Alabama Alternative Teacher Certification

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in an area outside teaching but did not complete an educator preparation program, there are alternative pathways to earn Alabama teacher certification that may be a good fit. This page will help you find the right pathway to earn your teaching credential, which is required in order to teach in Alabama public schools as well as in many private schools in the state.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

The minimum requirement to qualify for alternative teacher certification in Alabama is a bachelor’s degree. Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education can typically earn certification by attending an educator preparation program or by completing a master’s degree in education. A master’s degree in a teachable subject that includes an approved certification program can also meet certification requirements.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Alabama

The non-traditional paths to teacher certification in Alabama offer flexible alternatives based on candidates’ educational background and professional experience. The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) provides further detail on these options, which are outlined below.

Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field

The Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field pathway to licensure is available to those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed professional educator preparation courses and have never held a teaching certificate. Candidates must be unconditionally admitted to an approved teacher preparation program to qualify and have a GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale plus meet qualifying scores on the appropriate Praxis exam(s) for the endorsement(s) that will be sought. Those with higher GPAs may have the Praxis score requirements waived.

Applicants must also receive an employment offer from an Alabama school district to qualify for this pathway, as the school district must apply for the certificate on the candidate’s behalf. Candidates then complete an approved educator preparation program and complete a mentoring program while teaching full time. You can view approved courses through the State Department of Education.

Successful completion leads to a Professional Educator Certificate. Candidates can earn up to three endorsement areas.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification

Candidates who have active National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in an area comparable to Alabama’s educator certificates may apply for certification by equivalency. Candidates must also have completed at least a bachelor’s degree (master’s degree for School Counselor or Library Media endorsements). After initial review, the Alabama Educator Certification Section will issue an eligibility letter for the candidate to take the appropriate Praxis exam(s) for the teaching certificate for which they are applying.

Emergency Certificate

An emergency certificate may be requested by the employing school superintendent if there are no qualified teachers to fill a vacant position. The emergency certificate candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. If issued, the emergency certificate is valid for up to two years but does not lead to professional certification in Alabama.

Testing Requirements for Alabama Alternative Certification

All candidates for Alabama teacher certification must take the same series of exams. Candidates typically take the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program: Basic Skills Assessment first, which measures competency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Candidates must also take the subject and grade-level specific Praxis II exam(s) appropriate to the endorsement areas sought. You can view the required Praxis II exam(s) through the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

For teachers who hold current and active educator certification in other states and want to teach in Alabama, reciprocity with Alabama is based on an evaluation of the candidate’s previous education and experience. For more information, contact the Alabama State Department of Education. You can also find out more about transferring teacher certification to Alabama on our guide to reciprocity.

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in Alabama

In order to become a teacher in Alabama, you must complete a certification program that has been approved by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). The following Alabama schools offer ALSDE-approved alternative certification programs leading to a certificate or master’s degree for prospective teachers:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Athens State University
  • Auburn University
  • Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Jacksonville State University
  • Faulkner University
  • Samford University
  • Stillman College
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • University of Alabama-Huntsville
  • University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa
  • University of Mobile
  • University of Montevallo
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of West Alabama

Additional Resources

1. Alabama State Department of Education: https://www.alsde.edu/sec/ec/Pages/home.aspx