Alabama Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Alabama

Teaching License Updated July 24, 2015

Have you ever considered becoming a certified teacher in Alabama? If so, then you’ll need to understand the different teaching certificates available. You’ll also need to know the education needed to obtain the particular teaching certificate you seek. Here, you can get a brief overview of the different types of teaching licenses in Alabama and the qualifications they require.

Requirements for certified teachers in Alabama

According to the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), to satisfy the general requirements for an Alabama teaching license, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. If your bachelor’s degree is from a non-accredited university, you must complete a state-approved teacher education program, have a certificate from another state with comparable requirements, and complete nine semester hours with a grade of “B” or above from a State-approved Alabama institution.

Alabama has several different areas in which prospective teachers may be certified. These areas include early childhood (preschool to grade 3), elementary (kindergarten to grade 6), collaborative special education (K-6 or 6-12), early childhood special education (preschool to grade 3), middle school (grades 4-8) and secondary (grades 6-12) with a content area endorsement, and elementary-secondary (P-12) in areas like music, art, and foreign language.

To receive a teaching certificate in Alabama, you must pass the Alabama Prospective Teacher Program (APTTP). The APTTP consists of two components. First, you must pass a basic skills assessment in three sections: reading, writing and mathematics. This assessment will provide a measurement of your general foundational skills.

For the second component, you must demonstrate your skill in a specific subject by passing the PRAXIS II: Subject Assessment series. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administer these tests, which are approved by the Alabama State Board of Education. These tests serve to measure your knowledge of a specific subject, thereby qualifying you to teach in a specific area.

The Southern Regional Education Board has identified particular requirements for those who wish to become highly qualified teachers. According to the Alabama Administrative code, a Highly Qualified Teacher is any teacher that “has been officially designated highly qualified by the Alabama State Superintendent of Education in a specific core academic subject area(s) and grade level(s) based on having met criteria outlined in the current edition of The Alabama Model for Identifying Highly Qualified Teachers.”

Anyone interested in receiving a teaching certificate in Alabama must also have a background check for criminal history through the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This process requires the submission of fingerprints as well as a Release Form and a Background Review Consent Form.

Alabama jobs for licensed teachers

There are three different classes of teaching certification in Alabama:

  1. Class B if you have a bachelor’s degree
  2. Class A, if you have a master’s degree
  3. Class AA, a certificate requiring you to complete an approved sixth-year program of at least 30 semester hours of graduate credit from an accredited institution.

If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Alabama for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Agri-Science (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Arts: Art, Band, and Music (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Career Techniques
  • English/Language Arts
  • Family Consumer Science
  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Health Occupations
  • Foreign Languages (Grades 6 – 12)
  • History/Social Science (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Mathematics (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Science (Grades 6 – 12)
  • Special Education
    • Autism (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
    • Gifted (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
    • Learning Disabled (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
    • Mentally Retarded (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
    • Multi-Handicapped (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
    • Speech (Kindergarten – Grade 12)

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in Alabama

Alabama participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.

Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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