Alaska Teacher Placement
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Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we get at Alaska Teacher Placement. The page has links to detailed tutorials for some questions, and links to the correct page in our website to answer others.

Our Top FAQs!

How can I get help with completing my application?

This is our most common request for help, and the new ATP Applitrack database has its own help desk, and tutorials. You can find help with filling out the new resume forms and other associated documents here:

» Applitrack System Help

How much is the starting salary for teachers in Alaska?

This is complicated question, as each district has its own pay scale. There is no statewide pay scale.

I am certified in another state. Does Alaska have reciprocity?

Alaska does not call it that, but the short answer is "yes", if you are certified, and completed a pre-service teacher preparation program from an accredited school. There is a lot to know about this, and we've done our best to pull it together on the Getting Certified page.

I am a foreign national. Can I apply for Alaska teaching jobs?

Ah, another very common question. We created a separate page just to answer this one. The short answer is "Maybe" ;-)

» Foreign Teachers Working in Alaska

Where can I find answers to my many, many questions about living and working in Alaska?

We strongly suggest that you post your general questions to the ATP Forum. There is a very helpful group of Alaska teachers, principals and other administrators, as well as some state education officials, who regularly answer questions there.

Don't forget that this forum is fully searchable and you can find lots of good advice from those who came before you. When YOU get to be an Alaskan teacher, please continue to assist those interested in learning about teaching in our state by contributing your experiences and advice.

Other Common Questions

Is it true that I can have all my loans paid off if I teach in Alaska?

A definite maybe! The basics are that are very specific criteria that allow some teachers in low income schools to get part or all of their loans paid off.  Most rural, and many urban Alaskan schools with low income populations are eligible for various teacher loan forgiveness incentives. There is a database of which schools qualify as "low income" by year. You can apply even if the service was in the past, not your present position.

There are very specific criteria that allow some teachers in low income schools to get part or all of their loans paid off. The rules vary by loan type, certification area, school, and number of years you teach there, but range from $5,000 to 100% of your teacher loans forgiven or cancelled.

Again, this is not just for new teachers. If you meet the listed Stafford or Perkins loan criteria, and taught in one of these schools, you should really check it out. The list that the U.S. TCLI folks keep goes back to 1998, and as long as you fill out the form, and have the Chief Administrative Officer of the district you worked for sign it, you may get some repayment help. You can get credit for service in eligible schools that you've worked in since 1998. It's pretty cool, and I don't know why this program isn't better known!

You will need persistence. All of these programs place the burden on YOU, the teacher to pursue the right forms from your bank servicing (which typically does not want you to pay off early), the student aid offices of the schools you were enrolled in at the time of the loan. You then have to track down the certifying official in the school district you worked for in those years, and get their signature. Many districts are not well versed in the program, but it's usually the HR Director, Business Manager or Superintendent who will need to sign.

The database you want is called the "Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory".  It lists each year the designated public and private nonprofit elementary and secondary schools approved by the U.S. Department of Education as having a high concentration of students from low-income families.

TCLI Directory Database

Here is an export I did for LAST school year for Alaska schools and districts, sorted by district. As you can see, most of Alaska is represented (383 schools) on the approved list.  I tried to do this for 2017-18, but the data was searchable, but not exportable.  The number of Alaska schools eligible for TCLI designation does not vary much year-to-year, but there are some slight differences, so you must actually verify a school's status for each year you work there.  Be aware that although the vast majority of rural Alaskan schools qualify, there are exceptions in communities where parental income statistics are skewed by commercial fishing or other sources of income.

TCLI List for Alaska: 2016-17 SY - Filtering turned on to search by district or school name

In order - from best to worst - the loan forgiveness / cancellation programs are:

1) Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program - this one ROCKS. Almost all teachers in TCLI schools benefit, even during first two years, and you can have up to 100% "cancelled"!

2) Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program - Between $5,000 (everyone) and $17,500 (Special Ed, HS Math & Science) forgiven if in TCLI qualified school with 30% or more poverty level. Most rural Alaska schools will qualify.

3) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program - Aimed at public service employees, but school teachers count. Sort of a mythical thing. Started in 2007, but criteria say that you have to have 120 on-time,  full amount,  monthly payments before any benefit can be  had. That means, however, that NOBODY has gotten a penny, and won't until 2017. So, worth this is worth tracking if you qualify, or feel you might.

Whether new to the state, or an old hand, you can use the database above to search by year for eligibility of the building you were working in, or will work in. The list does not change much year to year for rural Alaska, so although not a guarantee, it's likely that a school on the list year after year in the past will also be on the list if you go to work there.

Is there a list of schools that hire for summer school programs?

No, not really. Districts may post summer teaching opportunities on our site late in the spring, but they usually hire their own teachers on "extra duty" contracts to take these positions. These positions usually do not count toward retirement contributions, and the rate of pay varies.

Is it true that districts will pay for your relocation to Alaska?

Not usually. There may be exceptions if a district gets in a bind, but the vast majority of districts will expect you to get you and your possessions up to Alaska on your own. Some do pay for a teacher's ticket from Anchorage to the village you will teach in, or will offer a stipend to help pay for some shipping. This is not nearly as common as it used to be.

What should I do about winter clothes?

We cover this topic on our Shopping Tips page. The short answer is that you buy some lightweight outdoor clothing that is good for parts of Alaska when you arrive in July or August, and then find out from other staff what sort of clothing is recommend. There are links to proven sources of winter clothing on the Shopping Tips page.