All teaching jobs in the regular school system in Alabama require teachers to hold a Bachelor's degree, approved teacher training including a student teaching component and a teaching certificate issued by the state. In order to meet the requirements for obtaining a teaching certificate you must take the appropriate tests as outlined by the Alabama Prospective Teacher Testing Program. This is for new teachers only and does not apply to those teachers applying for advances certificates unless you have allowed your certificate to lapse for a period of more than six months. There are no charter schools in this state, so every teacher must have a teaching certificate in order to work in the public school system.
The Praxis 11 exams are the required tests for teaching jobs in Alabama. There are specific tests for elementary and middle school teachers. Beyond the elementary grades, you will have to take the content specific tests for each area that you want to teach. You will have to refer to the Alabama State Board of Education to see which scores you must attain for each of these tests. In Alabama there is no category of middle school, but if you want to teach in Grades 7 – 9, you would have to take the tests denoted as middle school exams.
When you apply for a teaching certificate for one of the Alabama teaching jobs, you have to complete a background check. This applies to teachers already in the school system who have not had an updated background check completed since 1999. Two fingerprint cards must accompany your application for certification. Three are three categories of teaching certificates issued in this state. The initial certificate based on a Bachelor’s degree is a Class B certificate. If you continue your education to attain a Mater's degree, then you can receive a Class A certificate. A Class AA certificate is the highest teaching certificate awarded to teachers who have achieved education specialist credentials.
If you do not meet the requirements for a teaching certificate, you can receive an emergency certificate for school districts where there is a critical shortage of qualified teachers to fill the available teaching jobs. In this case the school district would have to request that an exception be made so that you can be hired as a teacher. In accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act, Alabama is committed to hiring ''highly qualified'' teachers. However, in your undergraduate degree, there is no specification that your major area of concentration be in a teachable subject. For the most part, elementary teachers, which include Grades 1- 6, must demonstrate competence in teaching Reading, Writing and Mathematics. For high school teachers, competence in three broad areas of English Language Arts, General Science and Social Studies is the norm as long as the teachers pass the praxis exams.
If you are applying for teaching jobs in the areas of Early Childhood Education for Pre-school and Kindergarten or for teaching special education classes. You will be deemed to be considered a highly qualified teacher if you meet the requirements for the state certification.