Required certifications

Letter to certificated applicants

Certificated applicant:

If you are serious about pursuing employment with Hoonah City Schools I cannot stress enough how important it is to have an Alaska Teaching Certificate. I know there is a “cost” involved in the certification process, but being paid as a teacher instead of a substitute teacher will quickly offset any savings that were accrued by waiting.


The Certification process is done by the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) in Juneau. They are very busy prior to the start of each school year and can often take four to eight weeks to process a “yellow card” (a yellow postcard-sized document indicating the state has received a valid and complete application that allows a new hire to sign a contract and be processed as a teacher).

State regulations do not allow you to sign a teaching contract — and be paid at a teacher rate — without a valid Alaska State certificate or yellow card. This means that should we offer you a teaching position, you can only work as a substitute at the substitute pay rate until you have your yellow card or Alaska State certificate.

This regulation applies to all certificated positions, whether it is a teaching, nurse, counseling, librarian, administrative or related services position.

For specific state certificate information and the certificate application forms go to the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development website.

 I urge you to use the DEED e-mail address, put communications in writing as much as possible, and use confirming (receipt received, etc.) mail tools to ensure DEED has received your application and supporting materials. Although the Hoonah City Schools can answer general questions about certification, it is DEED that determines whether an applicant can receive a certificate. Therefore, inquiries should be directed to DEED using their e-mail address:

 Please remember, it is extremely important that you maintain a valid address with DEED after you submit your certification application. See the teacher certification Web site to change your contact information.

Highly Qualified designation:

Under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, all K-12 public school teachers must be highly qualified to teach core academic subjects. This designation is what we mean when we speak of someone being a “Highly Qualified Teacher” (HQT).

Just knowing that you meet an HQT option — or saying you do in your online application — is not sufficient to be considered as an HQT. You can obtain an HQT designation via Education (Major or Major equivalency), National Board Certification, Praxis II, HOUSSE or State Reciprocity.

NCLB requires Alaska school districts to have all of their core content classes taught by teachers who are highly qualified. An HQT designation is not required for nurses, librarians, counselors, administrators, related services (speech pathologist, school psychologist, OT/PT, etc.) and positions that are not considered to have core content (physical education and some electives). Music, art, theater and world languages all require an HQT designation.

To acquire an HQT designation requirement you must possess the following: 
A valid and appropriate Alaska state certificate or yellow card indicating that a valid and complete application is on file with the state.

We cannot approve your HQT designation request in MLP unless you possess a valid Alaska certificate or yellow card. You may, however, initiate and complete the MLP HQT request and documentation process so the approval can occur as soon as possible following the issue — and our receipt of — your certificate or yellow card.

HQT processes and designations vary from state to state so do not automatically assume because you are HQT in one state that you will be in Alaska. If you need further information on Highly Qualified Teaching  please visit our NCLB Teacher Resources Web page.

I strongly urge applicants who cannot get an HQT designation by any method other than the Praxis II exam to take and pass the Praxis II exam in their content area as soon as possible after applying for employment. 

There are many nuances with Alaska certification and HQT, so I strongly urge you not to make any assumptions. I encourage you to ask questions of the DEED. Protect yourself from unexpected consequences. Please see the listings in the “Resources” box on this page for assistance.

Thank you in advance for ensuring that you are eligible for hiring by taking care of any certification and/or HQT issues early and completely so that your hiring experience with the district is a smooth and pleasant process.



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