How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Alabama

As with other levels of education, kindergarten teachers must obtain certification in order to ensure that they have attained the standards set by the Alabama State Department of Education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Steps to Becoming a Kindergarten Teacher in Alabama

Kindergarten teachers are responsible for shaping the minds of five-year-old children. In Alabama, prospective kindergarten teachers must earn a bachelor's degree, complete teacher education, and pass several required exams. The general requirements are summarized in the table below.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program
Exam Requirements Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP)
Certification Renewal Period Every five years
Requirements for Renewal 3 years teaching and 50 hours professional development
or 3 years teaching and 3 academic credits or
3 academic credits and 50 hours professional development or
6 academic credits or
100 hours professional development or
NBPTS certification
Median Salary (2018) $55,470 (kindergarten teachers nationally)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (kindergarten teachers nationally)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Complete Education Requirements

The standard route by which an interested candidate can achieve certification requires earning a bachelor's degree. The student should major in elementary education (k-6) or early childhood education (p-3) to qualify for kindergarten teaching. The program should include the required state-approved teacher preparation. Alabama currently offers approved programs at colleges in fifteen counties across the state. A bachelor's degree qualifies the individual for a Class B teaching certificate.

Pass the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program

The future teacher needs to complete the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment Program (AECAP). This program is comprised of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Praxis Subject Assessments, and the edTPA: Educative Teacher Performance Assessment.

The Praxis Core assessments cover reading, mathematics, and writing. The aim is to ensure that educators are fit to enter state-approved teacher preparation programs. The early childhood and elementary education paths both require a passing score of 159 on the Praxis: Teaching Reading exam. Those who certify in early childhood education must pass the Early Childhood Education exam, while those who certify in elementary education must pass the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects exam. The edTPA is a pedagogical assessment that involves creating a portfolio during teacher preparation classroom experiences.

Apply for Certification

The candidate must then complete necessary forms, pay the non-refundable $30 application fee, and pass the background check. The candidate is also expected to submit transcripts as verification of the qualifications that have been achieved. The application fee may be paid online via the Alabama State Department of Education online portal or by cashier's check or money order.

Candidates are expected to have met the requirements for certification before submitting their application. If the application is incomplete, the applicant has a 12-month period within which to provide the necessary details to complete the process. If the applicant does not meet that deadline, they will have to re-apply. All the forms required to complete the application process can be found on the Alabama State Department of Education website.

Background Clearance and Criminal History Check

The background check will be carried out by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (ASBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In this check, the applicant must be fingerprinted so a complete criminal history can be obtained by the Alabama State Department of Education. The applicant's fingerprints will be collected by a third party that has been designated by the Alabama Department of Education.

Certification Renewal

The Class B certificate achieved for the early childhood or elementary educator is valid for the rest of the year in which it was granted and the five consecutive years thereafter. Between January 1 and June 30 of the expiring year, the educator can apply for continuation of the certificate.

Renewal requirements can be met in one of the following ways: three years of full-time teaching and 50 hours of professional development; three years of full-time teaching and three semester hours of academic credits; three semester hours of academic credit and 50 hours of professional development; six semester hours of academic credit; 100 hours of professional development; or certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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