Alabama's commitment to improving its education system has led to exciting changes. Home to nearly 1,500 public schools and over 700,000 students, the state takes pride in its Alabama Reading Initiative, which supports the improvement of literacy instruction in K-12 schools, and in its First Class program, which is a voluntary preschool program that prepares Alabama students for kindergarten and beyond. The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) maintains an annual state report card to help educators, parents, students, and others understand school rankings and performance levels. The state also recently raised salaries for teachers working in K-12 education and in two-year post-secondary institutions.
There are several on-campus and online teaching degrees in Alabama. Earning a teaching degree online is ideal for students who wish to live off-campus, or who require a more flexible schedule due to family or career commitments. Depending on reciprocity agreements, you may be able to earn your teaching degree through an online program in another state but live and teach in Alabama. As in all other states, students seeking licensure must comply with state teaching requirements in Alabama.
How to Become a Teacher in Alabama
The requirements to become a teacher are different for every state. All superintendents, assistant superintendents, supervisors, principals, and teachers in Alabama public schools must have teaching certification. Prospective educators with bachelor's degrees or master's degrees in education can earn traditional teaching certificates, while students who have bachelor's or master's degrees in fields other than education can earn alternative teaching certificates.
the requirements for transferring an Alabama teaching certification to another state depends on that particular state's requirements
Students who received their teaching licenses in other states should check with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) for more information about how their licenses will transfer to Alabama. Whether or not a teaching license from another state transfers to Alabama depends on the candidate's background and teaching experience. Similarly, the requirements for transferring an Alabama teaching certification to another state depends on that particular state's requirements.
Prospective educators who wish to begin teaching in Alabama must have a bachelor's degree in education, which typically takes four years to complete. After completing their bachelor's program, prospective teachers should take the state's basic skills assessment and the Praxis II exam. Candidates must also apply for an Alabama teaching certificate through the ALSDE. While individuals with associate degrees are not eligible to apply for teaching certification, they can still work as assistant teachers in a variety of educational settings.
Prospective teachers who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than education and who have not completed more than five educator courses can apply for an alternative baccalaureate-level certificate. Candidates must pass Alabama's basic skills assessments and grade-specific Praxis II exams. They also need to have a job offer from an Alabama school district. The employing district must apply for a special alternative certificate for the candidate. Finally, prospective teachers who wish to pursue this alternative certification must complete 12 hours of coursework in an educator preparation program, complete a mentoring program, and teach full time.
in Alabama, a master's in education often allows teachers to work in specialized or advanced positions.
While a master's degree is not necessary to begin teaching in Alabama, a master's in education often allows teachers to work in specialized or advanced positions, increasing their job opportunities and leading to higher salaries. Some online teaching programs in Alabama offer alternative master's degrees in teaching for students who do not already have certification or who hold a bachelor's degree in another field.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Alabama
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to Education||This class covers the basic historical, philosophical, cultural, political, and social elements of education. Students learn foundational concepts and structures for K-12 systems.|
|Introduction to Bilingual Education||This course prepares teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The class focuses on educational strategies for and current topics in bilingual education.|
|Teaching, Learning, and Technology||This class provides skills in graphics, audio, text, internet resources, and other computer-based media. Students learn how to effectively use technology in their classrooms and how to design their own educational materials that integrate technology.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Mathematics for Elementary Education||This class prepares students to teach math to elementary school students. The course covers basic instruction in number systems such as integers, fractions, and decimals.|
|Child Development and Learning||Students learn the basics of cognitive, psychosocial, and moral child development. The class prepares teachers to create instruction and assessment that fit with children's developmental stages.|
|Effective Classroom Management in Elementary School||This course assesses how classrooms can be effective and inclusive. Students learn behavior and time management skills, as well as skills in parent-student communications.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Foundations of Education||This class concentrates on the political, philosophical, cultural, social, and historical perspectives of the American public education system. Students discuss how teachers can contribute to intercultural understanding and the goals of education.|
|Techniques of Educational Research||This course assesses various research methods in education. Students learn how to locate, understand, and analyze major questions and topics in the field.|
|Curriculum Development||Students gain an in-depth understanding of major educational learning theories. Other topics include learning styles, differentiation of instruction, and student assessment. Student also learn how to adapt their curriculum to accommodate individual differences.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Alabama
The ALSDE grants all teaching licenses in the state. There are three different kinds of teaching certification: Class B, which is the standard initial teaching license and requires a bachelor's degree; Class A, which is an advanced teaching license that requires a master's degree; and Class AA, which is a specialized and advanced teaching license that requires the completion of a sixth-year program.
Before earning Class B teaching certification in Alabama, prospective teachers must have a bachelor's degree in education. The state usually requires candidates to have a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA; candidates with less than a 2.5 undergraduate GPA may need to complete a second bachelor's degree or master's degree.
Teaching certificates in Alabama are valid for five years.
Teaching candidates take two certification exams. The first is the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program Basic Skills Assessment, which tests skills in reading, writing, and math. The second is the Praxis II exam, which is specific to candidates' teaching subject and grade. After taking these exams, candidates must pass a background check through the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are also required to submit an application, official transcripts, and a $30 application fee.
Teaching certificates in Alabama are valid for five years. In order to renew, teachers must complete all requirements by September 1 of the year their old certificates expire. Alabama requires teachers to have three years of full-time educational experience and 50 hours of professional development in order to renew their certification. Teachers may also need relevant academic credit and/or certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Alabama is a member of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), which is the most well-known teaching reciprocity agreement. Through NASDTEC, Alabama maintains teaching reciprocity agreements with all states except for Alaska and Iowa. Consequently, teachers can transfer their Alabama certification to most other states.
