Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Alabama
If you’re hoping to become a teacher in Alabama, ToBecomeATeacher.org can help. This page describes the key steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal and obtain a teaching position in Alabama that meets your professional expectations.
1. Choosing a Program: First, you will need to find a teaching program that supports your budget and long-term career goals.
- Finding an appropriate program that fits your needs is essential. What is important to you as a student? Are you concerned about the cost of the program and the amount of debt you might incur? Does the program’s graduation rate matter to you? Are you concerned about the program’s reputation for job placement? All of these are critical questions to ask when selecting a program.
2. Planning for Licensure in Alabama: In Alabama, you will need a minimum of a bachelor degree (with at least a 2.5 GPA) and an appropriate post-graduate degree in education (e.g., a Master of Arts in Teaching). You will also need to write and pass applicable certification exams; in Alabama, this means writing and passing a basic skills assessment and the Praxis subject assessment for your field.
3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and passed the applicable exams, you can begin searching for a job that will help you launch your teaching career in Alabama.
- At this point, it is important to consider the type of teaching environment in which you hope to work? Are you interested in working in a rural or urban context? Are you interested in working in a high-needs school? What skills might you bring to a high-needs school? What are your salary expectations? During this stage of the process, you should also keep developing your resume, expanding your education by engaging in professional development activities for teachers, and gaining additional teaching experience (e.g., by working as a substitute teacher). This will help you to enter the market with a competitive edge.
Choosing an Education Program in Alabama
ToBecomeATeacher.org understands that choosing the right program is never easy. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. Using a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs available in the State of Alabama for 2015. Our testing criteria factor several specific elements that will permit a student to determine which school is the best fit specifically for their path. Our team has analyzed total expense, student to faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, return on investment and much more.
Every school ToBecomeATeacher.org lists below has committed themselves to the pursuit of excellence and shown exemplary dedication to quality of the highest caliber. These programs comprise Alabama’s best. Find out which ones stand above the rest by reviewing the information posted below.
Ranking Factors Explained
Our ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.
How to Become a Teacher in Alabama
There are three primary pathways to becoming a teacher in Alabama.
- Pathway 1: If you hold at least a bachelor’s degree, the most common pathway is to pursue an Alternative Class A (master’s degree) level Educator Preparation Program. This is typically a one- to two-year postgraduate program in education. Notably, in Alabama, it is common for candidates with a bachelor’s degree to request a Special Alternative Certificate, which enables candidates to teach full-time while completing a master’s level program in education leading to an Alternative Class A license. This means that in Alabama, it is sometimes even possible to earn money while completing an education degree.
- Pathway 2: Candidates with a bachelor’s degree may also pursue an Alternative Class B (baccalaureate) level Certificate at one of the state’s many accredited colleges of education.
- Pathway 3: Be certified to teach in a state or territory with which Alabama has an established reciprocal agreement.
Depending on the subject, there may be other options for you to pursue a career in teaching in Alabama. For example, the State of Alabama’s Department of Education also offers a Career and Technical Education Specialty Area Certificate for trades people who do not have a background in education but have a desire to share their knowledge and experience in the trades (e.g., construction or plumbing) with students at the secondary level.
What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the State of Alabama?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent to 12 percent rate of growth in positions for teachers over the coming decade. Jobs for high school teachers are expected to experience the slowest growth at only 6 percent, and jobs for middle school teachers are expected to experience the highest growth at 12 percent. Nationally, jobs for teachers are expected to see little or no growth in the Northeast but jobs for teachers are expected to grow in both the South and West. Given Alabama’s geographic location, one can expect jobs for teachers to grow faster than the national average between now and 2022.
In 2015, there were 23,800 elementary teachers in Alabama. The second largest group of Alabama teachers are postsecondary level teachers; in 2015, over 20,000 Alabamans worked in the postsecondary teaching field on a full- or part-time basis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were also 12,720 secondary teachers, 9,850 middle school teachers, and 1,670 kindergarten teachers in the state.
Over 25,000 educators work in Alabama’s largest urban area, Birmingham-Hoover, but Alabama remains a rural state and in 2015, a nearly equal number of educators reported working in the state’s many nonmetropolitan communities.
What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in Alabama?
- The Alabama State Department of Education establishes and implements educational policies for teachers working across the state. Their Department’s website includes important information concerning initial certification and licensure renewal and links to an active job board for teachers and educational administrators seeking employment in the state.
- The Alabama State Department of Education also supports ALEX (Alabama Learning Exchange); ALEX a unique online resource that provides lesson plans and other curricular materials to teachers across the state.
- Alabama teachers are represented by the Alabama Education Association (AEA). Although not a trade union (public employees are not permitted to join unions in Alabama), the AEA has a long history of representing teachers and fighting for better wages, benefits and working conditions, and a long history of coming head-to-head with the State of Alabama in fights over cuts to school funding.
- Alabama educators are also represented by the Alabama Conference of Educators (ACOE). The ACOE which supports public teachers and other educators by offering professional development opportunities, as well as group benefits, such as insurance.
- Alabama’s Subject-based Associations: Alabama is home to several subject-based teacher organizations, including the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers and the Alabama Council of Teacher’s of Math.
What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of Alabama?
Auburn University’s online master’s programs in education ranks among the top online graduate education programs in the US, and include options to pursue a master’s degree in specializations ranging from agriscience education to foreign language education. The University of West Alabama offers a wide range of online programs in education, including eight master’s degrees in education leading to Class A Certification. The University of North Alabama also offers a Master of Arts Education Degree (MAED) in elementary education through its online program.