In Arkansas, the pathway to licensure for beginning teachers (teachers with less than one year’s experience) follows a set, performance-based pathway through a state-approved educator program. These programs are approved by the Arkansas Department of Education’s Office of Teacher Quality and use professionals education units accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Requirements for licensure include:
-A minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a state-accredited university or college.
-Successful completion of the three-level Praxis testing series (link to Praxis page?).
-Praxis I: reading, writing, math
-Praxis II: content test for all parts required
-Praxis III: Principles of Learning and Teaching
-Successful completion of a criminal background check.
Once these requirements have been met, either through an approved Arkansas teacher education program or the Arkansas Non-Traditional Licensure Program, the beginning teacher becomes eligible for an initial teaching license. This license lasts for at least a year and no more than three years and is considered a time of induction, during which the new teacher will be assigned a site-based, trained mentor to help encourage their growth until their teaching meets the mentoring requirements.
The final step of the licensure process is the capstone experience of induction, the Praxis III performance assessment, and after successful completion of the Praxis III the new teacher will be issued a standard teaching license. This license is renewed on a five-year cycle, and each year all educators must build up 60 professional development hours.
Non-Traditional Licensure in Arkansas:
An alternative route to licensure administered by the Arkansas Department of Education is the Non-Traditional Licensure Program (NTLP). The program gives the holder of a bachelor’s degree or higher the chance to complete the requirements for an initial teaching license while at the same time being employed as a teacher in the classroom. Along with their degree, candidates must have also passed the state mandated assessments.
This two-year program includes assessments, teaching experience, portfolio development and summer and monthly-Saturday teacher preparation modules. Each candidate (as a Teacher of Record in a classroom) is also paired with a Pathwise mentor, who will help them to improve the quality of their teaching through focused feedback and support.
Once the candidate completes the NTLP they are issued an initial teaching license. If the candidate also passes the Praxis III, they will be issued a standard teaching license.
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