As of October 1, 2016, the Alaska Department of Education reported 18,711 special education students, ages 3-21, throughout the state. With such a high number of students with special needs, it is essential for Alaska to attract and retain qualified special education teachers. Check out this article to learn more about the specific requirements aspiring teachers must complete in order to be certified to lead special education classes in Alaska.
Special Education Teacher Requirements in Alaska
|Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Alaska (2016)*||$76,930 (Kindergarten & Elementary School Teachers); $78,280 (Middle School Teachers); $74,630 (Secondary School Teachers)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Special Education|
|Testing Requirements||Passing scores in reading, writing, and mathematics on a basic competency exam and special education endorsement|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Education Requirements to Become a Special Education Teacher in Alaska
If you are interested in teaching special education in Alaska, your first step is completing a bachelor's degree in special education from an approved educational institution. A degree in special education will give you the necessary tools to work with children with disabilities. You will also learn how to work with Alaska's ethnically varied student population, as well as the different types of communities, including urban and remote ones. Part of your degree will include completing a student teaching assignment. Your assignment may last one school semester or the duration of the school year.
Certification Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Alaska
After graduating with a bachelor's degree, you will need to become state certified in order to qualify for an Initial/Two-Year teaching certificate. All teachers, regardless of grade level or subject area, must pass basic competency examinations in reading, writing, and mathematics. You will be able to choose from several tests, including the CBEST, Praxis, and NES.
The CBEST basic competency consists of three sections. You will need to earn a total passing score of 123, with no score less than 37 on a section.
The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, known as CASE, has the following passing score requirements:
- Reading (5712): 156
- Writing (5722): 162
- Mathematics (5732): 150
A third option for the basic competency examination is the National Evaluation Series (NES) Essential Academic Skills. You must receive a passing score of 220 on each section of the test.
In addition to meeting this basic requirement for teaching, you will also need to obtain an endorsement after completing your degree in special education.
Once you meet all the certification requirements you will receive your Initial/Two-Year certificate. You can apply for a one-year extension on this certificate if needed. If you completed multicultural and Alaskan studies credits during your bachelor degree training program, you are eligible for an Initial/Three-Year teaching certificate.
You will need to submit a fingerprint card with your completed teaching application. You must also receive a clear background check from the Alaska Department of Public Safety, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Certification Resources for Alaska Special Education Teachers
You may find this study guide useful when prepping for the Alaska state certification exams.