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.

Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate

Also known as the ABC approach, the Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate pathway to licensure is available to those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed more than five professional educator preparation courses and have never held a teaching certificate. Candidates must pass the Alabama basic skills assessments and the appropriate Praxis II exams for the grade level and subject area to be taught.

After meeting the basic requirements above, applicants must receive an employment offer from an Alabama school district to qualify for this pathway, as the school district must apply for a Special Alternative Certificate on the candidate’s behalf. Candidates then complete 12 semester hours of coursework in 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 Class B Professional Educator Certificate. Candidates can earn up to three endorsement areas.

Alternative Class A (Master’s Degree)

Candidates for the Alternative Class A approach must have a bachelor’s degree and be unconditionally admitted to an approved Alabama master’s degree program for alternative educator preparation. The degree program may then request a Special Alternative Certificate for the candidate which allows him or her to teach while completing coursework for the master’s degree. The Special Alternative Certificate is valid for up to three years. Upon successful completion of the program, candidates are eligible for a Class A Professional Educator Certificate.

Career and Technical Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate

Those who wish to teach career and technical education subjects and who have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they wish to teach may qualify for the Career and Technical Alternative Baccalaureate-Level Certificate. Candidates must have at least a 2.5 GPA overall with at least 32 credit hours in the subject to be taught. Candidates must have not completed more than five professional educator preparation courses and may not have previously held a teaching certificate.

Those who meet the qualifications must earn passing scores on the state’s basic skills exam as well as the appropriate Praxis II exam(s) and obtain employment through a school district, which then recommends the candidate for an evaluation for an alternative certificate. Once a certificate is issued, candidates must teach full-time while completing a school-based mentoring program and at least 12 credit hours of an approved educator preparation program. You can view approved courses through the State Department of Education.

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.

Additional Resources

Alabama State Department of Education
Alabama Approved Educator Preparation Institutions

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in Alabama

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these specific programs:

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