Choosing a Teaching Program in Alabama
There are several factors to consider when searching for an online teaching degree in Alabama. First, students should consider the cost of the program, as well as the cost of living in their area. Enrolling in an online program often helps students save money on tuition, room and board, and transportation.
Second, prospective students should consider the program's location, including whether or not this area features adequate opportunities for student teaching. If the program is outside of Alabama, it's important to research whether or not the program prepares students to earn their teaching certification in Alabama. Students enrolled in online programs should take into consideration whether or not this online program involves on-campus or in-person meetings that will require them to commute.
Most bachelor's degrees in teaching last about four years, while most master's degrees in teaching last two years.
Third, candidates should research how long each teaching program will take to complete. Most bachelor's degrees in teaching last about four years, while most master's degrees in teaching last two years. Some programs offer accelerated formats, while other programs only offer part-time enrollment.
Finally, students should decide which area of teaching they would like to pursue. Some online teaching programs offer specializations such as elementary education, secondary education, early childhood education, special education, mathematics, science, English, and physical education.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Alabama?
Several schools in Alabama offer online teaching programs. Prospective students should look for online teaching programs that are regionally accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Students who earn their bachelor's degree in teaching online receive the same education as students who earn their teaching degrees on campus. Most online teaching programs offer opportunities for internships, practicums, and other experiences in Alabama schools. Like on-campus programs, online teaching programs prepare students to earn state teaching certification. Many online master's programs prepare students to earn alternative teaching certification in Alabama.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Alabama
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Alabama
There are several different ways to pay for online teaching degrees. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing the FAFSA, you can find out the forms of federal aid for which you are eligible. The government offers loans, grants, and loan forgiveness programs to certain students.
In addition to financial aid from the federal government, students can receive grants and scholarships from local and state governments. These awards are usually need-based or merit-based and can be used at state colleges or universities. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education offers funds to undergraduate students enrolled in a participating Alabama college.
Students who are veterans or active members of the military are often eligible for additional financial aid. For example, the Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program provides tuition for students who participate in the state's national guard and attend a state college. Additionally, students who are preparing to become teachers can also often participate in tuition reimbursement programs.
Loan Forgiveness for Alabama Teachers
Because education is a critical field and teachers are often paid less than other occupations, many states offer loan forgiveness programs to provide teachers with financial support. Alabama is one of the few states that does not offer a state-specific loan forgiveness program for teachers. However, teachers in this state are still eligible to apply for the teacher loan forgiveness program offered through the U.S. Department of Education.
Full-time teachers who have worked for five consecutive years in a low-income school or an education service agency can receive forgiveness of up to $17,500 on their direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans, as well as on their subsidized and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans. Teachers with direct consolidation loans or federal consolidation loans can also earn forgiveness on certain portions. To qualify for this forgiveness program, teachers must have a bachelor's degree and a state teaching certification.
Scholarships for Alabama Teaching Students
Scholarships are one of the best sources of funding because students do not need to pay back the aid they receive. There are scholarship opportunities for students at all levels of education, from the associate to the doctoral level. Below are a few scholarships for educators in Alabama.
Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Program Varies
Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Scholarship Varies
TEACH Early Childhood Associate Degree Scholarship 80% of Costs
TEACH Early Childhood Bachelor's Degree Scholarship 80% of Costs
Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarship $500 to $2,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Alabama
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occupational employment statistics map, Alabama employs an average number of teachers and instructors when compared to other states. The state is home to about 1,550 preschool teachers, 24,710 elementary school teachers, 9,390 middle school teachers, and 13,100 secondary school teachers.
Salaries for teachers in Alabama fall on the low end of the spectrum; the annual mean wage of $46,490 for teachers in Alabama is slightly less than the national mean wage of $54,520. Additionally, the amount teachers are paid in Alabama differs significantly based on location, with teachers in the state's rural areas earning around $3,000 less per year than teachers in major metropolitan areas. However, the cost of living is significantly below the national average, especially for housing.
Salary also differs significantly based on grade level. Preschool teachers in Alabama earn around $25,940, which is slightly less than the national average salary of $28,790 for that occupation. Secondary school teachers in Alabama earn around $50,060, which is slightly less than secondary teachers' national average salary of $58,030.
|Elementary School Teachers||$49,120|
|Middle School Teachers||$49,310|
|Secondary School Teachers||$50,060|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Alabama
How do I become a certified teacher in Alabama?
What is a Class A teaching certificate in Alabama?
What is the starting salary for a teacher in Alabama?
How long does it take to get a degree in education?
How much do private school teachers make in Alabama?
Resources for Teachers in Alabama
- Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) ALSDE manages public schools and other educational systems in Alabama. Their website provides resources for educators, policy makers, parents, and students. These resources include Alabama state report cards for each public school in the state, the latest education news, and information about earning teaching certification.
- Alabama Education Association (AEA) AEA is a professional association for Alabama educators. Member benefits include legal assistance, medical insurance through the AEA Med Network, and financial assistance. The association also provides professional development opportunities, annual and monthly meetings, conferences, and access to the Alabama School Journal.
- Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) AASB serves educational leaders, particularly those who are members of school boards. The association supports policies that benefit state schools. AASB provides training, job search tools, and resources for strategic planning, risk management, and evaluation.
- Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX) ALEX is an educational resource that is part of the ALSDE's Educational Technology Division. ALEX provides students, parents, teachers, and educational professionals with resources such as learning activities, lessons plans, multimedia tools, and unit plans.
- National Education Association (NEA) NEA is the largest national professional organization for teachers working in public schools, including state universities. The association's abundant resources include lesson plans, classroom management and teaching strategies, and the Read Across America literacy program. NEA also offers grants and awards, holds annual meetings and events, and advocates for educator funding and legal rights.