How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas
Once the decision has been made to become a teacher Arkansas, the level of education completed determines the next steps.
Choose Your Highest Level of Education
- I have graduated from High School or Earned a GED…
- Have some college or an Associate’s Degree
- Earned a Bachelor’s Degree…
- Earned a Master’s Degree…
Look over the information below and discover steps you should take to become a teacher in Arkansas.
If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED
Having a high school diploma or a GED opens doors to many institutions of higher learning that lead to a teaching career in Arkansas. Bachelor’s degree programs require applicants to be high school graduates or to have earned a GED. As a way of recruiting enthusiastic teachers, some Arkansas high schools are invited to attend “Orientation to Teaching” classes, where they learn about the teaching profession, volunteer in classrooms and observe experienced teachers.
- Learn about accredited, state-approved schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees that focus on education, child development, specific academic content areas, grade levels or student populations.
- Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching, and find out if the school you want to attend offers a teaching or education major. If you want to focus on specific subject, consider pursuing a degree that combines a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a major in the subject you want to teach.
- There are a number of academic paths that may prepare a high school graduate to apply for an Arkansas teaching license. Students, who have the prerequisites for admission into a four-year college, are qualified to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Some colleges include a teacher preparation program within the B.A. curriculum.
- After graduation from high school, aspiring teachers in Arkansas can enroll at a two-year college or community college. Community colleges in Arkansas offer Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, designed for students who want to transfer to a 4-year institution as education majors. Not all community college credits are transferable to a university teaching program, so before you embark on this route, consult a college advisor.
- Some students prefer a degree or certificate that allows them to enter the work force directly after finishing their two-year college coursework. These two-year programs prepare students for jobs as childcare professionals, so they can begin working with infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
- Talk to your high school advisors, and contact colleges that fit your needs, to request information that will help you decide which school to attend and what degree to pursue.
If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree
Attending a community college and earning an Associate’s degree is a valuable step toward becoming a teacher in Arkansas. The community college classes you take before entering a Bachelor’s degree program may provide necessary prerequisites for courses offered in a four-year program. A Bachelor’s degree or higher is required of all applicants seeking an Arkansas teaching license.
- Some community college credits can be transferred to public and independent four-year colleges and universities where students can complete a Bachelor’s degree in teaching or education. Even if you don’t pursue a degree at a community college, some of your coursework may fulfill prerequisites for Bachelor’s degree programs.
- Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the two-year college you attended. Certain associate degrees may qualify you to enter a Bachelor of Science in Education degree as a Junior.
- Two-year colleges may offer specific programs–known as “En Route Associate of Arts or Associate of Science Degrees”—that are structured to give Associate degree graduates a smooth transition into a Bachelor of Education program. Arkansas’ Associate of Arts in Teaching degree is designed for students who know they want to transfer to a 4-year institution and major in education. Students choose an emphasis, such as Pre-Kindergarten to 4th Grade or Middle School Language Arts/Social Studies or Math/Science, that they will continue studying as they progress toward their Initial teaching license.
- Aspiring educators may choose to enter the work force directly after completing their two-year college degree. Some community colleges offer Associate of Applied Science Degrees (A.A.S.) in Early Childhood Education or Child Development. These A.A.S. degrees are designed for students who seek preparation and skills necessary to work with children in day cares centers, childcare programs and pre-schools.
If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s degree or higher, from a regionally accredited institution, is essential to qualify for a license to teach in Arkansas. If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, the next steps toward teacher certification in Arkansas will often depend on your undergraduate coursework and major.
- Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood, elementary or secondary education may fulfill many of the academic requirements that must be completed prior to qualifying and applying for licensure in Arkansas.
- Teaching candidates are required to successfully complete a Professional Teacher Education Program approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. This preparation program may be part of a Bachelor in Education degree or it may be offered as a stand-alone Teacher Preparation Program. All prospective teachers must pass the Praxis IBasic Skills Assessment prior to beginning the Teacher Education Program and the Praxis II Content Area test when they are nearing graduation from the Teacher Education Program.
- A Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S. Ed.) can qualify aspiring educators to take the next step toward becoming licensed teachers in Arkansas elementary, middle and high schools. The most direct path to teacher licensure is completing a Bachelor in Education degree from an accredited college or university that also provides an approved Teacher Preparation Program.
- Some students choose to continue their academic and teacher preparation work by enrolling in a graduate school that offers a variety of Master of Education degrees in combination with the requisite Teacher Education Program.
- The Arkansas State Board of Education requires candidates for Initial licensure to pass three official licensing exams. These include: the Praxis I Basic Skills Assessment in reading, writing and math; the grade- and subject-level appropriate Praxis II Content Area Knowledge tests; and the Praxis III Teacher Performance Assessments that evaluate the skills of beginning teachers in classroom settings.
- By exploring the different routes leading to licensure, you will discover which option meets your career goals. Teacher Preparation Programs include classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Once you have successfully completed your academic and experiential requirements and passed all official licensing exams, you are ready to begin the multi-phased application process that will culminate in being issued the Initial license to teach in Arkansas.
If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program
Master’s degrees in Education typically offer a course of study that includes a Teacher Preparation Program approved by the state of Arkansas. If your Master’s degree major is not Education, a Teacher Preparation Program must be completed prior to applying for a full teaching certificate. You can progress in a few different directions once you are in a graduate program or have a Master’s degree.
- The criteria for admission into a College of Education graduate program include: a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university; transcripts for all coursework; a minimum grade point average; and a passing GRE score. Graduate schools require students to satisfy both the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the requirements of the specific Education program.
- Look into available Master’s programs and contact the universities that interest you. Arkansas offers a range of Master’s degree programs that can lead you to a teaching license. For example, the Master of Science in Education degree (MSE) in Early Childhood Education provides programs of study that focus on the developmental and educational needs of young children. Master of Arts in Teaching degrees (MAT), which emphasize Elementary, Middle Level orSecondary Education, include teacher education core and specialized courses leading to Initial licensure.
- If you are ready to begin your teaching career after you have completed your degree, fulfilled mandatory teacher preparation, passed all required tests, and satisfied student teaching requirements, the next step is to apply for your teaching license. Contact the Arkansas Department of Education to request information and an application.
- Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. Arkansas has a variety of Doctoral Programs in Education; so gather information to discover the best university program for you.