Alabama Secondary Education Certification Requirements

With the ability to focus on a single subject, Alabama's high school teachers are primed for classrooms through teacher education programs that mix subject courses with education classes, and readers can learn more about the programs and exams required for these teachers.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the Alabama State Department of Education reported a total of 222,638 high school students enrolled in public schools. With only 46,539 teachers for the entire school system, there may be a need for secondary teachers in Alabama.

Certification Requirements for Alabama Secondary Teachers

Average Salary for Alabama Secondary Teachers (2016)* $50,060 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Secondary Education and chosen subject
Testing Requirements Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core);
Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT): Grades 7-12;
Subject knowledge exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Take Program Entrance Exam

Before applying to a teacher preparation program, Alabama teacher candidates have to pass a three-part Praxis exam known as the Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) test. The entire test costs $150 and can take up to five hours to finish. The test includes individual reading, writing, and math subtests. To pass the reading section (comprised of multiple-choice questions), the candidate should receive at least a 156. The writing section is also multiple-choice and includes some short-answer questions; this subtest requires a 162. A 150 is what it takes to pass the multiple-choice question mathematics subtest.

Step 2: Finish a Secondary Education Program

Those seeking a teaching position in a high school setting within Alabama can start with a degree in secondary education. This degree is often tied to a particular subject area, such as business and marketing, health, or Spanish, to name a few. These are known as class B certificate programs, and schools in Alabama may offer education courses like assessing learning, diversity in the classroom, and social foundations of education. There are also discipline-specific education courses such as teaching secondary school English, teaching secondary school math, and teaching secondary school science. Some schools require an average GPA of 2.75 for these education courses. Finally, there is a required student teaching experience at the end of the program.

Step 3: Take Subject Knowledge Exams

All secondary teachers in Alabama are required to take the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT): Grades 7-12 exam. Within the allotted two hours, test takers will answer 70 multiple-choice and four short-answer questions. These questions are related to students in learning environments, instruction processes, assessment practices, and professional development for teachers. Candidates have to earn at least a score of 153 in order to pass for Alabama certification. A fee of $146 will be collected when individuals register for the exam.

In addition, secondary teachers should pass a subject area assessment for their specific content area. Biology, health, English, and world history are just a few options for this assessment. On average, these cost $120 and include exclusively multiple-choice questions. A passing score will depend on the specific content area exam.

Step 4: Undergo Background Checks

The Alabama Child Protection Act of 1999 requires applicants for teacher certification to submit their fingerprints for a background check. One is conducted by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, while the other is done by the FBI. There is a one-time fee of approximately $47 to register for fingerprinting.

Links for Alabama Secondary Teacher Candidates

Before taking the Core and PLT exams, it may help to study, and these links provide guides and practice tests for that purpose.

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