While an Alabama teacher can complete quite a few steps of certification online, there will be times when going to a location in person will also be necessary. For those who want to try to do everything from home, we'll look at what it takes to earn certification as a teacher in Alabama.
Requirements for Teachers in Alabama
|Average Salary for Teachers Alabama (2017)*|| $25,930 (Preschool)
$49,040 (Elementary School)
$49,630 (Middle School)
$49,790 (High School)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exams
Principles of Learning and Teaching exam
Praxis Content Knowledge exam
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete Your Education
Alabama, like most states, asks its teachers to have a bachelor's degree. You're in luck on this step, because as technology advances, more and more colleges and universities are offering online degrees. Though there are colleges now offering online degrees in education, you need to be aware that there are a few limitations. The first limitation is that often, these programs are hybrid, meaning that some courses or activities must be completed on campus. While this is a disappointment for some, the ability to go on campus or complete your student teaching internship in the classroom is what all educators must do. This allows you to put into practice your skills and knowledge with living students, and to find your own strengths and weaknesses to work on before becoming certified.
The other limitation is that most Alabama colleges and universities (we look only at Alabama colleges to avoid out-of-state certification steps) only offer online master's degree programs in education. This can be quite helpful in some instances, though. Take into consideration that you may have completed a bachelor's degree in an area of study, such as literature, then you decide you want to teach. These graduate programs can fulfill the educator preparation program requirements that were not met in your bachelor's degree program. Many of these programs are also hybrid, though some are offered wholly online outside of your internship.
Step 2: Pass Required Exams
Completing this step online is a bit tricky. All Praxis exams that Alabama teachers are required to complete are offered via computer. However, you must still go to a local testing site to take the exam on one of their computers. Unfortunately, this cannot be done in your own home, though registration can! There are three exams that every teacher must take and pass to become certified, and they all go through the ETS Praxis system.
The first exam is a 3-subtest exam called the Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. This will test three subjects - math, reading, and writing - in the most basic sense. Each section is individually scored, with your scores for math needing to be at least 150, your score for the reading section no less that 156, and 162 for the writing subtest.
The other two exams you'll take are the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam, which looks at the basics of teaching foundations, and a content knowledge exam in your subject area. The PLT that you will take depends on the grade level you want to be certified in. There are 2 PLT exams, one for grades K-6 and one for grades 7-12. For some grades, such as 4-8, you'll be required to take more than one exam. You must score 145 or higher to pass the grades K-6 PLT, and 7-12 PLT takers must score over 153. The content exam requirements vary depending on the subject.
Step 3: Complete a Background Check
All teachers must be fingerprinted before becoming certified. This can be done three ways, with online being the option you'll want to consider. You'll use the Gemalto Cogent system to register and pay the $46.90 fee. The Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the FBI will then run background checks on you to make sure you are clear of a criminal history.
Alabama Teacher Certification Resources
Since you want to do as much online as you can, why not study online as well? The following links can help you prepare for the Praxis exams in Alabama.