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The Alabama Teaching and Certification Resource

The standard path to earning teacher certification in Alabama is to attend a four-year bachelor’s degree program that includes an approved educator preparation program. The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) oversees this process, which is discussed in further detail below for those who want to learn how to become a teacher in Alabama.

How to Become a Teacher in Alabama

Teaching in a K-12 public school and in many private K-12 schools requires active Alabama educator certification. To earn certification through the traditional route, prospective teachers must earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an educator preparation program and pass the state’s exams for prospective educators.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a field outside of education, explore our guide to alternative teacher certification in Alabama to learn more about your options.

Alabama does not currently use a tiered system for educator certification. The initial and standard certificate issued once basic requirements are met is the Professional Educator Certificate (Class B). However, to keep this certificate valid and active, candidates must “continue” the certificate or it will expire and become invalid. Documented professional development hours are required for certificate continuation. Candidates may earn advanced certificates, known as Class A certificates, by earning a master’s degree.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Alabama

Projected Job Growth

9%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in AL through 202215

The most direct route to Alabama teacher certification is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the desired certification area from a teacher education program at a college or university that has formal approval from the Alabama State Department of Education. You can view a list of approved programs through the department’s website.

Schools offering educator preparation programs, especially those located outside of Alabama, should be in good standing with one of the six regional accrediting bodies. Schools that do not hold accreditation from one of these six agencies will not qualify graduates for Alabama teacher licensure.

Schools may also hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which was formed through the merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation is held as a marker of quality teacher preparation that is recognized throughout the education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Alabama.

Alabama Teacher Outlook
The Alabama Department of Labor projects 210 average annual openings due to growth and 400 average annual openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 105 average annual openings due to growth and 195 average annual openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 60 average annual openings due to growth and 350 average annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers from 2012 to 2022.2 There are approximately 44,420 elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers, excluding special education, employed in Alabama according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 The average annual salary is $49,410 for elementary teachers, $48,480 for middle school teachers, and $49,880 for secondary school teachers in Alabama.3 Visit the Alabama Education Association for the latest news on issues impacting teachers in the state.

Alabama Teacher Education Requirements

All prospective teachers in Alabama must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved educator preparation program to become certified to teach. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 is required. Those who have a lower GPA may still qualify for certification if they complete a master’s degree program or a second bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 GPA.

Alabama Teacher Testing Requirements

Candidates who wish to obtain Alabama teacher certification must take two tests. The first exam, the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program: Basic Skills Assessment, measures competence in reading, writing, and mathematics. Candidates must also take the subject and grade-level specific Praxis II exam(s) appropriate to the endorsement areas they are seeking. You can view the required Praxis II exam(s) through the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Additional Alabama Teacher Certification Requirements

The next requirement for teacher certification in Alabama is a background check. Candidates who apply for initial certification must submit fingerprints through Cogent (3M) for a background check by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Alabama Teachers Licensing Application Process

To complete the application process to obtain Alabama teacher certification, you will need to complete the following steps.

  • Submit to a background check and fingerprinting with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and FBI.
  • Submit an application with required documentation, including official transcripts and verification of test scores through the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program and Praxis. Candidates must also provide a Recommendation for Certification from the educator preparation program attended.
  • Pay a non-refundable application fee.

Applications should be sent to:

Alabama State Department of Education
Educator Certification Section
PO Box 302101
Montgomery, AL 36130-2101

Visit the Alabama State Department of Education for further details on Alabama teacher certification.

Teacher Quote: “If teaching and working with children is truly what you want to do, stick with it no matter what others may say or think. I cannot think of a more rewarding calling one could have – to impact the lives of young people.” -Marla Vaughn, President of the Alabama Conference of Educators

Alabama Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 2,060 $27,710
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 60 $39,220
Kindergarten Teachers 2,040 $47,610
Elementary School Teachers 22,210 $49,410
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,520 $50,210
Middle School Teachers 9,350 $48,480
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 430 $49,500
Secondary School Teachers 12,860 $49,880
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 990 $50,920
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 1,340 $52,630

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Teacher Interviews

Interview with Julie Hicks, Alabama Kindergarten Teacher

Interview with Marla Vaughn, President of the Alabama Conference of Educators

Interview with Linda Dunnavant, Alabama Fifth Grade Teacher

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Alabama

Question: How can you become a substitute teacher in Alabama?

Answer: To become a substitute teacher in Alabama you must have a high school diploma, pass a background check, and receive a substitute license from the state. A substitute license is only issued with the recommendation of the employing school district. Individual districts may have more stringent education requirements than the state minimum of a high school diploma.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Alabama State Department of Education: http://www.alsde.edu/sec/ec/Pages/home.aspx
2. Alabama Department of Labor: http://www2.labor.alabama.gov/WorkforceDev/CareerExploration/Default2.aspx
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Alabama: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_al.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm