The minimum educational requirement for earning an Alabama teaching license is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Many of the largest teaching schools in Alabama also offer the best preparatory courses for teachers, according to national rankings. Those seeking an Alabama teacher certification often choose to attend an Alabama college to expedite the certification process.
A number of teaching schools in Alabama are nationally ranked, including three schools ranked by top 100 colleges for education programs, according to U.S. News & World Report: Auburn University, University of Alabama, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Samford University in Birmingham has a much smaller enrollment, but also receives some recognition for its College of Education.
Auburn University’s College of Education received a rank of 77th overall nationally by U.S. News & World Report‘s 2012 rankings for best education schools, sharing its ranking with California’s San Diego State University. Auburn’s education school had an enrollment of 881 as of the 2012 rankings. The College of Education offers 44 different degree programs in areas such as foreign language education, kinesiology, and science education. About half of of the master’s degree programs available through Auburn University’s teaching school have an alternative master’s program for non-education bachelor’s degree holders.
Close behind Auburn’s educational program is the University of Alabama’s College of Education, ranked 79th nationally by U.S. News & World Report. In 2012, this teaching school had a full-time enrollment of 1,101. The University of Alabama’s College of Education has been awarded an “A” ranking three times by the Alabama State Department of Education’s institutional rating system. The teaching school offers 35 different educational degrees, including multiple programs within curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and psychology.
Education is a strong focus at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The School of Education at this university offers 29 undergraduate programs, 31 graduate programs, and 20 alternative master’s certification programs for those who want to obtain an Alabama teacher license. One of the college’s flagship programs is the UAB Children’s Creative Learning Center. This 41-year-old summer program offers six-week educational enrichment programs for young students that focus on increasing educational engagement by giving students more control over their study habits.
Often overshadowed by its close neighbor, the much larger UAB, Samford University is home to the nationally renowned Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies. The Beeson School offers education degrees of varying levels, including early childhood and secondary, as well as other degree programs in kinesiology, family studies, and nutrition science.