The state of Alabama provides special education services for students that have a variety of emotional and physical disabilities. This includes autism, deafness or blindness, emotional disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Special education teachers provide a valuable service for these students during their educational journeys.
Alabama Special Education Teacher Requirements
|Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Alabama (2016)*|| $49,570 (Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers);
$50,220 (Middle School Teachers);
$52,110 (Secondary School Teachers)
|Degree Field||Special Education|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: 5712, 5722, and 5732; Principles of Learning and Teaching (5622 or 5624) or edTPA; Praxis subject-specific special education for chosen grade level|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Step 1: Complete Educational Requirements
The traditional route to teacher certification is to obtain a bachelor's degree from a teacher training program that was approved by the state Department of Education. Students interested in this route can locate the list of all the approved programs in Alabama by visiting the Department of Education's website.
All teaching candidates must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators in order to enter an approved teacher training program. Candidates will be tested on their proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. The test can be taken a section at a time or all at once. Candidates will need to earn the following passing scores: 156 in reading, 162 in writing, and 150 in mathematics. Each test will cost applicants $90, and the combined test is $150.
Students can pursue a bachelor's degree in special education. Some degrees allow students the option to pursue a dual certification program for grades K-6 and 6-12. With either type of degree, students will take courses like teaching methods for moderate and severe disabilities, math instruction, reading instruction, communication skills, special education assessment and diagnosis, behavior management, and collaborative teaching. A teaching internship in the senior year is typical, and students may be required to maintain a 2.75 GPA.
Alabama also offers other routes to certification, such as the reciprocity route for applicants from other states and the foreign credentials route for those from outside the United States.
Step 2: Complete Certification Requirements
All teaching candidates will need to pass either one of the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) examinations or the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).
Special education teaching candidates can choose either the Grades K-6 (passing score is 145) or the Grades 7-12 (passing score is 153) examination. Each test costs $146.
Candidates will also need to take the Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354), which has a passing score of 153 and costs $120.
No additional tests are required for the following certifications:
- Collaborative Teacher Grades 6-12
- Hearing Impairment (P-12)
- Severe Disabilities (P-12)
- Visual Impairment (P-12)
Those seeking Collaborative Teacher Grades K-6 certification will need the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects test. Each subject may be taken individually for $60; the combined test is $170.
- Reading Language Arts (5002): Passing score is 154
- Mathematics (5003): Passing score is 143
- Social Studies (5004): Passing score is 142
- Science (5005): Passing score is 144
For the Early Childhood Special Education (P-3) certification, candidates must take the Early Childhood Education (5025) exam and receive a passing score of 150. This exam costs $120.
Those who apply for certification fall semester 2018 or later will need a passing score of 37 on the edTPA Special Education exam. This exam covers all six areas of special education certification. edTPA costs $300.
Step 3: Obtain Teaching Credentials
After meeting all of the educational requirements and passing the required exams, teaching candidates will need to receive a clear background check from the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A fingerprint check will cost Alabama residents $46.90.
Finally, candidates should submit their school transcripts and application to the Educator Certification Section of the Alabama State Department of Education for their Class B teaching certificate. Teachers will be certified in one of the following areas: Collaborative Teacher (K-6), Collaborative Teacher (6-12), Early Childhood Special Education, Hearing Impairment (P-12), Severe Multiple Disabilities (P-12), or Visual Impairment (P-12).
Certification Resources for Alabama Special Education Teachers
Special education teaching candidates may find these study guides useful in preparing for their certification tests.