How to Become a Teacher in Alaska

Becoming a teacher in Alaska is a highly rewarding profession. Teaching will allow you to impact others in a highly significant way. However, it is important to know that there are guidelines and things you need to know before you can become a teacher in Alaska.

Choose What You Want to Teach

It is important to decide on what level or subject(s) you would like to teach. Would you like to focus on elementary school, middle school, high school, or special education? If you answered middle school or high school, the next question to ask would be about the subject you wish to teach. Your teaching certification will be based on the answer the these questions.

Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Alaska

In order to teach professionally in the state of Alaska, you must hold at a minimum, a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, you must complete a teacher preparation program. These programs will focus on whatever subject or area you will teach.

If you do not have a Bachelor's Degree yet, it is likely that you will be able to take part in a joint program, which blends together everything you need for a Bachelor's Degree and a teaching certificate. In other words, you will get your degree and complete a teacher preparation program at the same time. Ask your college advisor for more information about this and if this is an option for you. If this is not offered at your school, you can choose a major that focuses on whatever area you desire to teach.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

In order to receive certification, you must make sure the teacher preparation program has been accredited by CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), formerly NCATE and TEAC. As mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that you can blend together your Bachelor's Degree and your teacher preparation program.

Teacher preparation programs are generally made up of two different elements: fieldwork and curricula. You can expect to focus your studies on different types of subject-based teaching methods, theories, differentiated instructional strategies, technology integration, and more. You can also expect numerous field observations, reflections, student teaching, and/or internships to prepare you for your future as a teacher. Through completion of a teacher preparation program, you will show that you are highly skilled in the subject area that you plan to teach. As a future educator in Alaska, you must show mastery of general knowledge, education competence, and professional preparation.

If you already have a Bachelor's Degree, you can go through an alternative or post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. This will still lead to proper teacher certification. You could possibly even have the opportunity to take part in a joint Master's Degree program. Ask a school advisor if this is a possibility at your university.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Alaska

There are several alternative routes to teacher certification in Alaska. Most routes will let you teach under a temporary teacher certification and eventually will become a professional certificate.

Teaching Certificate in Another State

Are you certified to teach in another state? If so, note that Alaska is only able to provide about a third of its annual demand for teachers from in-state university teacher preparation programs. With that said, many teachers are recruited from other parts of the country. If you are certified to teach in a state other than Alaska, you will most likely be able to teach in Alaska.

Keep in mind that in order to become fully certified in Alaska, you must meet the Alaska basic competency examination requirement. If you have an out of state credential and have passed the testing requirements, you will receive a two-year certificate. However, if you have not met the testing requirement, you will have one year to complete it.

Alaska Transition to Teaching

In order to apply for the Alaska Transition to Teaching program, interested candidates should already hold a Bachelor's Degree. The degree should be from an accredited college or university and the candidate's cumulative GPA must be at least 2.5. The candidate must also pass the Praxis Core (I) exam and clear an official background check. To qualify for initial teacher certification in Alaska, the Praxis II (subject-matter competency test) must also be passed in the candidate's content area. Lastly, candidates will need to spend time student-teaching or interning under an experienced mentor teacher in order to complete

Pass the Required Tests for Alaska

If you want to become a teacher in Alaska, there will be some tests that you will need to pass first.

Basic Skills Test for Teachers

There is a basic competency test that will show your knowledge for general skills. You can fulfill this requirement by taking one of the following approved basic competency exams: PRAXIS I (CORE), CBEST, or PPST (Pre Professional Skills Test).

Subject Tests for Teachers

In addition, you must satisfactorily complete any Subject Area Competence assessments needed for your desired area of instruction. The PRAXIS II subjects test can be taken in your specialty area to show subject matter competence.

Check with a school advisor to find out the specific requirements for the tests that are needed for you to become professionally qualified to teach in Alaska.

Apply for your Alaska Teacher Certification

Application Requirements

When you apply for certification in the state of Alaska, the Department of Education will require you, as a future educator, to submit these forms and documentations:

  • Complete application form (initial application form)
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Official assessment scores
  • Official college transcript(s)
  • Copies of out of state teaching certificates (if applicable)

Contact Information

Alaska Department of Education
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
Phone: (907) 465-2800

Find a Teaching Job in Alaska

You are now ready to start your career as a teacher in Alaska! It is important to remember to be patient and persistent, as this process could take some time.

The state of Alaska has some areas of growth that require certified teachers for approximately 400 roles across the state.

Alaska Teacher Placement

Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP), which is affiliated with the University of Alaska, targets citizens in the state as well as those in more other states to live and teach in Alaska.

