Along with the implementation of the No Child Left behind Act of 2002, Alaska created the Alaska System for Early Education Development (SEED) Council in 2004, which was responsible for developing an Early Learning Guidelines Development Committee. SEED eventually chose to adopt the State of Washington’s Early Learning Standards.
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported that there were 670 preschool teachers employed in Alaska in 2012. By 2022, this number is expected to increase to 771, a 15.1 percent increase.
Public school preschool teachers in Alaska achieve certification through the Alaska Board of Education and Early Development. If you want to become a preschool teacher in Alaska, complete the following steps:
Step 1. Complete a Degree in Early Childhood Education
If you want to teach preschool in Alaska’s public school system, you must achieve a teaching license through the Alaska Board of Education and Early Development. The first step to becoming licensed as a preschool teacher in Alaska is to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education from a regionally accredited college or university.
The most streamlined approach, however, to becoming a preschool teacher in Alaska is through the completion of an Approved Teacher Education Program. An approved teacher education program in Alaska combines an undergraduate or graduate education and a student teaching experience.
There are currently two Early Childhood Education (Pre-K) programs in Alaska at the bachelor and post-baccalaureate level.
Before you can achieve a professional teacher certification in Alaska, you must complete the following:
- Three semesters of approved multicultural coursework
- Three semesters of approved Alaska studies coursework
These courses may be completed through approved local colleges/universities.
Preschool Instructional Aid
If you want to become a preschool instructional aid in Alaska, you must complete an associate’s degree (at minimum) in early childhood education/development or a similar field, or achieve a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) credential through the Council for Professional Recognition. However, a two-year degree or CDA credential only allows you to apply for an instructional aid certification in Alaska (See Step 2).
Note: Alaska’s SEED program offers a Pathways to Professionalism program, which is designed to assist candidates who are working toward their CDA by providing them with training stipends. Alaska’s Head Start programs require candidates to possess a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education/Development.
Step 2. Consider Applying for an Associate Certificate in Early Childhood Education
If you want to serve as an instructional aid in a preschool or public school primary setting, you must earn the Early Childhood Education (Type E) certificate through the Alaska Board of Education and Early Development. This five-year certificate, however, does not allow you to serve as a regular classroom teacher in a public school setting.
To earn the Early Childhood Education certificate, you must possess one of the following:
Associate 1: A CDA credential or the completion of a 30-credit college program that includes at least 400 hours of supervised experience
To earn the CDA credential, you must possess the following:
- The completion of a professional portfolio
- 120 hours of professional education
- 480 hours of professional experience
Associate II: An Associate I, plus the completion of an approved associate degree (AA) in early childhood education
You must contact the Teacher Certificate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application form to apply for the Early Childhood Education certificate in Alaska.
Step 3. Pass the Required Competency Examination
Upon the completion of an approved teacher education program, you must take and pass a basic competency examination that covers the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics to become a preschool teacher in Alaska. You may take the PRAXIS Academic Skills for Educators examination or take and pass one of the following State examinations:
- Alabama Work Keys
- California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
- Florida Teacher Certification Examination – General Knowledge:
- Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators
- 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
- Oklahoma General Education Test
- Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST-B)
More information on registering for and taking the PRAXIS Academic Skills for Educators examination can be found on the ETS website.
Step 4. Apply for Initial Certification as a Preschool Teacher in Alaska
After passing the required competency examination, you may apply for initial certification as a preschool teacher (PreK-3) in Alaska by completing a Teacher Certification Application for Initial Certificationand submitting an institutional recommendation.
If you have completed an approved teacher education program and have completed the required Alaska coursework, you may apply for an Initial Three-Year Teacher Certificate.
If you have completed an approved teacher education program but have NOT completed the required Alaska coursework, you may apply for an Initial Two-Year Teacher Certificate.
During this period, you must take and pass a PRAXIS II content area examination in Elementary Development (K-8) to achieve an endorsement in early childhood education. You may take one of the following examinations to obtain an endorsement on your Alaska teaching certificate in early childhood education:
- Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (5014)
- Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (5011)
You can learn more about the above PRAXIS examinations and register to take them through the ETS website.
Step 5. Apply for and Maintain a Professional Teacher Certificate with an Early Childhood Endorsement
Before you can achieve a professional teacher certificate as a preschool teacher in Alaska, you must complete a Professional Certification application and show proof that:
- You are currently employed as a preschool teacher in Alaska
- You have at least two years of teaching experience on your initial certificate
- You have taken and passed the appropriate PRAXIS II examination for endorsement in early childhood education
- You have completed at least 6 semester credit hours (with at least half of those credits being graduate/upper-division credits) on your initial teacher certificate
- You have completed the required Alaska coursework
Professional teacher certificates in Alaska must be renewed every 5 years upon completion of at least 6 semester credit hours of graduate courses, with at least half of those credits being graduate/upper-division credits.
Because of the graduate-level coursework requirements needed to maintain a professional certificate in Alaska, many preschool teachers choose to pursue a master’s degree as to meet these continuing education requirements and enjoy higher salaries and additional employment opportunities.
Teachers in Alaska may achieve a master teacher certificate, which is valid for a period of 10 years, if they achieve National Board certification issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Alaska Preschool Teacher Salaries
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development designated preschool teaching as being an occupation with strong growth and a large number of openings in a 2014 analysis. They predicted the number of jobs to increase by 18.3% in the ten year period ending 2022. This increase is greater than that projected for the country as a whole.
Preschool teachers in Alaska were the fourth most highly paid in the country in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median preschool teacher salary in Alaska was 27% higher than that for the U.S. as a whole according to Alaska’s labor market analysis.
Pre-K teacher salaries vary a great deal throughout Alaska. Preschool teachers in the 90th percentile of their salary bracket made the most in the. 2013 Alaska preschool teacher salaries are shown below broken down to hourly rate:
The field of teaching preschoolers tends to be dominated by women, and Alaska is no exception to this trend. 94% of the state’s preschool teachers were women in 2010, and they earned 11% more than the male teachers.
Labor market data indicated that 794 preschool teachers were employed in Alaska in 2012. 87.7% of these teachers were Alaska residents. Most of Alaska’s preschool teachers are under 45 years old. 28.5% were 45 years or older in 2012, while 18.9% were at least 50 years old.
The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 preschool teacher salaries throughout Alaska: