Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Arkansas Teacher Certification and Licensure

Arkansas teachers hold licensing as educators and endorsement in particular areas of teaching. Teaching is a diverse profession with many options at the bachelor’s level and higher. Teaching licensure is granted on the basis of education and assessment. Arkansas is in the process of implementing a tiered licensure system.

Educator Program Options

Content is often embedded within baccalaureate programs. In Arkansas, these programs are CAEP-accredited; they meet a rigorous set of standards.

Programs for post-baccalaureate students may or may award college credit. Those that don’t are termed nontraditional. The Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure (APPEL) is a state alternative program that allows a professional to be employed as teacher of record while completing requirements for professional licensing.

Post-baccalaureate students may instead opt for programs that award graduate credit and include a traditional student teaching experience. There are plenty of options outlined in Arkansas’ Matrix for Approved Educator Preparation Programs (

Arkansas mandates the following brief trainings which may be included as part of the original program: parental involvement, child mistreatment, dyslexia awareness.

Teaching Endorsements

Prospective teachers will earn one or more endorsements with their initial license. They can add more later; there are a wide variety available.

A teacher can earn initial licensure as an elementary generalist, endorsed for all grades K-6. He or she can opt instead to teach core subjects at the secondary or middle level. These two bands overlap; the middle grades credential covers grades 4-8 while the secondary credential covers grades 7-12. There are more endorsements available at the secondary level than the middle level; some are quite specialized.

Additional subjects are offered for grades K-12, a limited number for grades 4-12. The following are examples of some of the options for initial licensure:

  • Integrated early childhood/ special education (Birth-Kindergarten)
  • Vocal music (K-12)
  • Drama/ speech (K-12)
  • Special education (K-12)
  • Middle level English/ language arts (4-8)
  • Computer science (4-12)
  • Agriculture (7-12)
  • Secondary social studies (7-12)
  • Secondary mathematics (7-12)
  • Physics/mathematics (7-12)

How easy it will be to add particular endorsements through testing depends in part on one's current credentialing. The new endorsement does not have to be the same grade band as the original license but can't be too far. An elementary K-6 teacher could add a 4-8 endorsement by testing but not a 4-12 or 7-12 endorsement; either of these would necessitate a new program. Teachers at any grade band can add a K-12 endorsement. Some endorsement areas, though, are considered considered exception and can’t be added by testing alone.

Special education, for example, requires completion of a program. A special education resource endorsement may be issued as K-6 or 7-12 and may be added to an elementary or middle grade license or to a secondary license if issued in one of three core curricular areas identified in state rule. Current rules call for 12 credit hours of coursework. Ultimately, it’s the college that determines that requirements have been met; a licensure officer will sign.

Arkansas Teacher Assessment

Prospective teachers take pedagogy tests and subject-specific tests.

Arkansas uses Praxis examinations to assess subject-specific knowledge and teaching skills. Information is available on the ETS website (

The Foundations of Reading test is required for both elementary (K-6) and special education (K-12) teachers. Pearson Education maintains a webpage with detailed information (

Arkansas Teacher License Reciprocity: Out-of-State Teachers

Arkansas can extend reciprocity to teachers who have completed accredited programs or achieved National Board certification. Reciprocity can be extended to teachers who completed other state-approved programs at institutions of higher learning provided that they hold standard licensure.

If a teacher has less than three years of experience or his or her out-of-state license is expired, the licensing agency will impose additional requirements. The teacher may be granted a provisional license to authorize employment while completing testing requirements.

Out-of-state applicants will submit documentation of tests they took for licensure (if applicable). They may register for tests after notification of deficiency (

If a particular endorsement requires Arkansas history, a teacher can get a provisional without it. Reciprocity packets can be requested at ‘ade.educatorlicensure at

Qualified teachers can be issued the Arkansas credentials that best align with their out-of-state endorsements. In some cases, a teacher may be issued a license with an endorsement that was issued in Arkansas in the past but is no longer available to new program completers.

The Application Process

Arkansas requires background checks at the application level. In-state applicants may opt for electronic fingerprinting. Out-of-state applicants will use the forms they receive in their reciprocity packet.

The application process is available online. Paper forms can be requested at ‘ade.educatorlicensure at’.

Arkansas Educator Career Continuum

Emergency rules were promulgated in early 2018. One purpose: to institute a career ladder of sorts. Under new rules, a teacher is considered an Early Career Professional Educator until he or she has three years of experience. An Early Career Professional Educator credential is considered a form of standard license.

After three years, the teacher can become a Career Professional Educator, provided performance has been at an appropriate level. If the teacher is employed by the Arkansas public schools, the standard will be an ESSA rating of effective. New rules allow for progression to Lead Professional Educator or Master Professional Educator.

Additional Information

License and endorsement regulations are subject to continued change.

The Office of Educator Licensure can be reached at 501-682-4342 or ‘ade.educatorlicensure at’.