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Become a Teacher in Alabama

Alabama Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $49,700
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $49,960
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15


Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. CertificationMap.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 9/30/2016

This page sponsored by our partner Rossier Online, an innovative Master of Arts in Teaching program delivered online from the University of Southern California. Click here to learn more.

To become a certified teacher in Alabama, you will need to fulfill these requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor's degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit an Alabama teaching credential application.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating CertificationMap.com with new information on a regular basis.

Step One: Alabama Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Here are Alabama’s undergraduate prerequisites for some of the most popular specialty areas, according to the Alabama State Board of Education:

  • Elementary Education: The elementary education curriculum requires a teaching field of at least 32 semester hours with at least 19 semester hours of upper-division credit.
  • Secondary English/Language Arts: The English program requires an academic major of at least 32 semester hours of credit with at least 19 semester hours of upper-division credit.
  • Secondary Mathematics: The mathematics program requires an academic major of at least 32 semester hours of credit with at least 19 semester hours of upper-division credit.
  • Secondary History/Social Science: The history program requires an academic major of at least 32 semester hours of credit with at least 19 semester hours of upper-division credit.
  • Secondary Science: The science program requires an academic major of at least 32 semester hours of credit with at least 19 semester hours of upper-division credit.

Typically, teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork involved in an accredited teacher preparation program. The curricula often include instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design, and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

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Master’s Requirements

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Click to learn more about getting your MAT online with our partner USC Rossier School of Education.

Step Two: Alabama Teacher Preparation

The State of Alabama designates three levels of teacher certification:

  • Class B (bachelor’s degree)
  • Class AA (sixth-year program)
  • Class A (master’s degree)
  • Alternative Class A (master’s degree).

The list of approved Alabama Educator Preparation Institutions can be found on the Alabama State Department of Education website. Applicants who received a degree outside of Alabama should refer to the Alabama State Department of Education's forms for Out of State Certificates.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For scholarships specific to the State of Alabama, visit our Alabama Teacher Scholarships page.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose Bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Information about alternative certification in Alabama can be found here.

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Step Three: Alabama Required Tests

In order to become a certified teacher in Alabama, the Alabama State Department of Education requires that all teaching candidates complete the Basic Skills Assessment requirement along with any content-specific competence assessments (Praxis Exam) required for their level of instruction. The Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP) consists of two assessments: the Basic Skills Assessment and the Praxis II Content Exam.

Basic Skills Assessment

The Basic Skills Assessment consists of three sections: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Writing. These assessments measure the foundational skills that are required for becoming an effective educator in the State of Alabama.

  • Applied Mathematics: Measures basic skills related to mathematical reasoning that are applicable to classroom and work-related problems
    • Multiple-choice questions
    • 45 minutes
  • Reading for Information: Measures basic skills related to reading through use of work-related information, including instructions, policies, manuals, and government regulations
    • Multiple-choice questions
    • 45 minutes
  • Writing: Examinees are required to write an original response to a work-related situation
    • Extended response
    • 30 minutes

Praxis II

The Praxis II Subject Assessments measure knowledge of general and specific subjects related to K-12 teaching skills and classroom knowledge. The Praxis II Subject Assessments cover 120 different tests; the test(s) you take depend on the requirements set forth by your teaching discipline. The following assessments are required by the Alabama Department of Education:

Available test(s)* Certification
Teaching Reading


Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education
Teaching Reading


Elementary Ed: Multiple Subjects

Content Knowledge: Mathematics Subtest, Reading Language Arts Subtest, Social Studies Subtest

Elementary Education
Middle School English Language Arts, French: World Language, Middle School Science, Middle School Social Studies, German: World Language, Health Education, Latin, Middle School Mathematics, Spanish: World Language Middle School Education
Biology: Content Knowledge, Chemistry: Content Knowledge, English Language Arts: Content Knowledge, French: World Language, General Science: Content Knowledge, Social Studies: Content Knowledge, Geography, German: World Language, Health Education, World and U.S. History: Content Knowledge, Latin, Mathematics: Content Knowledge, Physics: Content Knowledge, Spanish: World Language Secondary Education
English to Speakers of Other Languages, French: World Language, German: World Language, Latin, Music: Content Knowledge, Physical Education: Content Knowledge, Reading Specialist, Spanish: World Language, Theater, Art: Content Knowledge All Grades (P-12)
Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications, Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (Mathematics Subtest, Reading Language Arts Subtest, Science Subtest, and Social Studies Subtest), Gifted Education Special Education

* Not all listed tests are required for each certification. Visit ETS for certification-specific requirements.

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Step Four: Alabama Application Requirements

Candidates seeking teacher certification in the state of Alabama must meet the following requirements:

  • Application for Alabama certification
  • Non-refundable $30 application fee made payable to the Alabama State Department of Education
  • Official transcript(s) of all degrees and credits earned, sent in sealed envelopes from the institution(s)
  • Background clearance: Applicants for teaching certification who have not been cleared by both the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are required to be fingerprinted as part of a criminal history background check ($46.90 for in-state applicants, $54.90 for out-of-state applicants). Please visit Alabama’s Cogent System or call (866) 989-9316 for instructions and information regarding Alabama’s fingerprinting process.
  • Supplemental form(s) required by Alabama certification application as well as any supporting document(s)

See this checklist for further details.

There may be additional methods of certification that have not been covered here. Contact your state education department for more information.

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Alabama Certification Reciprocity

Alabama will recognize teaching credentials from other states. Refer to the Out of State Certificates page and contact the Alabama Department of Education to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

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Alabama Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Alabama provides differential pay for teachers teaching in high needs schools and for teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Alabama has limited/weak induction policies in place
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $49,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $49,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Average Public School Teacher Salary: $49,497, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Level-specific Alabama public school teacher salary schedules are available through the Alabama State Department of Education.
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15 weeks of vacation per year

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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Alabama Certification Resources & Links

  • Alabama State Department of Education

50 North Ripley Street
PO Box 302102
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
(334) 353-8567 - Educator Certification Office

Teach in Alabama is an online application and job-search portal established by the Alabama State Department of Education. Teach in Alabama allows qualified teaching and administrative candidates to find job opportunities in any school district statewide. The portal allows you to upload your contact information, resume, and credentials to allow districts to search for you, and also allows you to search directly for available job opportunities throughout the State of Alabama.

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