Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Alaska
Alaska’s Early Childhood Education Scene
Alaska, the largest U.S. state, known for its rugged beauty, ranks on the lower end of the spectrum according to many educational categories. It ranked 47th in the nation for education and received the overall state grade of “C-” in Education Week’s 2013 national rankings. It earned its highest mark of “B-” in the category of School Finance. In 2007, Alaska was one of 12 states that did not offer publicly funded preschool services. However, as of 2013, the state does provide supplemental funds to the Head Start program to increase state-wide access. Overall, Alaska is in need of passionate teachers to support growth in education throughout the state for students.
Alaska Teaching Credentials
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.
There are several different types of certificates available to teachers in Alaska. Typical ones are as follows:
- Initial Teacher Certificate: for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an in-state or out-of-state school. There are five types of Initial Teacher Certificates based on the applicant’s education and experience.
- Professional Teacher Certificate: for individuals who have at least two years of teaching experience or hold an Initial Teacher Certificate in addition to a variety of other requirements.
- Master Teacher Certificate: for individuals who meet all the requirements for the Professional Certificate, hold a current Initial or Professional Certificate, and have earned National Board Certification.
- Type E Early Childhood Certificate: for those who help in preschools or as instructional aides that have received a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) or completed a 30-credit college or associate program in early childhood education.
- Type M Limited Certificate: for those who do not hold a bachelor’s degree but are qualified in Alaskan native languages or culture, military science or a vocational/technical course.
- Limited Type I Certificate for Instruction Aides: for current instructional aides who would like to work towards full teacher certification.
To apply, submit the appropriate application along with the other required documents. Please see the Teacher Certification FAQ page or contact the licensing department should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.
Alaska’s ECE Degree Programs
There are a few early childhood education degree programs in Alaska.
is a four-year research university and is the largest school in the state. It offers bachelor’s degrees and post-baccalaureate degrees in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (K through six). A variety of master’s degree options are also available.
has a small student-faculty ratio. It offers an undergraduate certificate in early childhood education and an associate degree in early childhood development. It also offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood (pre-K through three) and elementary education (pre-K through six), as well as post-baccalaureate certificates in both areas. A variety of master’s degree options are also available.
is a liberal arts school with three campuses across the state. It offers a bachelor’s degree elementary education (K through eight) as well as a post-baccalaureate degree and master’s degree in elementary education (K through eight).
Teaching Jobs in Alaska
There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.
Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. Visit the Alaska Teacher Placement page to view open positions by map, district, or category. You will also find directions about how to apply, information about job fairs as well as contact support.
Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.
Alaska’s Professional Groups for Teachers
There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Alaska that share similar visions.
The National Education Association-Alaska (NEAA) aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It has over 12,000 members and 67 local associations. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.
The Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children (AAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It strives to help children ages zero through eight, as well as their families. The organization has three local affiliates and is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.
There are also a variety of organizations for teachers based on specific areas of interest, including the Alaska Science Teachers Association (ASTA) or the Alaska Council of Teachers of Mathematics (AKCTM).
Alaska Education Bloggers
The Alaska Dispatch covers hot topics, issues, and events in Alaska’s schools, as does the Anchorage Daily News education blog. A few Alaska teachers also share insights and information through their personal blogs.
Teaching Wild Alaska is written by a kindergarten teacher who shares her adventures of teaching in the Alaskan bush.
Floating Through First Grade is maintained by a first-grade teacher who shares a variety of resources for early elementary teachers.
Live Teach Alaska is operated by a teacher of grades K through two, who documents her experiences for prospective Alaskan teachers.