Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Arkansas

Arkansas’ Early Childhood Education Scene

Arkansas, the “Natural State”, is also known for having a strong education system. It is ranked fifth in the nation according to Education Week’s 2013 annual national rankings, earning an overall state grade of “B-“. It received “A” marks in Standards, Assessments, and Accountability, as well as Transitions and Alignment. Arkansas also earned a place among the top 10 states in 2013 for its state preschool program, due to its investment in providing high-quality early childhood education to as many students as possible. There is a vast range of opportunities for those interested in a career in early childhood education in the state of Arkansas.

* Rasmussen College, School of Education offers Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs at two levels to meet the needs of early childhood educators at any stage of their career: A 9-month ECE Certificate for those just getting started, or a Bachelor’s in ECE Leadership for those ready to advance their careers by moving into administration.

* The Online Master's in Early Childhood Education from Capella's NCATE-accredited professional education unit will prepare you to effectively engage young students in the pre-K setting. With the option to focus on special education or classroom supervision, Capella's Master’s in Early Childhood Education is designed with the modern pre-K classroom in mind.

* The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at the USC Rossier School of Education is designed for aspiring K-12 teachers looking to gain the skills and knowledge needed to become great teachers and help all students succeed. This teacher preparation program also prepares candidates to be recommended for a teaching credential.

Obtaining Arkansas Teaching Credentials

The Arkansas Department of Education provides extensive information about obtaining 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 routes to licensure available in the state of Arkansas:
  • Traditional Educator Preparation Program Route: for individuals who have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program in Arkansas.
  • Professional Pathway Route: for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. It allows them to work as a full-time teacher while completing the necessary requirements.
  • Non-Traditional MAT, MED, MTLL Route: for individuals who are completing a master’s degree or earning full educator licensure. It allows them to work as a full-time teacher while completing their coursework.
  • Non-Traditional Teach for America Route: for individuals enrolled in the Teach for America program.
  • Provisional Professional Teaching Route: for individuals who are experienced professionals but lack teaching credentials. It allows part-time or full-time employment as a teacher-of-record.
Out-of-state or out-of-country applicants will need to follow the directions outlined to receive licensure by reciprocity. To apply, applicants must submit an educator licensure application, along with other required documents, including a background check, Praxis scores, transcripts and more. The licensure fees can be paid online, by money order, or by a cashier’s check made out to the Arkansas Department of Education. Please contact the Office of Educator Licensure, should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.

Arkansas’ Colleges for Early Childhood Education Degrees

There are over 20 early childhood education degree programs in Arkansas.

is the flagship campus of many universities within the University of Arkansas system. It offers bachelor’s degrees in childhood education and elementary education, as well as a variety of master’s and doctoral options. Other schools within the University of Arkansas system offer similar degrees, as well.

is a private Christian university focused on the liberal arts. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education and middle or adolescence education. Master’s degree options are also available.

is a public liberal-arts university with Methodist roots. It offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, as well as a variety of master’s degree options.

is a private Christian college that offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, along with a master’s degree option.

Searching for Teaching Jobs in Arkansas

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field. Public schools employ the vast majority of career seekers in early childhood education. Teachers-Teachers.com Arkansas is a free service that lists open positions in Arkansas school districts. Users may create online resumes, browse job opportunities, submit applications, and interact with employers. 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.

Teacher Organizations in Arkansas

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Arkansas sharing similar visions. The Arkansas Education Association (AEA) aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It provides a variety of great benefits that can be viewed here. The organization is proudly 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 Central Arkansas Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It strives to help children from birth through age eight, as well as their families. The organization 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 Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (ACTELA), Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ACTM), Arkansas Science Teachers Association (ASTA) and Arkansas Council for the Social Studies (ACSS).

Top Arkansas Education Bloggers and News

The THV11 education news section covers hot topics, issues, and events in Arkansas schools, as does the Web School Pro education section. Arkansas teachers also share insights and information through their personal blogs. Mrs. Weimer’s Class was created by a kindergarten teacher who displays pictures of her students engaged in interesting activities. Mrs. Lawrence’s Little Learners, maintained by a National Board-certified kindergarten teacher with 15 years of experience, shares classroom ideas with other teachers. Starring in First Grade is written by a first-grade teacher with an interest in special education who tells about her unique classroom experiences.
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