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Teaching Programs in Alabama

Southern states have among the highest rate of teacher turnover in the nation—over 16% as of 2017—but Alabama has taken steps to improve this in recent years by incentivizing teachers who work in high-need areas and adding resources for leadership development. In 2018, the state doubled its stipend for National Board Certified Teachers in schools with higher needs, offering $10,000 to teachers who fit that description. They also offer competitive pay to those who pursue leadership positions.

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher in Alabama, you can rest assured that your state is actively working to improve the professional development and support of its teachers.

How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Alabama?

The fastest way to earn a teaching certificate in Alabama is to complete a bachelor’s degree from a state-approved, regionally accredited educator preparation program and institution. Depending on the grade and subject you’re interested in teaching, you’ll be required to complete courses in your chosen subject as well as classes specific to pursuing a career in education. You’ll also often complete an internship or student teaching practicum to gain first-hand experience in the classroom. You’ll typically graduate with a B.S. or B.A. in education.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree or you want to complete advanced studies in education, you can also pursue a master’s degree and can even opt to earn a doctoral degree as well. A master’s degree may provide advanced knowledge of teaching methodologies and deepen your understanding of how to successfully teach students with diverse backgrounds and needs, while a Ph.D. is more common for those seeking to become school administrators, psychologists, or other specialists.

Once you’ve completed your education, you’ll also need to fulfill the following state requirements before you are issued a teaching certificate:

  • Complete state-approved PRAXIS exams for your grade level and subject
  • Complete a background check and fingerprint card
  • Submit your application, along with formal transcripts, to the State Department of Education

Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher

The state of Alabama also provides several alternative pathways to becoming a teacher. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field already, there are various ways to earn an Alabama teaching certificate.

If you’re interested in teaching elementary grades (K–3) or early education, you’ll need to complete an approved educator preparation program before applying for a certificate.

For middle grades (4–8), you have the option of working toward a Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field (PCTF) by completing a three-year work period in a school, along with passing tests and submitting coursework.

If you want to teach secondary grades, you have the option of pursuing either the provisional certificate or an educator preparation program.

There are also several instances where a school or district administrator can request that an employee be issued a provisional certificate through an alternative route:

  • Adjunct Instructor Permit: This allows you to teach as an adjunct instructor in a K–12 school up to half time and is valid for three years.
  • Emergency Certification: For teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited university, this certificate is valid for up to two years but does not replace a professional certificate.
  • Interim Employment Certificate (IEC): If you’re currently enrolled in an approved educator preparation program, you may be eligible for a provisional certificate, which allows you to teach while you complete your program.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in Alabama

As in most states, the pathways to becoming a career and technical education teacher (CTE) are a little different. In Alabama, there are several ways to transition to a career as a CTE teacher, whether you’re already in a teaching role or just starting out. While you don’t always need a bachelor’s degree, you will need to demonstrate occupational proficiency through professional experience and/or testing, complete a background check, and submit an application (with a $30 fee) to apply.

Here are the pathways to becoming a CTE teacher in Alabama:

  • Additional Teaching Field: If you’re already licensed to teach, you can obtain additional certification in a technical or health services field, or add an endorsement through relevant coursework.
  • Conversion Certificate: If you hold a valid Alabama teaching certificate, you can elect to convert your area of specialty to a CTE specialty area.
  • Health Sciences Certificate: You need a bachelor’s or master’s equivalent to get licensed as a health sciences teacher, and your educational background and subject matter expertise will determine the length of time you’re licensed for. To demonstrate degree equivalency, you’ll need to log your years of relevant work experience and detail professional licenses you’ve earned as part of your training.
  • Career and Technical Certificate: Similarly, your years of professional experience in a technical field can count as a bachelor’s or higher equivalent to help you get licensed as a CTE teacher. You’ll also need to meet any professional licensing requirements in your specialty.
  • Temporary Certificate: A school superintendent employee can issue a temporary, two-year CTE certificate for those who are able to demonstrate occupational proficiency.

Alabama also allows CTE teachers with a valid certificate to apply and qualify for a professional certificate with master’s level equivalency in either a technical or health services specialty.

Teachers Moving to Alabama from a Different State

If you move to Alabama with a valid teacher’s license, you can apply for an Alabama certificate through reciprocity. The state accepts teaching credentials from any U.S. state, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, or the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

You may also be eligible for a state license if you move from another country and have completed an approved teacher preparation program that follows a similar pathway to certification in Alabama.

Your current credentials will need to match the grade level and discipline you’re applying to teach, and in addition to a valid certificate, you’ll still need to submit some other materials to qualify:

  • An application, including a $30 fee
  • Background check and fingerprint cards
  • Verification of citizenship
  • Completion of Alabama-approved PRAXIS exam(s)

Finally, if you’re National Board certified in another state, you can apply for an Alabama teaching certificate. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you’ve completed Alabama-approved PRAXIS tests and have accrued at least two years of classroom experience.

Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for Alabama Teachers

Job prospects for teachers in Alabama are steady and on par with the national average, with an estimated 3% growth over the next decade. However, salaries for teachers in Alabama can be slightly lower than average. Elementary school teachers, for example, earn around $50,000 per year in the state, compared to the national mean average of $62,200. However, with the lower-than-average cost of living factored in, it is still possible to have a successful and comfortable career in teaching in Alabama.

Career 2018 Mean Salary Projected Job Growth 2018–2028
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education $49,850 3%
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education $50,210 3%
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education $51,180 3%
Postsecondary Teaching $84,610* Varies by subject

*Averaged from all Alabama postsecondary salaries

Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth data from O*Net.

 

Teacher Training Programs in Alabama

When you’re ready to begin researching teacher programs in Alabama, make sure to start by consulting the Alabama State Board of Education’s list of approved programs. Enrolling in a state-approved degree program should make it easier to get certified later. Here is a sampling of approved teacher degree programs in Alabama to get you started.

Athens State University (Athens, Alabama)

Athens State has been educating students since 1822, and today boasts several degrees designed to meet the needs of all aspiring teachers. The school’s education department partners with the College of Arts & Sciences to offer several bachelor’s degrees plus certification to teach at the secondary level. They also offer eight certification programs for early education and an M.Ed. in career and technical education, which is offered entirely online. Several of the school’s undergraduate programs are also available online, with five bachelor’s degrees, four certificate programs, and a minor in instructional design to choose from.

2019-2020 Tuition

  • Resident undergraduate: $206 per credit hour
  • Nonresident undergraduate: $412 per credit hour
  • Online/hybrid resident undergraduate: $246 per credit hour
  • Online/hybrid nonresident undergraduate: $500 per credit hour
  • Resident graduate: $289 per credit hour
  • Nonresident graduate: $500 per credit hour
  • Online/hybrid graduate: $289 per credit hour

Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, Alabama)

JSU offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in education in four primary areas—counseling and instructional support, curriculum and instruction, family and consumer sciences, and secondary education. The school also offers most of these programs online, with their online degrees designed to match the on-campus experience. Tuition for online degree programs costs $377 per credit hour for undergraduates and $400 for graduate students.

2019-2020 Tuition

  • Resident undergraduate: $324 per credit hour
  • Nonresident undergraduate: $648 per credit hour
  • Online undergraduate: $377 per credit hour
  • Resident graduate: $400 per credit hour
  • Nonresident graduate: $800 per credit hour
  • Online graduate: $400 per credit hour

Troy University (Troy, Alabama)

Troy University was founded as a teacher’s college in 1887, and today is one of the few universities in the state that offers a Ph.D. in global leadership to students, as well as a broad teacher preparation program that includes not only educators and administrators, but also counselors and interpreters. The school has four campuses and an online branch, and aspiring teachers can choose from over 40 bachelor’s or master’s degrees, as well as an associate degree in general education. Most of Troy’s programs also have an online equivalent.

2019-2020 Tuition

  • Undergraduate resident: $325 per credit hour
  • Undergraduate nonresident: $650 per credit hour
  • Undergraduate online: $338 per credit hour
  • Graduate resident: $425 per credit hour
  • Graduate nonresident: $850 per credit hour
  • Graduate online: $494 per credit hour

University of Mobile (Mobile, Alabama)

The regional University of Mobile offers 11 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs at its College of Education, for those pursuing a certificate and for non-certificate programs. Students can choose to focus on either early childhood or elementary education, or from six subjects at the secondary level. Their M.A. in education is offered solely online and prepares students for Class A or Class B certification.

2018-2019 Undergraduate Tuition

  • 12-17 Credit Hours: $10,810 per semester
  • Fewer than 12/greater than 17 credit hours: $772 per credit hour

2018-2019 Graduate Tuition: $460 per credit hour

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

The UA College of Education offers six B.S. degrees in education that prepare students for state certification in early childhood elementary education, physical education, music education, secondary education, and special education. They also offer 14 master’s degrees and 18 doctoral degrees to graduate students looking to pursue counseling, school psychology, educational leadership, instructional technology, and more. A number of advanced degree programs are also offered in either an online or blended format.

2019-2020 Undergraduate Tuition

  • In-state: $10,750 per year
  • Out of state: $30,250 per year

2019-2020 Graduate Tuition

  • Resident, 9-15 credit hours: $5,390 per semester
  • Nonresident, 9-15 credit hours: $15,125 per semester
  • Resident, fewer than nine credit hours: $615 per credit hour
  • Nonresident, fewer than nine credit hours: $1,550 per credit hour

Alabama Teacher Resources

Whether you’re already a teacher working within the Alabama educational system or just starting out on a new career journey, the following resources may prove useful: