How To Become a Teacher In Alaska

Alaska has a lot of offer its 731,449 residents, and if you are considering starting your teaching career in The Last Frontier, then the state is worth a look. Alaska is known for being a magnet for tourists, but the state also boasts a thriving oil and wildlife industry. For those who are wondering how to become a teacher in Alaska, read on for some guidance.

Salaries for Teachers In Alaska

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), the average salary for a teacher in 2010 was $53,230. By comparison, the BLS says, teachers in Alaska made an average of $59,960, and those with specializations in special education, kindergarten and high school making significantly more. The salary will depend on the school district, geographic location and other factors, but teachers in Alaska received the third-highest pay in the nation in 2009. Also, starting salaries for new graduates may be considerably lower than the average.

How to Become a Teacher In Alaska

You’ll need a bachelor degree from a college or university to become a teacher in Alaska. A four-year degree in education would make for the easiest path, but a four-year degree in any area of interest, especially for someone who is contemplating making a career change to become a teacher, also can work.

Once you’ve earned a four-year degree, the next step is certification to teach in Alaska. If you hold a current teaching license from another state, Alaska will grant a one-year certification, but teachers will still have to pass one of Alaska’s accepted exams. The three major exams Alaska accepts are the PRAXIS I, WEST-B and the CBEST. For those about to take the certification exams in certain states, a passing score on that exam would also allow a person to be certified to teach in Alaska. Those states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York and Oklahoma. Once the test scores have been submitted along with an application to a school district in Alaska, a prospective teacher only has to wait for an interview and an opening.

Demand and Job Growth

According to the BLS, from 2010 to 2020 the student-teacher ratio is expected to decrease. This means more teachers will be required to keep the ratio low. Also, during this same period, the attrition rate is expected to rise, which will also create an increased demand for teachers. Lastly, the West and the South are expected to see the highest demand for teachers. For those interested in teaching in Alaska, this bodes well, since the demand for teachers is expected to increase, and the salaries for those teaching positions are expected to at least hold steady.

Between the above-average pay and the opportunities an education degree can provide, getting a teaching degree and teaching in Alaska is a viable option. For those who prefer to enroll in an online degree program, there are several schools that offer online education degrees, such as the University of Phoenix, Concordia University and Western Governor’s University. All three of these schools offer all courses online, and will help set up observation and student-teaching requirements with local schools.