NEA-Alaska

Teachers can find support through then NEA-Alaska.. It services Alaska's 12,000 teachers, as well as the city branches in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. The NEA-Alaska was founded in 1922 and serves "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of education in the Territory of Alaska."

Teaching at Private Schools in Alaska

In addition to Alaska's public elementary and secondary schools, there over 70 private schools throughout the state, serving 6,757 students. These schools tend to be predominantly Christian or Catholic, and teacher to student ratio is around 1:12.

Alaska Teachers Retirement System (TRS)

Alaska's teachers are also eligible to participate in the Alaska Teachers' Retirement System (TRS). Given the unique geography and winter hardships of the region, one of the goals of the TRS is to attract qualified teachers by offering a variety of benefits to teacher-members and surviving spouses. The benefits offered are designed to give members financial security during retirement.

Teacher Shortage in Alaska by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in Alaska has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education

Number of Public School Teachers By Grade

The table below lists the number of public school teachers in Alaska by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers134
Kindergarten Teachers441
Elementary Teachers3,615
Middle & High School Teachers3,491

Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013

Number of Private School Teachers By Grade

There are more than 50 private schools with an estimated 400 private school teachers in Alaska. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Elementary School Teachers129
Middle & High School Teachers10
Combined K-12 School Teachers246

Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012

Continue Your Education and Professional Development

Quality professional development for teaching staff includes a meaningful evaluation of actual teaching practice and support of performance and growth in the classroom. The goals of educator professional development are to improve the lives and performance of every student who enters the classroom, regardless of their needs and abilities.

Professional Development in Alaska

In the state of Alaska, professional development is facilitated through the Alaska Staff Development Network which manages and facilitates a diverse variety of development opportunities through all venues, including comprehensive webinars. The state of Alaska has a number of partnerships through which teachers can develop their practice. Among them are Alaska Administrator Coaching Project, Rural Alaska Principal Preparation and Support, Graduation & Academic Improvement for Native Students (GAINS), and Accelerating Learning for Alaska Native Students (ALANS).

Alaska teachers that are seeking professional development opportunities relevant to their practice should contact their school administration, district, or state board of education in order to ensure that PD meets approved criteria.

Employment and Teacher Salary in Alaska

The state of Alaska's average starting wage for teachers is $44,166, partially to compensate for the unique geographical elements that teachers may have to endure. On a national level, there is much demand for teachers with all sorts of credentials at all levels - in Alaska, however emphasis is placed on bicultural sensitivity and bilingualism. Having credentials in languages or STEM subjects may entitle candidates to apply for teacher's loan forgiveness. Key areas of need in the state are Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, and Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

Total Employed

3,350

Salary Range

$56,630 - $96,360

Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $56,630 to $96,360 a year in Alaska. There are around three thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.

Elementary School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage1,560$67,780

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)

Total Employed

110

Salary Range

$76,650 - $104,800

English teachers have a salary range between $76,650 to $104,800 a year in Alaska, with over 110 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.

Total Employed

2,140

Salary Range

$59,070 - $94,640

As a high school teacher in Alaska you can expect to make between $59,070 - $94,640. There are around two thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.

High School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage830$67,830

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)

Total Employed

310

Salary Range

$53,080 - $90,020

Kindergarten teachers in Alaska, can earn between $53,080 to $90,020 a year. There are around 310 employed kindergarten teachers. Read about what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher.

Kindergarten Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage40-

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Kindergarten Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2012)

Total Employed

7,600

Salary Range

$53,080 - $115,820

As a math teacher in Alaska you can expect to make between $53,080 - $115,820. Alaska is home to about seven thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.

Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage40$78,600

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1022)

Total Employed

420

Salary Range

$35,000 - $58,720

P.e. teachers have a salary range between $35,000 to $58,720 a year in Alaska. Alaska is home to about 420 p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.

Coaches and Scouts
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage320$42,500
Fairbanks40$42,330

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)

Total Employed

740

Salary Range

$29,190 - $51,400

In Alaska, a preschool teacher's salary may range from $29,190 to $51,400, with over 740 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.

Preschool Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage410$34,340
Fairbanks70$36,890

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

Total Employed

730

Salary Range

$42,980 - $123,230

As a school administrator in Alaska you can expect to make between $42,980 - $123,230. Alaska is home to about 730 school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage70$52,380

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)

Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage220$97,660

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)

Total Employed

570

Salary Range

$53,130 - $96,550

School counselors in Alaska, can earn between $53,130 to $96,550 a year, with over 570 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage240-
Fairbanks110$75,920

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)

Total Employed

310

Salary Range

$53,940 - $91,880

School librarians have a salary range between $53,940 to $91,880 a year in Alaska. Alaska is home to about 310 school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.

Librarians
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage160$70,140
Fairbanks30$77,600

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)

Total Employed

1,470

Salary Range

$50,570 - $97,280

In Alaska, a special education teacher's salary may range from $50,570 to $97,280. Alaska is home to about a thousand special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?

Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage320$61,340

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)

Total Employed

1,900

Salary Range

$34,710 - $68,520

In Alaska, a substitute teacher's salary may range from $34,710 to $68,520. Alaska is home to about a thousand substitute teachers. Read about what it takes to become a substitute teacher.

Substitute Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage530$39,460

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Substitute Teachers (SOC Code: 25-3098)

Total Employed

3,960

Salary Range

$28,920 - $51,990

In Alaska, a teaching assistant's salary may range from $28,920 to $51,990. There are around three thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?

Teacher Assistants
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Anchorage1,700$36,010
Fairbanks290$34,760

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)

Top School Districts Supporting Teachers in Alaska

homepage_badge_topTeachers work hard every day and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in Alaska that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. 13 school districts in Alaska were analyzed with the top 5 school districts being featured below. The school districts were scored on several factors which represent how well a school district supports their teachers.

For more information on school district rankings, see our methodology page: http://www.teacher.org/school-district-ranking-methodology.

Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 100
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 100
% Proficiency Score: 56.13

Located in northwestern Alaska in the city of Unalakleet, Bering Strait School District employs 179 classroom teachers from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, often in multi-age classrooms. Those teachers educate 1,867 students throughout 15 schools in remote communities of the region. Bering Strait School District has a student teacher ratio of 10:1, which enables teaching staff to educate children to become independent citizens and leaders who will honor their heritage while being successful in the 21st century global community. Learn more by visiting the Bering Strait School District website at bssd.org.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 1,000-2,000 Students
  • > 150 Total Support Staff
  • 46.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 72.88
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 80.52
% Proficiency Score: 93.33

Located in Alaska's southernmost region, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District provides education to more than 2,200 students via 147 teachers in 10 schools throughout the district. With a student-teacher ratio of approximately 15:1, Ketchikan's teachers are empowered to provide the best quality of instruction to each student, within a positive learning environment that reflects the needs of the community. Learn more by visiting the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District website at kgbsd.org.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 2,000-3,000 Students
  • > 100 Total Support Staff
  • 77.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 84.95
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 65.71
% Proficiency Score: 94.42

Sitka School District is based in coastal Sitka, Alaska and services the city and surrounding region. Altogether the district employs approximately 103 classroom teachers to educate 1,321 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 in its 6 schools. Sitka School District's values embody those of the larger community and work to help students realize their potential and contribute to their communities and our society. Learn more by visiting the Sitka School District website at sitkaschools.org.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 1,000-2,000 Students
  • > 50 Total Support Staff
  • 78.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 72.86
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 61.38
% Proficiency Score: 100

Located on the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District serves more than 20 communities throughout the region. With 43 elementary, middle and high schools, the district has an enrolment of over 8,900 students from preschool to grade 12, and employs more than 600 classroom teachers. Kenai Peninsula schools report a student-teacher ratio of about 15:1, which ensures that to teachers and administrators, Kenai Peninsula is a district where kids come first. Learn more by visiting the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District website at kpbsd.k12.ak.us.

District Details
  • > 500 FTE Teachers
  • 5000-10,000 Students
  • > 300 Total Support Staff
  • 83.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 61.59
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 77.17
% Proficiency Score: 95.17

Based in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District operates 35 elementary, middle and secondary schools through the borough. The district enrols more than 14,000 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, and employs more than 800 classroom teachers to instruct them. With a student-teacher ratio of about 18:1, Fairbanks North Star teachers are dedicated to ensuring excellence and equity for all. Learn more by visiting the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District website at k12northstar.org.

District Details
  • > 500 FTE Teachers
  • 10,000-25,000 Students
  • > 500 Total Support Staff
  • 79.0 Avg % Proficiency

Continued List of School Districts in Alaska

RankingSchool DistrictSchoolsTeachersOverall Score
#6 Juneau School District1430477.88
#7 Kodiak Island Borough School District1515877.25
#8 Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District4589472.29
#9 Anchorage School District972,90371.45
#10 North Slope Borough School District1116270.19
#11 Northwest Allen County Schools District1313167.01
#12 Lower Yukon School District1114764.43
#13 Lower Kuskokwim School District2829157.26

Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey