If you want to become a math teacher in Arkansas, complete the following steps:
The Arkansas Department of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in July 2010, calling them a “breakthrough in focus and coherence.” Common Core State Standards, according to the Department of Education, has helped students in Arkansas understand what is expected of them and allows them to become proficient in understanding and using mathematics. Further, theses standards allow Arkansas’ math teachers to understand what they need to do to help students learn and establish individualized benchmarks.
As a mathematics teacher in Arkansas, you will be required to focus on the Common Core State Standards and their conceptual understandings and procedures. The K-5 Common Core standards include providing students with a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals, while middle school standards focus on applying more demanding math concepts and procedures, such as geometry, algebra, and probability and statistics. High school standards include a rigorous framework that is designed for college and career readiness, with an emphasis on mathematical modeling.
Step 1. Complete a Traditional or Alternative Educator Preparation Program
There are a number of paths you may choose to achieve an Arkansas math teaching license, all of which are grounded in a comprehensive undergraduate or graduate education that includes all necessary coursework and pedagogy requirements.
Depending on your background and education, you may qualify for one of the following approved teacher preparation programs:
Traditional Educator Preparation Program
If you do not already have a math-related college education from a regionally accredited institution, the most logical educational path to become a math teacher in Arkansas is through the completion of one of Arkansas Department of Education’s approved educator preparation programs, which consist of all necessary components necessary for licensure.
There are currently 16 approved educator preparation program in Arkansas for mathematics.
Arkansas Professional Pathway to Educator Licensure (APPEL)
If you already possess a bachelor’s degree or higher in math from a regionally accredited institution and have passed the state-mandated assessments (see Step 2), you may apply for the APPEL program, which is designed to allow you to begin working as an Arkansas teacher while you complete all program requirements. Referred to as a two-year preparation program, the APPEL includes the following components:
- On-the-job professional learning
- Mentoring during the course of the program
- Face-to-face and inline instructional modules
As a participant in the APPEL program, you will be assigned a certified mentor who is responsible for providing support and focused feedback throughout the course of the program. Upon completion of the APPEL program, you will receive a Standard Arkansas teaching license.
The APPEL program, for some candidates, may result in a master’s degree. Approved alternative-route master’s degree programs for teacher licensure in Arkansas can be found here.
Provisional Professional Teaching License
If you are an experienced mathematics professional and you want to teach in Arkansas, you may qualify for the Provisional Professional Teaching License, a three-year provisional educator license. To qualify for this license, you must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university and possess at least three years of experience in a mathematics-related field.
You must also first pass all state-mandated basic skills assessment (see Step 2) and possess all appropriate background checks and an offer of employment from an Arkansas public school.
While teaching under a Provisional Professional Teaching License, you must complete at least 24 hours of training in pedagogy and. Upon expiration of this license, you must submit a summative evaluation and receive a recommendation by your employing school district to qualify for a standard, five-year educator license in Arkansas.
Step 2. Pass the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills Exam and the PRAXIS Content Examination in Mathematics
Regardless of which educational route you choose to educator licensure in Arkansas, you must complete the Arkansas Department of Education’s required assessments. All beginning teachers must pass the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.
If you plan to teach mathematics at the elementary level, content examinations are focused on multiple subjects:
- Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects
- Mathematics subtest
- Reading, language arts subtest
- Science subtest
- Social studies subtest; AND
- Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects
- Principles of Learning and Teaching, Grades K-6
However, if you plan to teach mathematics at the middle or high school level, you must take and pass the following content examinations:
Middle School Mathematics licensure area
- Middle School Mathematics; AND
- Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5061) or Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161)
Secondary Mathematics licensure area
- Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5061); AND
- Mathematics: Proofs, Models, and Problems (part 1); AND
- Principles of Learning and Teaching (Grades 7-12);
- Mathematics: Content Knowledge (5161); AND
- Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12
The PRAXIS II examinations chosen will determine your educator licensure area and grade level.
Information on registering to take the PRAXIS tests in Arkansas, including testing dates and locations, can be found here.
Step 3. Apply for your Provisional Math Teacher License
The first step, upon the successful completion of all educational and teacher preparation components, is to apply for a one-year provisional license during which time you work as a teacher under the guidance of a certified mentor who provides focused feedback regarding classroom management, professional behavior, and instructional skills. You must complete a mentoring program that is at least one year in length.
After you have successfully completed the one-year mentoring program, you may apply for a Standard Teacher License in Arkansas.
You must complete the Arkansas Educator License Application and pay the $75 application fee through the online system.
Step 4. Apply for and Maintain a Standard Educator License in Math
Once you have successfully completed your mentoring program under a provisional educator license or have completed the APPEL or provisional professional teaching license program, you must apply for a standard Arkansas teaching license by completing an Arkansas Educator License Application and paying the $75 application fee through the online system.
The standard Arkansas teaching license is valid for a period of five years. To renew your standard license, you must complete a renewal application, pay the $75 renewal fee online through the online system, and show proof of the completion of at least 60 hours of professional development.
You must send your renewal application and all required documentation regarding the completion of your professional development hours to the Office of Educator Licensure.
You can attend a host of mathematics-related professional development opportunities through membership in state and national associations:
- Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Arkansas Association of Mathematics Leaders
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics