24)

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 have an endorsement based upon completion of an approved teacher training program in Special Education.

The main teacher certification types are as follows:

  • Initial Teacher Certificates This means your first teaching certificate in Alaska, not in other locations. Nearly all teachers new to the state, regardless of experience elsewhere, will start here. Nearly all of these require the completion of an accredited pre-service teacher preparation program. There are several types, depending on your qualifications.
    • Initial/Two-Year, Three-Year - It's a two-year certificate, really, that requires a passing Basic Competency Exam (BCE) score. Renewable for one additional year in some cases.  Usually gives you two years to do AK and MC credits.
    • Initial/Out-of-State - This is a one-year certificate for those with active teacher certificates / endorsements in other US states and territories. In some cases, it can be extended for two (2) one-year terms. Also requires passing BCE score.
    • Initial / Program Enrollment - One-year certificate, but renewable for two (2) one-year terms in some cases. Requires current enrollment in an approved teacher preparation program. Must already have a passing BCE score. The program you are enrolled in can't be in Special Education, sorry, and must be completed within two (2) years of the issuance of the Initial certificate.  They will check on your progress each year with transcripts to make sure you are on track.
    • Second Initial Teacher Certificate - This is a fairly complicated, three-year certificate that is unlikely to apply to teachers new to Alaska, and relatively few who have taught in the state. Basically, if all of the requirements for a Professional certificate (below) are met, with the exception of the two years of teaching experience & the content area exam, an applicant may apply for a Second Initial certificate instead of a Professional certificate.
    • Professional Teacher Certificate - A five-year certificate for teachrs who have already had an Initial Certificate of some type, two-years experience, have passed some form of BCE.
    • Master Teacher Certificate - Teachers who have passed the National Board exams ( NBPTS), and met the other requirements for a Professional Teacher Certificate, may apply for a 10-year Master Teacher Certificate
    • Type B Administrative Certificate - This is a five-year certificate that requires at least three years of certified teaching or special services work. The requirements for a Type B certificate in general are very similar in most other ways, and require completion of the AK and MC course requirements.  There is requirement for a Basic Competency Area or Content Area exam. There are several types, however, so we recommend you check on which administrative certificate is best for you.This is a screen shot of the certification application instructions, and sums up the testing and content area exam / endorsement relationship better than I can, are part of the official language Alaska EED use.

New Alaska Basic Competency Exam
& Content Area Exam details

Mandatory Training Modules

Since June, 2017, all teachers who have never been certified in Alaska or another state, as well as those applying for renewal of their license have been required to prove satisfactory completion of training in four new areas.

Training must address the following areas:
  • Sexual abuse awareness and prevention (AS 14.30.355)
  • Suicide awareness and prevention (AS 14.30.362)
  • Alcohol or drug related disabilities (AS 14.20.680)
  • Dating violence awareness and prevention (AS 14.30.356)
Applicants applying for the following certificates are exempt from the mandatory training requirement:
  • Initial Teacher Out-of-State
  • Initial Teacher Proof-of-Program Enrollment
  • Initial Teacher/Administrator/Special Services Reemployment

Applicants who are applying for an exempt certificate will need to satisfy the mandatory training requirement when they apply for their Second Initial, Professional, or Master certificates in the future.

Only trainings approved by an Alaska public school district or the Department of Education & Early Development (DEED) will satisfy this requirement. Trainings offered by universities and other organizations must be approved by DEED.

Although some other forms of training can be applied to this requirement if documented in application process, the training e-modules provided by the state are free to take online. Full details and links to the training modules and the form for proof of completion can be found here:

Alaska Department of Education - Mandatory Trainings

Certified in Another State?

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?

Answer: Both No and Yes!   Right now, it is 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 currently 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.New! In December 3, 2022, however, SB 20 - which Governor Dunleavy signed -  will go into effect, and  it does allow direct reciprocity with Lower 48 states and US Territories.  Learn more on

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 Teacher certificate.  It will reflect the certification area of your initial certification.   This certificate is non-renewable, and you must next apply for a Professional certificate.

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 Teacher Certificate.

Alternative Routes to Teaching

The Initial / Program Enrollment certificate is not designed as an "alternative certification", but for a small number of people who meet a very specific set of criteria, it could theoretically function as such. The intent seems to be more for allowing people who already have an actual job offer from a district, extensive life experience in certain areas, and a Bachelor's degree in another subject to be able to work and get paid as a teacher while enrolled in a traditional university teacher preparation program. Applicants would also have to meet all the other requirements for certification, such as showing passing test scores on both the Basic Competency and Content Area Exam assessments in the subject to be taught. It specifically prohibits Special Education as a subject area, and has strict progress monitoring time lines.

Program Enrollment - Initial

Finally, Emergency Teacher and Administrator Certificates were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic as a tool for DISTRICTS to request a person with an Associates Degree or higher, and who meet specific criteria, be allowed to work for a single academic year in role normally requiring a normal certificate.

Note:> These can't be applied for by candidates. Districts are required to initiate this process, complete assurance forms, and meet other criteria.

Distrtict-Requested Emergency

Retired Alaska Teacher Lifetime Certificates

Anyone who retired from teaching while holding a valid Alaska teaching certificate will qualify to apply for the Retired certificate. This is a lifetime credential, and does not require fingerprinting or recency credits, but does require the usual certification fee ($200) to be paid.  You are not required to hold a current Alaska teaching certificate in order to be eligible for the Retired certificate.  Retired Certificate holders can work up to 120-day short term assignments, and get paid at a certified rate,  but can't accept a full-time position.   See the required form for details.

Retired (Lifetime) Certificates

If you are a retired teacher, and are flexible with your plans, Alaska now keeps a list of substitute teachers available on short notice for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.  Unexpected openings happen every school year due to teacher illnesses, pregnancies, family emergencies and so on.  ATP tries to help by keeping a ready list of substitutes separate from the normal Applitrack job bank.

Some positions are Short-term Substitute (STS) positions for just a few weeks, while others are Long-term Substitute (LTS) positions that might be a month or a semester in length. This is not only a great way to keep your teaching skills sharp, or practice newly acquired skills, but it's also a great way to see some of the most unique villages left in North America while getting paid, and making yourself known to district leadership staff. Substitutes often earn the support of a thankful school district, and get called back regularly for temporary duty.

If you are interested in being considered, this form gets you set up and "on the list"!  Questions? Contact Toni at

ATP Substitute List Registration - Flexible? This supplements your ATP Applitrack File!

Troops to Teachers (TTT)

The Troops to Teachers program has provided counseling, financial assistance and scholarships to armed forces members wishing work as teachers in K-12 schools.

After being after being canceled on October 1, 2020,  the program was reauthorized on December 27, 2021, via the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, but never received the funds. The program maintains a website with more information, and has been operating with a minimal budget through the Military-Civilian Transition Office. Contact them directly for more information.

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 was also provided, such as:

» 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  fill out the TTT Program Interest Form for more information as it becomes available.

Other Specialty Areas

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.