Once you decide that Alaska is right for you, it’s time to start preparing for a teaching job. Before you start applying, however, you need to make sure that you are a certified teacher and are Highly Qualified according to the state of Alaska.
Next, you need to start the process of becoming certified to teach in Alaska. I sent in my application for certification as soon as I knew I wanted to teach in Alaska. This was months before I had secured a teaching position. The reason you want to apply sooner than later is because the application process can take several months. If you’re hired and do not have an Alaska teaching certificate, you will not get paid. Better safe than sorry.
If you’ve never taught in Alaska before, you’ll need to complete an Alaska Initial Teacher Certification .
Once you download your application, follow these 10 steps:
1. Get a cup of tea, sit down in a comfortable spot, and read all the way through the application. There are many steps in this process you need to absorb. Don’t be overwhelmed! You’ll get it all done.
2. During the first read, figure out what type of Initial Certificate you need. You can find out what kind you need to apply for on page 4.
3. Now you’re ready to get out your pencil and start making some tangible progress! Start filling out your information on page 3. Keep referring back to pages 1 and 2 for specific directions regarding certain sections of the application.
4. Pages 3-6 are pretty self-explanatory. The only part that was confusing for me was the second part of the Record of Training on the top of page 5. Here, you need to list the colleges/universities where you will complete the Alaska Studies and Multicultural Communications coursework. Once you obtain your Initial Teacher Certificate, you will have 2 years to complete these courses. For this section, simply find one Alaska Study Course and one Multicultural Communications Course. These do not have to be the courses you will take in the future; the folks at EED Teacher Certification just want to know you’re aware of your obligation to finish the courses within the next two years after you’re hired.
5. When you get to the bottom of page 6, you’ll see directions for how to complete a fingerprint card. Read these directions very carefully! If your fingerprint card isn’t filled out correctly, your application will not be processed. Here are directions for filling out a fingerprint card and here is a picture of a completed fingerprint card for reference.
*I was living abroad when I got my fingerprints done. I had to download a fingerprint card and print it out on white cardstock before finding a police station that would roll my fingerprints. I was worried that this wouldn’t be legitimate, but my fingerprint card processed just fine.
6. You must pay a fee of $185.00 (application fee + fingerprint card processing fee). Although I’m usually wary, I paid via credit card by writing my credit card number in the application. If you don’t want to do this, you can pay with a cashier’s check or with a money order. You cannot pay with a personal check.
7. If you are applying for the Initial 2-year/3-year Certification, you’ll have to obtain original test scores from an approved Basic Competency Exam (such as the Praxis I or the West-B).
8. You will also have to obtain an Institutional Recommendation to verify that you’ve completed a teacher education program (see pages 13-14 of the application). Both of these documents must be included in the envelope you send to EED Teacher Certification.
*Other options include getting a State Recommendation or a Foreign Recommendation depending on your circumstances. Check page 8 of the application to be sure.
9. As you’ll see on page 7, you need to obtain and include official transcripts from your college or university.
10. Finally, you’ll need to find a notary public or a postmaster to witness and verify your signature (on page 9) and approve it with a signature and a stamp/seal.
*The 10 steps listed above apply to most new Alaska teachers applying for the standard 2-year and 3-year Initial Application. However, please double check the Requirements Checklist on pages 7 and 8 to make sure you fill out the application according to your qualifications.
Phew! I’ll quote dozens of teachers I’ve had in the past and say, “Give yourself a pat on the back!” After you’ve secured all of your documents in a sturdy manila envelope, send your completed packet to:
Teacher Education & Certification
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
You will most likely wait 2-4 months to receive your certification. Before your certificate is processed, you will receive a “yellow card” from EED Teacher Certification in the mail. The “yellow card” is only a receipt acknowledging that your materials have been received. Although obtaining a “yellow card” makes a great impression on school districts when applying, you cannot get paid until you have a valid, approved Alaska teaching certificate.
To do more research on your own, visit the EED Teacher Certification website:http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/
Or you can visit the ATP website:
Last, if you have any specific questions, the personnel at EED Teacher Certification are very helpful. Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck!