Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Arkansas Qualified Teacher (AQT)


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The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) rescinded the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) provisions in No Child Left Behind.
The Arkansas Department of Education has instituted Arkansas Qualified Teacher (AQT) requirements.
>AQT is NOT a pathway to becoming a licensed teacher.
>AQT IS solely a way for teachers to demonstrate content knowledge in the subject they teach.
  1. 1. A teacher is teaching in a Core Academic Subject Area for which licensure is otherwise required but where the licensure requirements have been legally waived by one of the following provisions:

                   1.  Act 1240 of 2015 Approval to Waive Licensure

                   2.  Charter School Approval to Waive Licensure

                   3.  School of Innovation Approved Waiver of Licensure, or    

  1. 2. A teacher is teaching Core Academic Subject Areas in Special Education or in an Alternative Learning Environment (ALE)
An Arkansas Qualified Teacher must have (1) a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and (2) demonstrated content knowledge in the Core Academic subject area being taught (See AQT Rules), and, when applicable (3) a Special Education license for a Special Education class, or a teaching license when teaching in an Alternative Learning Environment (ALE); except where licensure is officially waived.

Core Academic Subject Areas are: 

Early Childhood (Elementary) | English Language Arts | Science
Social Studies | Foreign Language | Mathematics | Music | Art
Teachers in the above circumstance(s) must be designated as AQT for that subject content and grade level.

Demonstration of content knowledge may be achieved by any one of the following:

  • Passed a content area assessment approved by the State Board of Education for the subject/content/grade level the educator will teach
  • Passed a content exam which was accepted as demonstration of content knowledge for a teaching license in another state that is acceptable through reciprocity for an Arkansas teaching license
  • Has a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in the content area
  • Has a minimum of 18 college credit hours in the content area
  • Has National Board Certification in the content area
  • Has documented successful, relevant work experience in the content area to be taught, established by at least one year of employment in a specific field or occupation that required the educator to demonstrate knowledge and skills in the content area. This is to be supported by two professional letters of recommendation from the educator’s employers or supervisors.

For Special Education or ALE teachers who do not meet any of the above conditions, demonstration of content knowledge may be met by either: 

  A.   Achieving a passing score on the Praxis® Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge Exam (5511), with a minimum score of 148, or  

  B.   Having the appropriate number of points via the Arkansas High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (ARHOUSSE) matrix on one of the AQT Designation Forms below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about transitions from previous Highly Qualified Teacher legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), can be found in items A-4b, C-7, D-1a, D-1b, D-2, D-3 and D-4 at ESEA Transition FAQs.

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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