Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Arkansas
For aspiring Arkansas teachers, ToBecomeATeacher.org has assembled a toolkit with all the data, resources and advice you’ll need to get started. To begin, anyone hoping to teach in Arkansas will need to complete the following critical steps:
1. Choosing a Program: First, find an education program that supports your budget and short- and long-term career goals as a teacher.
- Finding an appropriate program that fits your needs is never easy, but you can save a lot of time and money by asking the right question upfront. What’s your budget? Does location matter? Where do you eventually hope to teach and in what field of study?
2. Planning for Licensure in Arkansas: To become a teacher in Arkansas, you’ll need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program. You’ll also need to write and pass the appropriate Praxis exams.
3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed an education program and passed the applicable exams, you will be ready to launch your job search.
- It is always best to start by asking the right questions. Are you interested in working in a rural or urban school? What are your lifestyle priorities and which region of the state can best meet these priorities? What are your salary expectations? Throughout this process, keep developing your resume. Seek out volunteer work in local schools. Enroll in additional qualification courses for educators. Even if there are no job openings available at the time, contact local principals and request to meet so you can introduce yourself and discuss what you have to offer their school community. Being current, actively engaged in local schools and enthusiastic will go a long way on the job market.
Choosing an Education Program in Arkansas
ToBecomeATeacher.org understands that choosing the right program is never easy. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in the State of Arkansas for 2015. Notably, our criteria reflects prospective teachers’ top priorities. For this reason, our rankings focus on total expense, student-to- faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and over all return on investment.
All the schools on ToBecomeATeacher.org’s list below are committed to excellence and have proven themselves to be among the very best places to pursue an education degree in Arkansas. Find out which schools rank best at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in education.
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Arkansas Tech University
Henderson State University
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
University of Arkansas
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
University of Central Arkansas
Williams Baptist College
|#||Name||Expense Score||Acceptance Rate Score||Graduation Rate Score||ROI/Value Score||Student to Faculty Score|
|1||University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff||8.9||10||4.01||8.9||5.3|
|2||University of Arkansas-Fort Smith||10||7||3.42||10||1.8|
|3||University of Arkansas at Little Rock||7.4||7.5||3.4||7.4||7.1|
|4||Arkansas Tech University||9.5||4.3||6.09||9.5||0.59|
|5||Henderson State University||7.9||6.5||4.74||7.9||5.3|
|6||Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||6.8||6.7||4.73||6.8||4.7|
|7||University of Arkansas||5.3||6.9||9.03||5.3||1.2|
|8||Arkansas State University-Main Campus||6.3||5.2||5.74||6.3||1.8|
|9||University of Central Arkansas||5.8||3.8||6.2||5.8||2.9|
|10||Williams Baptist College||3.2||6||6.21||3.2||7.6|
Ranking Factors Explained
ToBecomeATeacher.org’s ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.
How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas
There are several pathways one can take to become a teacher in Arkansas.
- Pathway 1: First, you can opt to complete a traditional education preparation program at one of Arkansas’s 20 colleges that have been authorized to offer such programs. These are programs that lead to teacher licensure in the state.
- Pathway 2: Another popular option is the Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure (APPEL). This is a two-year program designed for candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. It enables aspiring teachers to work as classroom teachers while completing the additional training and education needed to become fully licensed to teach in Arkansas.
- Pathway 3: For candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree, another option is to complete a master’s degree (e.g., an MAT, MED or MTLL) through a participating college or university in Arkansas. In some cases, candidates may be able to work as a classroom teacher while pursuing this option.
Whatever the pathway, Arkansas educators must also complete the required exams; these include the Praxis Core exam and one or more Praxis II subject exams. Teachers who hold a valid license to teach in another U.S. state may also be able to teach in Arkansas through the state’s reciprocal agreement program but some conditions apply.
What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the State of Arkansas?
Arkansas is among America’s least populous states, reporting a statewide population just under 3 million residents. Nevertheless, in 2015, Arkansas had 1,082 public schools and employed an estimated 33,000 teachers. It is also one of the few U.S. states with a mandatory full-day kindergarten program. In 2015, there were 1,960 kindergarten teachers in the state. Elementary teachers accounted for 11,690 teachers statement and middle and high school teachers accounted for 16,200 teachers. Arkansas is also home to several thousands postsecondary level educators. Job prospects for teachers in Arkansas are expected to hold steady in the coming years. Shortage areas include bilingual educators, foreign language educators, reading specialists, and science and math educators.
What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in Arkansas?
- The Arkansas Department of Education is the main governing body for teachers in the State of Arkansas. Their website contains important links to information on teacher licensure, statewide educational policies, and curricular resources.
- Arkansas teachers are represented by the Arkansas State Teacher’s Association (ASTA)—a non-unionized teacher’s association representing the needs of teachers statewide. ASTA‘s website provides information for teachers and aspiring teachers on professional development opportunities, policies and grants.
- Subject-based teacher organizations in Arkansas include the Arkansas Science Teachers Association, Arkansas Council of Teachers of Math, and Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts.
- Finally, the Arkansas Association for Educational Administrators hosts a job board, featuring current openings for both teachers and administrators across the state.
What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of Arkansas?
There are several online education programs in Arkansas. At Southern Arkansas University, aspiring teachers who have already completed a bachelor’s degree can pursue on online Master of Arts in teaching, leading to licensure. At the University of Arkansas, aspiring high school math teachers can pursue an online master of arts of secondary mathematics. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers online master’s degrees in both learning systems technology and reading. Aspiring principals can pursue a master’s degree in School Leadership, Management, and Administration through the University of Central Arkansas online program.