Table of Contents

  1. Application Process
    1. What is the yellow postcard?
    2. How long does it take for the Teacher Certification Office to process a certification application?
    3. What forms of payment will the Teacher Certification Office not accept?
    4. What forms of payment are accepted by the Teacher Certification Office?
    5. What is the cost of a teaching, administrative, or special service provider's Initial certificate in Alaska?
    6. Where can I find a notary?
    7. What are the types of teaching certificates issued by the State of Alaska?
    8. Where can I find the application for an Initial teaching certificate?
  2. Basic Competency Exam
    1. What are the passing scores for the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators(CASE)?
    2. If I don't have passing scores on a basic competency exam (i.e. Praxis I) can I still qualify for an Initial teaching certificate?
    3. What are the passing scores for the CBEST exam?
    4. What tests are accepted to meet the basic competency requirement for certification?
    5. Can I combine section scores from different basic competency examinations to create a set of passing scores?
    6. What are the passing scores for the individual sections of the Praxis I?
  3. Certification Requirements
    1. Does a district have the authority to employ an individual certified with only a Type C Special Service Provider Certificate to teach a class?
    2. What certificate(s) and endorsement(s) are required for an individual to be employed as a district's Director of Special Education?
  4. Coursework
    1. Can I apply for Alaska certification without having taken the required Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural coursework?
    2. Where can I find the approved courses that satisfy the Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural certification requirements?
  5. Fingerprint Card
    1. I live in rural Alaska. Where can I get my fingerprints rolled?
    2. Does Alaska accept live scan fingerprint cards?
    3. I have recently had a background check completed in another state. Am I still required to submit a fingerprint card with my application?
    4. What fields on the fingerprint card or FD-258 must be filled in prior to submitting it to the Teacher Certification Office?
    5. What does the FD-258 fingerprint card look like?
    6. What kind of fingerprint card is accepted by Alaska?
    7. I don't live in Alaska. Where can I get my fingerprints rolled?
    8. I'm renewing my teaching certificate. Do I need to submit a fingerprint card with my application?
  6. Out of state applicant
    1. I have a valid out-of-state teaching certificate. Can I teach in an Alaska public school with just my out-of-state teaching certificate?
    2. I am certified to teach in another state and have been teaching for a number of years. Should I apply for an Initial or a Professional teaching certificate?
    3. I received my Initial teaching certificate based on my valid out-of-state teaching certificate. My certificate is only valid for a little more than a year. What do I need to provide the Teacher Certification Office to extend my certificate?
    4. I was offered and have accepted a job in an Alaska school district. I am in the process of moving to my new home in Alaska from the lower 48. I will be sending my certification application to your office just before I begin travelling. How can I make sure that my application isn't returned to my old address in the lower 48?
    5. I have a background clearance from my home state. Can I use this background clearance instead of sending a set of fingerprints with my application?
  7. Preparation outside of the United States
    1. I completed most of my college-level coursework and my preparation program outside of the United States. This is the first time I have attempted to become certified to teach or work in a public school in the United States. What do I need to do to qualify for an Alaska certificate?
    2. What is a foreign evaluation?
  8. Renewal & Reinstatement
    1. Is my certificate eligible for renewal or reinstatement?
    2. What is the difference between renewal and reinstatement?

Application Process

What is the yellow postcard?

The yellow postcard is used by the Teacher Certification Office to notify applicants that their applications have past the first review and their fingerprint card has been submitted to the Department of Public Safety. Most of Alaska's public school districts accept yellow postcards as evidence that applicants have complied with AS 14.20.010 and may be employed as a certified teacher for up to 90 days.

By the end of the 90 days, the Teacher Certification Office will complete the second review of the applications, review the background clearances, and print and mail the original certificates to the applicants. If the background clearance is delayed beyond 90 days, the Teacher Certification Office may issue a conditional certificate that is good for an additional 60 days.

How long does it take for the Teacher Certification Office to process a certification application?

The length of time from the receipt of an application to mailing of a yellow postcard varies with the volume of applications received and staffing levels. The time ranges from two to six weeks. The Teacher Certification Office receives its highest volume of applications in June, July and August. If you are a first time applicant, it is recommended that you submit your application at least three months prior to the start date of your contract with an Alaska public school district. Sending your application with USPS tracking is also recommended.

What forms of payment will the Teacher Certification Office not accept?

The Teacher Certification Office does not accept personal checks or cash.

What forms of payment are accepted by the Teacher Certification Office?

The Teacher Certification Office will accept credit cards, debit cards, money orders, and cashier's check.

What is the cost of a teaching, administrative, or special service provider's Initial certificate in Alaska?

The cost is $125.00** for the certificate and $60.00 for the background check. A total of $185.00. Please note that the Teacher Certification Office does not accept personal checks.

**The fee for certification will be increasing around July 1st, 2015.  The fee will increase from $125.00 to $200.00 for most certificates.  With the cost of the background check, the total will be $260.00. For a detailed list of certification fees, please go to http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fees.html.

Where can I find a notary?

Check your local phone book for notary services, or alternatively search your local area through an online search engine (i.e. Google) for notary services. If a notary is not available, a United States postmaster may witness, date stamp with postmaster seal, and sign the affidavit. More information is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/docs/NOTARIZATION.docx

What are the types of teaching certificates issued by the State of Alaska?

The State of Alaska issues an Initial, a Professional, and a Master teaching certificate. More information about the types of certificates are available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/Certification.html. Applications for the various type of teaching certificates are available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/teach02.html

Where can I find the application for an Initial teaching certificate?

The Initial teacher application form is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/initial.pdf

Basic Competency Exam

What are the passing scores for the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators(CASE)?

Passing Score              Section (Test Number)

       156                        Reading (5712)

       162                        Writing (5722)   

       150                        Math (5732)     

 

If I don't have passing scores on a basic competency exam (i.e. Praxis I) can I still qualify for an Initial teaching certificate?

If you do not have passing scores on an approved basic competency exam, but you have a current and valid teaching certificate issued by another state (United States only), you may qualify for a one-year Initial teaching certificate. For more information see http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/initial.html#OutOfState.

If you have previously held an Alaska certificate, you may qualify for an Initial/Reemployment. For more information, please see http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/initial.html#Reemployment

What are the passing scores for the CBEST exam?

The passing scores for the California Basic Educational Skills Test is a total of 123 or higher with no individual scores less than 37. More information is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/praxis.html

What tests are accepted to meet the basic competency requirement for certification?

The following exams are accepted for the basic competency requirement: Praxis CORE (CASE); Praxis I; California Basic Educational Skills Test(CBEST); Washington Educator Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B); Alabama Work Keys; Florida Teacher Certification Exams-General Knowledge; Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE); Illinois Certification Testing System; Michigan Test for Teacher Certification; New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills; New York State Teacher Certification Liberal Arts and Science Test and Oklahoma General Education Test. More information is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/praxis.html

Can I combine section scores from different basic competency examinations to create a set of passing scores?

No. Scores from sections of different basic competency exams may not be combined to form a set of passing scores. You must have passing scores from all sections (reading, writing and mathematics) of ONE of the approved exams.

What are the passing scores for the individual sections of the Praxis I?

Qualifying scores for the reading, writing, and math sections of the Praxis I are as follows:

Reading 175

Writing 174

Math 173

More information is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/praxis.html

Certification Requirements

Does a district have the authority to employ an individual certified with only a Type C Special Service Provider Certificate to teach a class?

No,  4 AAC 12.355(c) states "A special services certificate does not qualify the holder to be assigned as a regular classroom teacher.

What certificate(s) and endorsement(s) are required for an individual to be employed as a district's Director of Special Education?

To be employed soley to administrater a special education program (i.e. be the Director of Special Education), an individual must possess one of the following combinations:  1) A Type B administrative certificate and a teacher certificate endorsed for special education or a related service area;  2) A Type B certificate endorsed for special education or for a related services area; or 3) A Type F special education administrator certificate.  4 AAC 12.350

Coursework

Can I apply for Alaska certification without having taken the required Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural coursework?

