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. Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t already have your bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in Alabama. If you do already have a bachelor’s degree, 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 backgrounds 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 (PCTF)

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 or who have served in the US Armed Forces may have the Praxis score requirements waived. Candidates must also undergo background clearance.

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 programs through the State Department of Education.

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

Higher Education Transitional Certificate (HETC)

The Higher Education Transitional Certificate (HETC) can be requested by a superintendent wishing to employ a person who has teaching experience at a regionally-accredited college or university and holds a Letter of Eligibility. Applicants for the Letter of Eligibility must submit documentation of at least 72 semester hours of teaching experience at an accredited college or university. The HETC is valid for up to three years.

The HETC leads to a Professional Educator Certificate and is available in certain K-12, 4-8, and 6-12 teaching fields. After passing the coursework requirements with a grade of “C” or above, accumulating a year of full-time classroom experience, and passing the appropriate exams, candidates will be eligible for professional educator certification.

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: Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching, edTPA Educative Teacher Performance Assessment, and Foundations of Reading. Candidates must also take thePraxis Subject Assessments (SAs) corresponding to the endorsement areas sought unless they qualify for a waiver. You can view the required Praxis 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 ALSDE. You can also find out more about transferring teacher certification to Alabama on our guide to reciprocity.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s 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 certification programs that typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree for prospective teachers:

  • Alabama A&M University (Master’s)
  • Alabama State University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Auburn University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Auburn University at Montgomery* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Jacksonville State University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Faulkner University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Samford University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Stillman College (Certificate)
  • Troy University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham (Alternative, Master’s), Huntsville* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), Tuscaloosa (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • University of Mobile (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of Montevallo* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • University of North Alabama (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of South Alabama (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of West Alabama* (Certificate, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Alabama State Department of Education: https://www.alabamaachieves.org/