Roadmap to Alabama Teacher Certification

The Alabama State Department of Education fields thousands of calls every month from teachers and potential teachers with questions about their certification.

Last winter, at the February State Board of Education work session, staff from the Office of Educator Certification noted that they’d gotten 2,600 calls the previous month (the conversation starts around 23 minutes into the work session video linked here). Some months, this number apparently rises even higher.

A+’s policy fellow this summer, Shelton Bowens, decided to help lower that number.

Shelton created the Alabama Teacher Certification Roadmap for potential teachers to map out the steps they need to take to get certified to teach in Alabama schools. During the school year, Shelton is a teacher in Birmingham City Schools and a Teach For America-Alabama Corps Members. He joined A+ for the summer through a fellowship with Leadership for Educational Equity.

Each roadmap slide covers a different type of certification in Alabama, depending on whether you majored in education as an undergraduate, whether you want to earn your master’s degree in education, etc.

If you’re reading this and you’d like to teach in Alabama, we hope this roadmap helps you as a starting point in your quest to become certified.

During the 2016-17 school year, Alabama reported teacher shortages in the following areas, according to the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Arts: Art, Band, and Music (Grades 6–12)
  • Career Technologies (Grades 6–12)
  • English/Language Arts (Grades 6–12)
  • Foreign Languages (Grades 6–12)
  • Mathematics (Grades 6–12)
  • Science (Grades 6–12)
  • Special Education

Beyond that, school and district administrators often say they have trouble finding qualified teachers for other roles too—especially in low-income schools and schools in rural areas.

At the same time, there’s some evidence that the picture of teacher shortages is much more complex and multi-faceted than it appears at first.

This presentation by Dan Goldhaber from CALDER at the American Institutes for Research at the 2017 National Summit on Education Reform explains that there may be labor market issues beyond just a simple “shortage.” You can view Goldhaber’s slides here. (In the video linked above, his presentation starts around 5 minutes into the video.)

For the students out there who need good teachers, hopefully the certification roadmap helps to get qualified teachers into their classrooms.