If you are new to Alaska, you will have two years to satisfy the coursework requirement in Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural. If you have not met those requirements when you first apply, you will only be eligible for an Initial or Provisional certificate. Please note that teachers, administrators, and special service providers must satisfy the coursework requirement within two years of the issue date of their Initial or Provisional certificate. If the requirement is not met in those two years, the individual will no longer be eligible to hold a certified position in an Alaska public school.

Where can I find the approved courses that satisfy the Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural certification requirements?

The list of approved Alaska studies courses is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/Approved_Alaska_Studies_Courses.pdf. The list of approved Alaska multicultural courses is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/Approved_Multicultural_Ed_Courses.pdf.

Fingerprint Card

I live in rural Alaska. Where can I get my fingerprints rolled?

Check with your local law inforcement officer, the Village Public Safety Office (V.P.S.O.), Alaska State Trooper, or city police department. If you need a fingerprint card, request one from tcwebmail@alaska.gov.

Does Alaska accept live scan fingerprint cards?

Yes, Alaska accepts fingerprint cards that have the scanned fingerprints printed on the card.

I have recently had a background check completed in another state. Am I still required to submit a fingerprint card with my application?

Yes, you will need to submit a fingerprint card with your application for Alaska certification. Our laws require that the Alaska Department of Public Safety completes the background check and provides that information directly to our Teacher Certification Office. We are not allowed to accept background clearances from other states or entities.

What fields on the fingerprint card or FD-258 must be filled in prior to submitting it to the Teacher Certification Office?

Please refer to the instructions for the fingerprint card that is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/Fingerprint_Instructions.pdf. All of the fields highlighted in yellow on the sample fingerprint card locate at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/fingerprint_sample.pdf must be filled in correctly in order for the Department of Public Safety to process the card.

What does the FD-258 fingerprint card look like?

An example of the FD-258 fingerprint card is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/fingerprint_sample.pdf

What kind of fingerprint card is accepted by Alaska?

Alaska's Department of Public Safety uses the standard FD-258 fingerprint card. It will also accept cards arranged in a similar manner. For more information, please see http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fingerprints.html

I don't live in Alaska. Where can I get my fingerprints rolled?

Check your local phone book for fingerprinting services, or alternatively search your local area through an online search engine (i.e. Google) for fingerprinting services.

I'm renewing my teaching certificate. Do I need to submit a fingerprint card with my application?

If you are teaching in an Alaska school district, you do not need to submit a fingerprint card with your application.  Instead, you will need to submit employment verification.  Employment verfication can be a photocopy of your contract for the current school year, salary placement information for the current school year, or a letter from your district office that verifies your employment. 

If you are not teaching in a school district, you will need to submit a fingerprint card with your renewal application. If you teach at AVTEC or work at the Department of Education & Early Development, you will need to submit a fingerprint card with your renewal application.

More information about fingerprints and employment verification is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fingerprints.html.

Out of state applicant

I have a valid out-of-state teaching certificate. Can I teach in an Alaska public school with just my out-of-state teaching certificate?

No. In Alaska, an individual must hold a valid Alaska teaching certificate in order to be employeed as a teacher in a public school district.

I am certified to teach in another state and have been teaching for a number of years. Should I apply for an Initial or a Professional teaching certificate?

If you have not completed the required Alaska studies and Alaska multicultural coursework, you will need to apply for an Initial Alaska teaching certificate. The Initial teacher application form is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/initial.pdf

I received my Initial teaching certificate based on my valid out-of-state teaching certificate. My certificate is only valid for a little more than a year. What do I need to provide the Teacher Certification Office to extend my certificate?

In order to extend your Initial Out-of-State Certificate, you will need to send the following items to the Teacher Certification Office:

1) An official score report of an approved basic competency exam; and

2) Either an instutional recommendation, state recommendation or a proof of program enrollment form.

A list of approved basic competency exams is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/praxis.html.

The institutional recommendation form is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/IRONLY.pdf.

The state recommendation from is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/State_Rec.pdf.

