How to Become a Teacher in Arkansas

how to become a teacher in Arkansas

Now is the time to become an Arkansas teacher. In five easy steps, you can transition into a new career. Teaching is a unique profession because it gives you the opportunity to change the lives of others. Even if you did not earn a bachelor’s degree in Education, it does not mean your opportunity to become a teacher in Arkansas is over. Follow this guide to make your dream of becoming an Arkansas teacher a reality.

This is not a journey to take alone. Organize your steps and find partners along the way. We have started the work for you and outlined the steps below for how to become an Arkansas teacher. Use the links in this guide and reach out to the suggested resources and organizations. There are many opportunities in teaching, and we want to help you. So, let’s get started!

Becoming a Teacher in Arkansas

1. Obtain a Teaching Degree

To become a teacher in Arkansas, you must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. If you major in education, your university will guide you through the steps to becoming a certified teacher in Arkansas. If you have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program, there are other pathways to earn an Arkansas teaching license.

2. Complete an Educator Preparation Program

In Arkansas, candidates must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. You can view a list of approved teacher training programs through the Arkansas Department of Education website. Many programs allow you to work in an Arkansas school while meeting licensure requirements.  You can find traditional and alternative programs here.

3. Take the Required Testing

Test registration takes place on the Praxis website. All candidates seeking an Arkansas Teaching License must take at least two initial exams:

  • Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)
    • (5621) PLT: Early Childhood
    • (5622) PLT: Grades K-6
    • (5623) PLT: Grades 5-9
    • (5624) PLT: Grades 7-12
    • (5841) World Language Pedagogy
    • Praxis Content Knowledge Assessment(s)
    • (190) Foundations of Reading Assessment (if applicable)

4. Apply for Certification

Once you have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program and passed the required Arkansas Teacher Certification Examinations, you can apply for certification through the Arkansas Educator Licensure System (AELS). Each candidate seeking certification in Arkansas will need to complete a background check and submit the required documentation when filling out an application for licensure. You may request a paper application by following the directions here.

5. Apply to a Teaching Position

Once you have received your teaching license, you can begin to apply for a teaching position. You can find job listings on the job boards found here. You can search each district in Arkansas by using their website to view job listings. In order to have a successful job search, you will want to write a resume and cover letter tailored to the position you are seeking. Also, think of at least two professors, colleagues, or supervisors who can serve as references for you during your job search.

How to Become a Teacher at Various Grade Levels

Here are the lists of content knowledge assessment choices by grade level.

Basic Skills Assessment

  • 5713 Core Academics Skills for Educators: Reading
  • 5723 Core Academics Skills for Educators: Writing
  • 5733 Core Academics Skills for Educators: Mathematics
  • 5752 Core Academics Skills for Educators: Combined Test (all three tests)

Early Childhood-Pre-K and Elementary School K-6: (5024) Education of Young Children EC-Pre-K

  • (5001) Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects K-6 (all subtests)
  • (5002) Reading and Language Arts Subtest K-6
  • (5003) Mathematics Subtest K-6
  • (5004) Social Studies Subtest K-6
  • (5005) Science Subtest  K-6

Middle School Education 4-8:

  • (5047) Middle School English Language Arts
  • (5164) Middle School Mathematics
  • (5442) Middle School Science
  • (5089) Middle School Social Studies

Secondary Education 7-12: 

  • (5235) Biology: Content Knowledge 7-12
  • (5245) Chemistry: Content Knowledge 7-12
  • (5652) Computer Science 7-12
  • (5641) Theatre 7-12
  • (5571) Earth and Space Sciences: Content Knowledge 7-12
  • (5163) Geometry 7-12
  • (5224) Journalism 
  • (5165) Mathematics 7-12
  • (5265) Physics: Content Knowledge  7-12
  • (5081) Social Studies: Content Knowledge 7-12
  • (5038) English Language Arts: Content Knowledge 5-6 endorsement 
  • (5221) Speech Communication: Content Knowledge 7-12

All Grades K-12

  • (5134) Art: Content Knowledge
  • (5113) Music: Content Knowledge
  • (5115) Music: Instrumental and General Knowledge
  • (5116) Music: Vocal and General Knowledge
  • (5857) Health and Physical Education: Content Knowledge

World Languages K-12

  • (0634) ASL Proficiency Interview 
  • (5665) Chinese (Mandarin): World Language
  • (5362) English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • (5174) French: World Language
  • (5183) German: World Language 
  • (5661) Japanese: World Language
  • (5601) Latin
  • (5671) Russian: World Language
  • (5195) Spanish: World Language

Administrator/School Leader

Special Education

  • (5023) Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education B-K
  • (5354) Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications
  • (5511) Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge
  • (5692) Special Education: Early Childhood/Early Intervention
  • (5358) Gifted Education
  • (5272) Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hearing Students 
  • (5282) Special Education: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments 

All Career and Technical Areas 

  • (5701) Agriculture 7-12(
  • 5101) Business Education: Content Knowledge 4-12
  • (5122) Family and Consumer Sciences 7-12
  • (5561) Marketing Education 7-12

Instructional Support Personnel

  • (5511) Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge
  • (5091) Physical Education: Content Knowledge
  • (5421) Professional School Counselor
  • (1755) ParaPro Assessment
  • (5311) Library Media Specialist
  • (5302) Reading Specialist
  • (5402) School Psychologist
  • (5331) Speech-Language Pathology

Renewing Your Teaching Certification

Once you obtain your Arkansas Professional Teaching Certificate, you will need to renew it every five years. To renew, educators must:

  1. Complete the required professional development hours
  2. Submit a new Background Check
  3. Complete the Child Maltreatment Central Registry Form
  4. Complete a Renewal Application
  5. during the fifth year of the validity of the certificate (expires December 31st).
  6. Pay the $75 renewal application fee.

Complete steps of how to renew your teaching certificate are on the DESE and ADE websites.

Teaching Job Outlook and Salary in Arkansas

The state of Arkansas had more than 400 thousand students enrolled in its 259 school districts in 2023. According to the ADE data center, the state had over 32,000 certified teachers in their charter and public schools. Each district’s pay scales vary, so be sure to research district pay scales before filling out your job applications. These pay scales will be on each district’s website. In general, most school districts pay more than the state minimum salary, which was $35,799 in 2021.

Arkansas School Districts With the Highest Average Salaries

According to the 2022 Adequacy Study, the following five districts offered the top average salary for Arkansas teachers in 2021. The starting pay for teachers in these school districts ranged from about $58,000 to $61,000 annually.

  1. Fayetteville Public Schools($61,682)
  2. Bentonville Schools($60,831)
  3. Springdale Public Schools($60,531)
  4. Rogers Public Schools($60,413)
  5. Lakeside School District($48,450)

Can You Be a Teacher Without a Degree in Arkansas?

The short answer is no. A bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program are required to be a fully-certified classroom teacher in Arkansas. However, you can become a Paraprofessional who provides instructional support by completing the following:

  1. An associates degree,
  2. Two years of post-secondary education (60 semester hours), or
  3. passing the (1755) Praxis ParaPro Assessment
  4. with a score of 457

Arkansas also offers employment opportunities for high school students interested in a career in Education.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching in Arkansas

Which teaching positions are in-demand?

The US Department of Education reported in 2022-2023 that Arkansas had a teacher shortage of Art and Music K-12, World Languages K-12, Science 7-12, Computer Science 4-12, and Social Studies 7-12 teachers. You can view in-demand teaching positions on the US Department of Education website by filtering teacher shortage reports.

What is the average salary for teachers in Arkansas?

According to salary.com, the average Arkansas teacher made $51,955 in 2023. However, most teachers typically fall between an average salary of $43,000 and $63,000. Depending on the criteria for averaging districts, the numbers will differ. In general, teachers in rural areas make less, and teachers in urban or suburban areas make more. According to the Arkansas Senate, the average salary in urban school districts was about $54,000, while the average in rural school districts was about $47,000.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Arkansas?

Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, which takes approximately four years, you will then need to complete a state-approved educator preparation program. When you finish your teacher preparation program, you will then take your initial Arkansas licensure examinations and apply for an Arkansas teacher licensure. Then, in less than five years, you will be ready to teach in Arkansas!

How much does it cost to become a teacher in Arkansas?

Becoming a teacher in Arkansas requires a financial commitment. The main initial cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree will vary widely from person to person. If you are majoring in education, or know you are going directly into the field upon graduation, look into grant and loan programs. You can find information about financial support and grants on the Arkansas DESE and ADE websites here.

In addition to the bachelor’s degree, other costs associated with becoming an Arkansas teacher include the required teacher preparation program, state certification tests ($130-$180), and license and background check fees. Plan ahead for the financial costs, and your teaching career will be off to a great start.

What other certifications can teachers in Arkansas obtain?

The short answer is…many! After you receive your initial certification, you can take additional certification tests and become certified in other teaching areas. Endorsements may be added by taking the required Praxis exam(s) or a program of study and the required exam(s). You can find more information on adding an endorsement here.


Are you ready to become an Arkansas-certified teacher? 240 can help! 240Tutoring.com offers FREE Arkansas exam resources to help you master your certification tests. When you subscribe to 240 Tutoring, you will gain access to every 240 Praxis® Study Guide for Arkansas for one monthly price. With the 240 Tutoring Pass Guarantee, it is no wonder so many are choosing 240 to pass their Arkansas exams. We wish you the best on your journey to becoming an Arkansas-certified teacher!

Interested in becoming a teacher in a different state? Check out these additional articles:

How to Become a Teacher in Texas
How To Become a Teacher in North Carolina
How To Become a Teacher in Florida
How to Become a Teacher in Ohio
How to Become a Teacher in Illinois
How to Become a Teacher in Tennessee
How to Become a Teacher in Virginia
How to Become a Teacher in Wisconsin
How to Become a Teacher in Colorado