Teaching students in Arkansas have plenty of career opportunities, as statewide teacher shortages have placed qualified professionals in high demand. Consequently, the Arkansas Department of Education has implemented several initiatives designed to recruit instructors with varying levels of experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that teaching positions in Arkansas will grow faster than the economy as a whole between 2014 and 2024.
While positions are available for teachers at every grade level, postsecondary instructors are in especially high demand in Arkansas. The BLS projects postsecondary teaching positions to increase nearly 17% between 2014 and 2024. This high demand paired with competitive salaries and state incentives makes Arkansas an ideal choice for those entering the teaching profession.
The BLS projects postsecondary teaching positions to increase nearly 17% between 2014 and 2024.
Many institutions in Arkansas offer accredited teacher training, and these programs are approved by the Arkansas Department of Education and lead to licensure. Several teacher training programs in Arkansas are available online and are ideal for students with busy schedules. To be eligible for Arkansas teaching certification, students attending out-of-state teacher preparation programs should ensure that their program holds regional accreditation and approval from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. To earn licensure, Arkansas educators must also complete the PRAXIS test. Some areas of licensure require a subject-specific assessment. Candidates should carefully review the state's requirements for teaching licensure before applying.
How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas
Though many states have similar requirements for teaching licensure, licenses do not necessarily transfer between states. Most states require teachers licensed in other states to meet certain standards and complete additional requirements. To simplify the process for teachers moving to new states, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification established the Interstate Agreement, which highlights reciprocity guidelines for each state. Most U.S. states and some Canadian provinces participate in the agreement.
Teachers seeking licensure reciprocity in Arkansas must submit transcripts and a current teaching license to the Arkansas Department of Education. Candidates must have an out-of-state pedagogy testing result, at least three years of teaching experience, or a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification. Some applicants may need to complete a course in Arkansas history through an accredited university or Arkansas IDEAS.
Licensed teachers in Arkansas must have at least a bachelor's degree. While associate degrees in education are available, most students use two-year programs as preparation for further study. Most aspiring teachers earn a bachelor's or master's in education, but alternate routes are available for those with degrees in areas other than education. The Arkansas Department of Education offers the Arkansas Provisional Pathway to Educator Licensure, a two-year pathway program that provides prospective educators with a provisional license while they learn pedagogy methods, how to design lessons, and how to facilitate classroom communities. Aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree in an area other than education can also earn a master's degree in education to qualify for licensure in Arkansas.
Most aspiring teachers earn a bachelor's or master's in education, but alternate routes are available for those with degrees in areas other than education.
The length of time required to prepare for an Arkansas teaching certificate depends on a student's professional goals. A four-year bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, but many students choose to earn a master's degree, which requires two additional years of study. Most education programs also require an internship, though the number of hours varies by program. After earning an education degree, teaching candidates must complete the PRAXIS test and, in some cases, additional subject assessments. Candidates then apply for an Arkansas teaching certificate. As a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, Arkansas awards teaching certificates that are eligible for transfer to 48 other states, though teachers must meet the specific guidelines of any state where they plan to teach.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Arkansas
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Arkansas History||This course covers the history of the state of Arkansas from its earliest known habitation to the present day. Many associate in teaching programs offer this either in their core curriculum or as an elective.|
|Educational Technology||This class covers basic technology planning concepts in P-12 classrooms. Coursework emphasizes social, ethical, and human issues related to technology and computing.|
|Introduction to Education||This course is designed to introduce students to the American public school system. Students will examine the social forces that shape the development of education in the United States, as well as professional ethics, educational history and philosophy, and a variety of other foundational topics.|
Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching
|Classroom Management||This class typically emphasizes research-based and observational tools for classroom management. Students also learn how to plan and implement classroom management strategies.|
|Exceptional Students||This course provides an introduction to exceptional students and is sometimes offered as a survey of exceptional needs. Coursework covers learning and behavioral characteristics of exceptional students and the legal basis for their education in elementary and secondary schools.|
|Teaching Internship||This class usually places students in a classroom for an entire academic year. Students will manage a classroom under the supervision of a qualified mentor and will regularly report back to university faculty members to assess their progress.|
Master’s Degree in Teaching
|Learning Theory||This class covers the main principles and issues associated with learning. Most courses emphasize empirical findings and theoretical interpretations in their coursework.|
|Multimedia for Educators||This course covers how to use technology as an educational resource in K-12 classrooms. Students explore the potential learning and instructional applications of various applications in the classroom.|
|Student Teaching||This class provides students with supervised teaching experiences in Arkansas public schools. These sessions are paired with on-campus meetings where students reflect on and analyze their student teaching experiences.|
Certification and Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Arkansas
Students can pursue a traditional or a non-traditional route to meeting teaching requirements in Arkansas. Those taking the traditional route can earn a bachelor's degree in education or teaching from one of 20 approved in-state institutions or an accredited teaching program before pursuing a standard teaching license. Candidates for a standard Arkansas teaching certificate must also complete the required PRAXIS assessments. Applicants must submit the standard license application, all required documentation, and a $75 processing fee to the Arkansas Department of Education. Arkansas teaching licenses are valid for five years.
Students have several options for earning non-traditional teaching licensure in Arkansas. Students with a bachelor's degree in a subject other than teaching can earn a master's degree in education to qualify for licensure. As an alternative, Arkansas students can participate in an online certificate program through the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence, which awards a three-year provisional teaching license. The Arkansas Teacher Corps also provides a three-year provisional license to teachers enrolled in ATC Fellows programs.
