Teaching Programs in Arkansas
Education is perhaps one of the most quickly changing fields of study in the United States. Every year, a growing body of research delves into how students learn, what they need to learn successfully, and what children need to turn into happy and well-adjusted adults.
However, implementing evidence-based research can be a major task for administrators and teachers. Arkansas is committed to doing this with its formation of the Division of Learning Services.
The Division is made up of a team of professionals within the Arkansas Department of Education who want to ensure that all students get quality education and that all teachers are able to provide it. Division members provide training and education, develop and implement specific learning services, and assess the learning environment to provide feedback and facilitate needed change.
Specific services include teaching “soft skills” such as communication, coordinating statewide reading campaigns, and ensuring that each student has a success plan that maps out goals for their years in school.
These initiatives make it an exciting time to be a teacher in Arkansas!
How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas
The route you use to get a teaching degree and teaching license depends on how much education you currently have. If you do not yet have a bachelor’s degree, you can look into traditional bachelor’s degree programs that focus on teaching at different levels and age groups. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, you may be able to earn your certification through an accelerated certification program. In both cases, however, you need to become certified (i.e., get a teaching license) to teach in Arkansas.
Traditional Path: Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Education
A bachelor’s degree in education includes a teacher education program, which is a prerequisite for certification in Arkansas. These programs must be approved and accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Within your degree program you can usually choose a specific education major, such as early childhood education. In addition to general education courses, you will take courses related to your chosen major.
Once you get your degree, you are eligible to apply for a teaching license.
Accelerated Teacher Certification
Arkansas offers accelerated programs for those with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education. There are three approved acceleration programs:
Licensure in Arkansas
Arkansas offers provisional licenses and standard licenses. There are a variety of levels and areas of licensure; the state provides a chart that shows the available areas and the endorsements required for each.
Arkansas requires applicants to pass the Praxis Assessments, both general and in specific content areas. The test was developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS). You can find more information about these tests on the ETS website.
Paying for Your Education
In additional to traditional financial aid, Arkansas offers a variety of financial aid opportunities for aspiring teachers.
The State Teacher Education Program (STEP) is a loan reduction program that helps teachers with loan payments. Teachers eligible for this program must teach in a shortage area in Arkansas—either a shortage in a particular subject or in a geographic area. Award amounts are up to $4,000 per year and are paid directly to the loan lender.
The Teacher Opportunity Program (TOP) offers reimbursement grants to Arkansas teachers and administrators who are interested in furthering their education. The program reimburses participants for up to six credit hours completed in an academic year, with a cap at $3000.
Career Outlook for Educators in Arkansas
The job outlook that awaits you when you get your teaching license is dependent on which grade levels you are licensed to teach and how flexible you are about location. Overall, however, the outlook for teachers in Arkansas is good. CareerOneStop predicts that between now and 2026, K–12 teacher job openings will increase by 9%. This is higher than the national average for K–12 teachers.
|Arkansas Mean Teaching Salaries (2018)|
|Elementary:||$48,560 per year|
|Middle School:||$49,570 per year|
|Secondary:||$51,780 per year|
|Post-Secondary:||$68,105 per year (averaged from all mean salaries)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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