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Students interested in pursuing a teaching career in Alabama must meet the academic and licensure requirements established by the Alabama State Department of Education. Like other states, students wanting to teach in K-12 settings must go through the steps to secure a valid teaching license.

For prospective learners interested in online colleges in Alabama or curious about what it takes to return to college to earn a teaching degree, they can find invaluable information and tips regarding education degrees and state-specific certification. Continue reading to learn how to become a teacher in Alabama and begin a career in this growing field.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Alabama?

The Alabama State Department of Education offers various pathways for students and professionals to secure their teacher certification and begin their careers. For many individuals, the traditional path involves completing a state-approved undergraduate program that covers the coursework and hands-on learning that prepares students for certification exams. Upon completion, students receive their Class B Professional Educator Certificate.

For individuals already holding a bachelor's degree in a non-teaching discipline, completing an approved education master's degree qualifies them for Class A certification. Alabama offers several paths for certificate reciprocity for out-of-state educators and provides an uncomplicated transition for experienced educators.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

For individuals interested in teaching in Alabama, the minimum education requirements begin with earning an undergraduate degree in education. Students must receive a bachelor's degree in education from a regionally accredited institution. Additionally, their institution's education program must hold programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Students pursuing a four-year education degree must graduate with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Throughout their academic tenure, degree-seekers complete coursework that coincides with their specialization area: early childhood education, K-6 education, and secondary education. In addition to standard classroom learning, students gain hands-on experience through student-teaching and internship opportunities.

Continue reading to review a list of standard minimum education requirements in Alabama.

  • Bachelor's degree in education
  • Minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA
  • Master's degree in education
  • Student teaching
  • Internship

Popular Online Teaching Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Gain Student Teaching Experience

Student teaching provides education students with essential hands-on training where they can put theoretical knowledge into practice. The state of Alabama requires that degree-seekers complete two types of field experiences: an approved student-teaching opportunity in a closely supervised setting, and a semester-long, full-time internship in the teaching area that the student is pursuing.

During the student's full-time internship, they tackle teaching duties periodically, and for at least five consecutive days before the end of the experience. For degree-seekers pursuing more than one area of specialization, the student must complete an internship in each area.

Pass Required Certification Tests

Before securing their teaching certification in Alabama, students must pass their Alabama certification exams. The specific examinations depend on the student's particular degree, specializations, and career goals. Determined by the Alabama Certification Assessment Program (AECAP), students first complete the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Tests—this test evaluates an individual's competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Additionally, candidates also complete tests specific to their grade level and subject area. The subject-specific tests cover over 80 unique disciplines including diverse topics such as languages, economics, agriculture, and geography. Students have access to various Praxis test preparation materials including study guides, test plans, and interactive practice tests.

Apply for Certification

Upon successful completion of their teaching degree and certification examinations, students can apply for teacher certification in Alabama. This process begins with completing a background check through both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI). Students must complete an online application and submit fingerprints through the Alabama Applicant Processing Services portal.

Continue reading to review the application materials required for teacher certification in Alabama.

  • State and federal background check with application, fees, and fingerprints
  • Submit a completed application to the Alabama State Department of Education
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Test scores through Praxis and Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program
  • Recommendation of Certification from academic program
  • All associated, non-refundable fees

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Alabama?

Working teachers in Alabama must maintain active and valid teaching certification. Teachers must renew their certificate every three years and meet various continuing education requirements. Before their active teaching certificate expires, teachers must complete an application and submit all required information, fees, and documentation.

Teachers in Alabama have various options to satisfy their continuing education and professional development requirements. This can include three years of full-time teaching experience along with 50 hours of professional development or three-semester credits of coursework. Teachers not meeting the full-time teaching requirements can complete 100 hours of professional development or secure National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Alabama

According to official employment data published by O*NET OnLine, the job outlook for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers is modest. All three teaching career areas are only expected to grow by 3% between 2018-2028. When compared to national numbers for all occupations—about 8% growth over that same decade—job growth for teachers in Alabama is relatively flat, but population growth may boost demand for certified teachers.