Both Teach For America and the Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure offer programs awarding two-year provisional licenses. Teachers with at least three years of experience may qualify for the three-year Provisional Professional Teaching License. Students with a bachelor's degree in a STEM field can participate in the eStem Public Charter Schools residency program, which awards Arkansas licensure after three years of teaching. Finally, Prism Teacher Institute offers a two-year program that qualifies bachelor's degree holders for licensure.
Choosing a Degree Program in Arkansas
Students pursuing a teaching degree in Arkansas should look for a program that aligns with their lifestyle and professional goals. To determine their budget, prospective students should explore federal and private financial aid programs, along with the Arkansas Department of Education's post-graduation incentive programs for teachers. Prospective students should also consider an institution's geographic location. Some areas have more teaching opportunities, and many incentive programs offer loan forgiveness for teachers in areas experiencing teacher shortages. Students should also review the various licenses available to Arkansas teachers before choosing a specialization.
Online programs offer flexible scheduling options and often save students money in transportation costs.
Arkansas institutions offer a number of on-campus educator preparation programs, but many students choose to study remotely. Online programs offer flexible scheduling options and often save students money in transportation costs. Students considering out-of-state online programs should review licensing requirements in the states where they plan to study and teach.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Arkansas?
Arkansas residents can earn teaching degrees from accredited institutions with few restrictions. In Arkansas, online master's degrees in teaching and education are more prevalent than online bachelor's degrees in teaching. Applicants to master's programs must hold a bachelor's degree to be considered. Students can pursue an online teaching degree at an out-of-state institution and then apply for licensure by reciprocity with the Arkansas Department of Education. Students can also earn an online degree in an area other than teaching and pursue non-traditional teaching licensure in Arkansas.
Although students enroll in classes remotely, online teaching programs require students to complete in-person internships. Most programs allow online students to complete internships at a local school. Students should ensure that each prospective online program is accredited. Arkansas institutions should hold regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and approval from the Arkansas Department of Education. Out-of-state programs should receive regional accreditation and recognition from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Arkansas
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Arkansas
Arkansas students have a variety of options for financing an education degree. Every student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine whether they qualify for federal funding, including federal loans and grants. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program supports students who commit to teach in low-income areas for a period following graduation, and federal loan forgiveness programs are available for teachers who work in low-income schools or areas.
Arkansas provides scholarships and financial aid opportunities for teachers, including in-state scholarships and grants, the Arkansas Candidate Support Program for NBCT, and the Arkansas Geographical Critical Needs Minority Scholarship. State-specific teacher loan forgiveness programs and tuition reimbursement programs help Arkansas teachers advance their education.
Loan Forgiveness for Arkansas Teachers
Loan forgiveness programs help students overcome debt by eliminating a portion of an outstanding loan. The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for teachers who work in a low-income school for five consecutive years. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program cancels loans for eligible public service officials after they have completed 120 payments.
In Arkansas, the State Teacher Education Program provides $3,000 in loan repayments each year that a teacher is employed within a high need area or subject, with additional loan repayment opportunities for minorities. The Teacher Opportunity Program reimburses teachers up to $3,000 per year for continuing education expenses. The Department of Education identifies critical shortage subjects and critical shortage geographical areas.
Scholarships for Arkansas Teaching Students
Along with federal scholarships, Arkansas residents have access to a variety of state-specific scholarships. The Department of Education and private organizations also offer teacher-specific scholarships and financial aid programs to encourage qualified candidates to pursue teaching positions in Arkansas.
Arkansas AmeriCorps Future Teacher Initiative $7,200
Arkansas Geographical Critical Needs Minority Teacher Scholarship $1,500
Minority Teachers Program Varies
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) $4,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Arkansas
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
After earning an education degree and obtaining licensure, Arkansas teachers have a variety of career opportunities. While the annual mean wage in the state is lower than the national average, available jobs and long-term outlook in Arkansas are higher than the national average. Individual salaries depend on several factors, including experience level, specialization, and grade level. Teachers who work with older students tend to earn higher salaries; however, the educational and licensure requirements for teaching older age groups in Arkansas are also more demanding.
Geographic location also has a strong impact on salary. Teachers in metropolitan areas typically earn more, but the cost of living is also higher in those areas. Also, teacher shortages in rural Arkansas have spawned state initiatives that reward teachers who work in these communities. Arkansas also offers incentives to teachers in low-income areas.
|Elementary School Teachers||$48,110|
|Middle School Teachers||$49,130|
|Secondary School Teachers||$50,990|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Arkansas
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Resources for Teachers in Arkansas
- Arkansas Department of Education ADE supports teachers, schools, and communities. The department provides a variety of resources for teachers, including information about licensure, professional development opportunities, and career assistance. ADE also posts information about state initiatives and upcoming educational events.
- Arkansas Education Association AEA is dedicated to improving working conditions and salaries for teachers. The association also works to improve the state's educational system as a whole. AEA offers professional development opportunities, including training, workshops, and networking events.
- Arkansas State Teachers Association Part of the Association of American Educators, ASTA advocates for teachers and education. The association provides insurance and legal protection, scholarships, training, and professional resources.
- Educators Rising This program prepares aspiring educators for careers in the field. The program offers certifications, scholarships, and online networking opportunities for students and teachers.
- National Education Association NEA is the largest employee organization in the country. The association advocates for the teaching profession and improves conditions for students and teachers. NEA provides teaching resources, career development opportunities, and access to nationwide events.