Alabama is 25th in the nation in terms of number of teachers employed. Aspiring teachers must meet specific requirements before they can work as certified teachers. Below is an overview of the state’s requirements and some of the educational paths one can take to work as a teacher in Alabama.
Alabama has three levels of teacher certification. One (class B) is for bachelor degree holders, one (class A) is for master degree holders and one (class AA) is for doctoral degree holders or those who have specialty degrees.
Residents of Alabama or those attending an Alabama university or college are eligible for specific awards. Here are some examples:
This state student assistance program is designed to provide residents of Alabama with financial aid for undergraduate study. The typical high school diploma or GED is required. Students must be an Alabama resident, U.S. Citizen or in the citizenship process, and do not plan an undergraduate degree for a religious vocation.
Grants from the TEACH Grant Program provide up to $4000 per year to students who are completing or are planning to complete coursework required to begin a teaching career. As a condition, recipients must sign an agreement to teach
The state of Alabama governs the rules regarding in-state tuition. The standard makes qualifying difficult for the majority of undergraduates whose parents are not living in Alabama. The age of emancipation in Alabama is 19, instead of the standard 18 years of age. To be eligible for in-state tuition, a person must live in Alabama for one year.
Students cannot begin the one-year domicile period until they are 19. It is not until the junior year that most students can earn residency. Some schools vary in the way they implement the 19-year-old clause. There may be a way around it. Proof of employment and part-time or no school is an expected qualification.
As a member of the Academic Common Market, Alabama has a limited regional reciprocity agreement with select Southern States. Favorable tuition rates in states that are nearby are sometimes possible. Many restrictions apply. One of them is the degree being sought is not offered in another college of the home state.
UA also has special clinical education programs that assist students in completing field experience and internships that may be required by their programs. Online education programs are also offered at UA. Other Alabama universities that offer teaching programs include University of West Alabama, Huntingdon College and Oakwood University as well as many others. Many of these colleges also offer teaching programs through distance learning.
The exit exams must be in the area the student has chosen: early education or elementary school. In addition to the basic teacher’s program, Alabama A&M also offers baccalaureate programs for teachers that wish to specialize in a specific subject matter such as music, PE, science, math, etc. A&M also offers a master degree program for both early education and elementary school teachers. Master programs are for teachers who want to teach at the highest level and generally offer higher wages.
In addition to earning a teaching degree, Alabama teachers must pass the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program and the Praxis II tests for their area of certification.