How to Become a Special Education Teacher in Alabama

Special education teachers in Alabama provide educational support for students with disabilities. Read further to learn how to join this important and rewarding field. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Special education teachers instruct students with disabilities. These teachers require special training to prepare them for their careers. The chart below shows the education requirements, certification exams, job duties, and salary of special education teachers in Alabama.

Education Required Bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program
Certification Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators,
Praxis Subject Assessment Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications,
and edTPA Educative Teacher Performance Assessment
Renewal Period 5 years
Renewal Requirements 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 (once)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (nationwide)
Average Salary (May 2018)* $48,800 (elementary)
$54,090 (middle)
$46,810 (secondary)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Step 1: Earn A Bachelor's Degree

Federal regulations require that all special education teachers in the country have a bachelor's degree and certification from the state where they will be teaching. It is recommended that one study education or special education in a college program that includes the required state-approved teacher preparation. This will prepare prospective special education teachers for mandatory testing prior to earning their license. It will also prepare them for their first day in the classroom with internships and field experiences. Alabama offers different levels of teaching certification. A bachelor's degree qualifies one for a Class B certification.

Step 2: Study At The Graduate Level (Optional)

A master's degree qualifies one for a Class A teaching certification. Those who pass a graduate-level state-approved program with a minimum number of credit hours in education specialist coursework can hold a Class AA certification. Class A and Class AA certified teachers can command higher salaries than those with Class B certifications.

Step 3: Pass Appropriate Tests

Alabama requires that special education teachers pass several standardized tests. These include the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, a basic skills assessment often required for admission into educator preparation programs. The Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications exam is required for special education teachers across grade levels and specialties. The other required test is the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), which relates to pedagogy and practice. These tests prove that one has the knowledge necessary to teach and the specialized skills necessary to teach students with disabilities.

Additional exams are required for two grade groups. Collaborative special education teachers for grades K-6 must pass the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects. Instructors for grades P-3 must pass the Praxis: Early Childhood Education.

Step 4: Undergo A Background Check

Everyone who works as a teacher in Alabama is required to undergo a background check and be fingerprinted. As part of this procedure, the background check will be run through both the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Even if one has completed a background check in another state, it must be completed again in Alabama. The current cost for fingerprinting is $48.15.

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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  • University of South Alabama

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