Additionally, census data reveals that Alabama's population grew by over 5% since 2010, pointing to a potential need for teachers if the state's population continues to grow. Average teacher salaries in Alabama hover just over $50,000 annually. For those interested in graduate school and pursuing a master's in education, their earning potential can offer expanding career options.

While Alabama's average teacher salaries fall short of the national average, educators working in larger areas like Birmingham and Huntsville can often earn higher salaries.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Alabama

Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

These professionals traditionally work with students from Kindergarten to 5th grade and utilize training and certification to teach young learners foundational topics including science, math, reading, and writing. In addition to preparing students for the academic requirements of middle school, these teachers prioritize the development of social and emotional skills.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Middle School Teacher

Typically working with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, middle school teachers traditionally teach specialized areas rather than the more holistic approach of elementary teachers. Focusing on academic areas including math, science, English, and social sciences, these professionals develop lesson plans, prepare students for standardized tests, and evaluate student progress.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

High School Teacher

Like middle school teachers, high school teachers utilize their training in individual subjects and prepare their students for college and life after high school. These professionals teach in areas including non-English languages, psychology, and STEM areas. Some high school teachers also oversee AP classes that introduce students to rigorous coursework similar to the college experience.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Career and Technical Teacher

Career and technical teachers primarily work in high school and vocational school environments and promote the vocational and technical skills that can translate into a post-high school career. Areas of specialization include automotive mechanics, cosmetology, culinary arts, and carpentry. These professionals utilize their technical competencies to teach and evaluate student progress.

Median Annual Salary: $59,140

Special Education Teacher

These professionals utilize their academic and hands-on training to offer compassionate and effective teaching to students with various learning, emotional, and physical disabilities. Special education teachers work with fellow instructors, families, and students to develop individualized educational plans (IEPs). These teachers assess students on an individual basis and establish goals, monitor progress, and continuously evaluate and update IEPs.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Alabama

How do I get teaching certification in Alabama?

For individuals interested in securing their teaching certification in Alabama, they must take a series of steps. One of the most common paths involves completing an accredited bachelor's degree in education with both classroom-based and hands-on training. Graduates must complete a state and federal background check and pass all required exams before applying for certification.

While earning a bachelor's degree in education is a popular path, students holding an unrelated undergraduate degree also have a clear path towards certification through a master's program. For educators outside the state, check with Alabama's certificate reciprocity guidelines.

Can I teach in Alabama without certification?

Underscored by federal guidelines, any person interested in teaching in Alabama must hold valid and active teaching certification through the Alabama State Board of Education. That said, these guidelines apply to public schools--individuals teaching at private, charter, and religious schools can sometimes sidestep certification based on the institution's hiring policies.

Earning a bachelor's in education offers a clear pathway to teacher certification and provides future educators with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to optimize the classroom experience.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Alabama?

For first-time teachers without a bachelor's degree, the process to become a teacher in Alabama takes around four years. Students tackle general education coursework, advanced teaching theories, and gain hands-on experience through student-teaching and internship opportunities during their four-year undergraduate program.

Upon graduation, education students typically prepare for various certification exams that cover general education and their areas of specialization. Once the education graduate successfully passes their required exams, they can apply for their teaching certification in Alabama.

What can I do with teaching certification in Alabama?

Earning teaching certification in Alabama gives individuals the professional approval to teach in the state. A student's academic training prepares them with the skills and knowledge required for their selected grade level and area of specialization. Before earning certification, prospective teachers demonstrate their aptitude through examinations in their specialty area.

As a result, the academic and practical training for high school teachers is markedly different from that of future special education instructors. For individuals interested in teaching in multiple areas, they must pass the applicable exams for each area.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Alabama?

For those interested in becoming a substitute teacher in Alabama, the guidelines and requirements differ substantially from standard teaching requirements. Prospective substitute teachers must hold a high school diploma and receive a substitute license upon the recommendation of the hiring school district. Similarly, substitute teachers must pass a state and federal background check.

Potential substitute teachers should note that school districts may have unique requirements. Additionally, it is common for school districts to have a sliding pay scale that favors individuals with college degrees or relevant experience and certifications.

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How to Become a Teacher in Alabama | BestColleges (2024)


What are the requirements to be a school teacher in Alabama? ›

Alabama Teacher Education Requirements

All prospective teachers in Alabama must hold at least a bachelor's degree and complete an approved educator preparation program to become certified to teach. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 is required.

Is the process of becoming a teacher hard? ›

It is not too hard to become a teacher.

In general, it takes at least a bachelor's degree plus a teaching license to become a teacher. For many, a bachelor's degree in education, teaching, or a similar area will be the standard degree, at least with respect to teaching at primary and secondary levels.

How fast can I be a teacher? ›

Becoming a certified teacher usually takes between four to five years. But, if you already hold a bachelor's degree, you could enroll in an accelerated teacher certification program, become licensed in as little as one year (some programs are longer), and start teaching as quickly as possible.

What is the best major for teaching? ›

Here are some of the majors you might consider.
  • Education. As an education major you will explore what education entails and how to improve it, often with a focus on public K-12 education. ...
  • STEM. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Sociology. ...
  • History. ...
  • English/Liberal arts. ...
  • General tips to becoming a teacher.
May 5, 2023

How can I teach in Alabama without a teaching degree? ›

Alternative Master's Degree Leading to Class A Certification: Individuals who do not have teacher certification may earn a Master of Arts degree in Education and simultaneously complete requirements for Alabama Class A (master's level) teaching certification.

Do you need a degree to teach in Alabama? ›

Prerequisite Coursework in Alabama

Every state requires teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree to be certified. Teaching in Alabama will require an academic major in the required field with at least 32 semester hours open_in_new of credit, including 19 semester hours of upper-level credit.

What grade is hardest teaching? ›

The Verdict: Fifth grade~ what a special grade. But do you see many of these factors as deal breakers? Do you have more cons than pros? If so, teaching fifth grade may be the hardest elementary grade for you to teach.

Is being a first year teacher hard? ›

There is no doubt, the first year of teaching is the hardest. It may be stressful in the beginning, but know that the career is really so rewarding! To be sure, the first year may not be all that you thought it would be.

What is the hardest thing for a teacher? ›

Time Is Limited

Teachers must maximize the time they have with their students. Every minute with them should matter. One of the hardest aspects of teaching is that you only have them for a short period of time to prepare them for the next level.

Which field is best for becoming a teacher? ›

Ed (Bachelor of Education) Students who wish to become a teacher in higher primary schools and high schools have to pursue B. Ed course, which is the most opted degree course among 5 types of teaching courses.

How do I know what subject to teach? ›

Understand what subjects you're the best at.

Consider the following: If you are a natural writer, you might teach language arts. If intrigued by the historical perspective on social issues, you might teach history or social studies. If you enjoy working with numbers and problem solving, think about math or science.

What are the different levels of teachers? ›

Levels of Teaching
  • ​Preschool Teachers/Child Care Workers.
  • Elementary School Teachers (K-6)
  • Secondary School Teachers (Middle School/Jr. High School/High School)
  • Special Education Teacher (K-12)
  • College/University Faculty (Post-Secondary/Higher Education)
  • Counselors (School Counseling/College Counseling)
  • Adult Education.

What are the requirements to be a kindergarten teacher in Alabama? ›

In Alabama, prospective kindergarten teachers must earn a bachelor's degree, complete teacher education, and pass several required exams.

Is there a demand for teachers in Alabama? ›

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WPMI) — Alabama's teacher shortage and the low test scores in the classroom are being noticed by former teacher and current Governor, Kay Ivey. Now, she's trying to fix the problems by signing four executive orders. Despite historic pay raises for teachers.

What credentials do you need to be a substitute teacher in Alabama? ›

How to become a substitute teacher in Alabama
  • Earn your high school diploma. The minimum level of education you need to become a substitute teacher in Alabama is a high school diploma. ...
  • Find a school district. ...
  • Get an employer recommendation. ...
  • Complete and pass a criminal history background check. ...
  • Remain open to communication.
Sep 30, 2022

What are the requirements to be a pre K teacher in Alabama? ›

The requirements of the traditional path for becoming a pre-k teacher in Alabama involve completing an Alabama educator preparation program as well as passing the required exams in the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP). A background check must then be completed.


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