Learn About Teaching & Teacher Licensing in Arkansas

Teaching in Arkansas

teaching-usa-arkansas-teacherTeaching is one of the most challenging careers of all. Students across Arkansas need smart, compassionate teachers who can give them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world. That’s why local school districts look for dynamic teachers like you to help our kids excel.

If you feel the call of this noble profession, you’ll first need to get a teaching license. Keep reading to learn how to become a teacher in Arkansas.

Traditional Routes to Certification in Arkansas

Most teachers in Arkansas take the traditional route to teacher certification. This is a great option for college students who already know they want to become teachers. If you’d like to become a teacher, make sure to select a college or university that is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Typically, the traditional route includes the following:

  • Courses focusing on how to teach your desired grade levels—elementary, middle- or high school
  • Specialty courses in your subject area, such as math or special education
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Student Teaching, so that you can practice what you’ve learned

Non-Traditional Routes to Certification in Arkansas

There are also many other ways to get a teaching certificate in Arkansas. Some non-traditional approaches include the following:

Get a Master’s Degree in Education

If you already have an undergraduate degree, you can go back to school for a master’s degree such as an M.Ed. or EdS. This will let you to teach in a classroom as you complete your coursework, and will give you advantages over teachers who only have a bachelor’s degree.

Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure (APPEL)

To take advantage of this non-traditional route, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, but you don’t need a degree in teacher education. Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure will let you teach while you complete your degree.

What You’ll Do in the APPEL Program

  • Employment as a classroom teacher
  • Student Assessment
  • State-approved teacher evaluation
  • Instructional modules offered both in-person and online
  • Mentoring
  • Final submission to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Once you finish your APPEL training, you’ll receive the same teaching certificate as people who go through a traditional route. If you want to get into a classroom without having to work through a master’s-level program, this is an excellent opportunity to get a start in the profession.

Accelerated Route to Certification

If you already have a degree in another area but now feel the call to teach, there are accelerated teacher-certification programs that are just right for you. These routes are similar to the Professional Pathway above, but with a few interesting twists:

  • Arkansas Teacher Corps: once your application is accepted, you will work in a 3-year position for a high-need district. Any major or background is accepted.
  • Teach for America: This federally funded program places aspiring teachers in low-income urban or rural schools for at least 2 years.
  • American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE): this independent-study, online program takes between 7-10 months and may be the fastest route to teacher certification. It’s a good idea to work as a substitute teacher while you do the ABCTE program to get hands-on teaching experience.

Other Paths to Certification

If you want to become a teacher, Arkansas provides plenty of other ways to get a teaching certificate to meet your particular needs.

Provisional Professional Teaching License

A provisional license offers a non-renewable license to teach younger kids in grades 4 through 8 or secondary students in grades 7 through 12. To get a provisional teaching license, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree with a 2.7 or better GPA.
  • Three years of professional experience in your chosen subject area.
  • Statement showing how your experience applies. For example, you may need to show how your career in finance relates to teaching math.
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Passing score on the Praxis CORE or an equivalent exam such as the GRE or SAT.
  • Passing score on the Praxis II in your content area.
  • Clear a background check.

Reciprocity

Teachers can get a reciprocal teaching license in Arkansas if they are certified to teach in another state. To get a reciprocal certificate, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Send official transcripts from your college, a copy of your current or expired teaching credentials, and verification of one of the following: 3 years of licensed teaching experience, basic skills for your license, or National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification.
  • Submit a background check:   mail the ASP and FBI criminal history forms to the Arkansas State Police. All fees for the State Police and FBI forms must be paid, and a child maltreatment check must be cleared through the Department of Human Services.
  • Teachers from other countries must prove that they are eligible to work in the United States, have their transcripts approved by an agency authorized by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), and pass an ADE-approved assessment of English-Language skills, or TOFL.

Testing Out

Just as some students can test out of certain courses, teachers can test out of certain areas at their licensure level, or one level above or below. There are exceptions, and educators cannot test out of the following areas:

  • Special Education
  • Exceptional Area Endorsements
  • Adult Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Supervision or Ancillary Student Services

Source: Arkansas Department of Education

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