The proof of program enrollment is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/pdf/Program_Enrollment.pdf

To help you with moving from your Initial Out-of-State certification to a Professional certificate in Alaska, the following checklists may be helpful:

Initial Certificate Extension Checklist

Initial to Professional Checklist

 

I was offered and have accepted a job in an Alaska school district. I am in the process of moving to my new home in Alaska from the lower 48. I will be sending my certification application to your office just before I begin travelling. How can I make sure that my application isn't returned to my old address in the lower 48?

Here are some tips...

1) Make sure the application is complete. Use the checklists provide in the application to double check.

2) On the first page of the application, indicate in which district you will be working and the date that your work will begin.

3) Provide ample contact information. If you don't have a new address, use the district or school address. Add a cover sheet with additional phone numbers and email addresses that will assist us in our efforts to contact you, if it becomes necessary.

4) If your plans or contact information change, send us an email to let us know. Our email is tcwebmail@alaska.gov.

5) When you send your application to our office, pay the additional fee to have it tracked.  Tracking is available through the USPS. Track your packet at https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input.

 

I have a background clearance from my home state. Can I use this background clearance instead of sending a set of fingerprints with my application?

No, Alaska requires that all background checks be processed by the Alaska Department of Public Safety.  In order for this to occur, you will need to submit a fingerprint card with your application.

Preparation outside of the United States

I completed most of my college-level coursework and my preparation program outside of the United States. This is the first time I have attempted to become certified to teach or work in a public school in the United States. What do I need to do to qualify for an Alaska certificate?

You will need to do the following:

1) Have your foreign transcripts reviewed by an approved foreign evaluation agency (a list is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/Foreign_Evaluation_Info.pdf); 

2) Obtain a social security number (information is available at http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/);

3) Earn passing scores on the basic competency exam (a list is available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/praxis.html);

4) Have your fingerprints rolled or scanned onto an FD-258 or similiar fingerprint card (more information is available at (http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/fingerprints.html); and

5) Complete and submit the application (available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/initial.pdf) with all of the required documents and payment.

If you applying to be a special service provider, the application of the Initial Type C is located at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/initial.pdf

What is a foreign evaluation?

A foreign evaluation is a review of transcripts from a college or university outside of the United States. The evaluation is completed by an agency, approved by the Teacher Certification Office, capable of determining the educational system of the country where the college or university is located. 

The foreign evaluation report or credential evaluation report must include the following:

+A summary of the degree equivalency including the equivalency in US semester hours and grade equivalents(if applicable) ?

+Course-by-course analysis, including course levels and grades ?

+Overall GPA (based on the 4.0 scale) ?

+Practice teaching in the area of specialty (if applicable)

A foreign evaluation can serve as both transcripts and the institutional recommendation requirements for the purpose of satisfying certification requirements. A list of approved foreign evaluation agencies are available at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/Foreign_Evaluation_Info.pdf.

Renewal & Reinstatement

Is my certificate eligible for renewal or reinstatement?

Only Alaska certificates issued for five or more years are eligible for renewal or reinstatement?

The following types of certificates may be renewed or reinstated:

+Professional teacher,

+Master teacher,

+Administrative Type-B Regular, and

+Special Service Providers Type-C Regular

+Type M and Type M-CTE (By district request)

What is the difference between renewal and reinstatement?

A renewal of a five year certificate occurs prior to the expiration date of the certificate. A five-year certificate holder may submit the renewal application up to one year prior to the expiration of the five-year certificate. The effective or issue date of the renewed certificate will be the date the previous certificate expired.

A reinstatement of a five-year certificate occurs after the expiration date of the certificate.  An applicant has one year from the expiration date of the five-year certificate to apply to reinstate the certificate. The one year is considered the reinstatement period. 

During the reinstatement period, the applicant is not certified and may not work in a position requiring the certificate. When the Teacher Certification Office receives a complete reinstatement application and all the supporting materials, the applicant regains certification and is eligible for employment in an Alaska public school. The reinstated certificate effective or issue date is the date the complete reinstatement application packet was received by the Teacher Certification Office.

More information concerning renewal and reinstatement can be found at http://education.alaska.gov/TeacherCertification/forms/ReneworReinstateCertificates.pdf.