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Professional Development for Special Education Teachers in Alabama

In Alabama, special education teachers will have opportunities for professional development. These opportunities to expand their skills also include continuing education requirements for license renewals.

Alabama Special Education Teacher Professional Development

Special education teachers in Alabama can attend annual training workshops to refresh their skills. The state also requires 100 clock hours of professional development in order for special education teachers to renew their license.

Required DegreeBachelor's degree
Required Degree FieldSpecial Education
Required TestsPraxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Praxis Subject Assessment, Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching, edTPA Educative Teacher Performance Assessment
License Renewal Requirements100 Clock/Contact Hours of Professional Development
Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Alabama (2018)*$49,320 (Kindergarten and Elementary)
$54,090 (Middle School)
$46,810 (Secondary School)
Job Outlook for Special Education Teachers in Alabama (2016-2026)**4.7% (Kindergarten and Elementary)
3.7% (Middle School)
2.9% (Secondary School)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Projections Central

Alabama Teacher Training

Individuals interested in becoming a special education teacher in Alabama will need to enroll in a teacher preparation program to complete a bachelor's degree. The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has three types of Professional Educator Certificates in special education:

  • Class A for individuals who hold a master's degree in special education
  • Class AA for those who completed an Alabama-approved teacher preparation program with a required number of credits in teacher prep
  • Class B for individuals with a bachelor's degree in special education

Teacher Certification Process

The ALSDE requires that prospective teachers take several Praxis examinations. The Core Academic Skills for Educators covers reading, writing, and math, while the subject assessment test will cover candidates' knowledge of the special education field. Individuals will also need to take the Principles of Learning and Teaching and edTPA Educative Teacher Performance Assessment. They also must be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check.

Professional Development Opportunities

The ALSDE provides various professional development opportunities throughout the year, including one-day legal and educational workshops, which are typically part of a series. Areas of training may include educating special education professionals on implementation methods for collaborating on Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams. The Alabama Association for Gifted Children offers an annual conference with the focus on meeting the needs of the gifted. Various training sessions are also offered around the state in the fall to address many of the same topics.

License Renewal Professional Development Requirements

As part of the license renewal process, Alabama special education teachers must complete 100 clock hours of professional development. When taking coursework through regionally accredited colleges, teachers with a Class B Professional Educator Certificate must earn at least a C in junior, senior, or graduate-level courses. For those with a Class A or Class AA Professional Educator Certificate, teachers must earn at least a B in graduate-level college courses. Teachers must submit official transcripts as documentation of any college credits earned and keep in mind that credit hours are not the same thing as clock hours.

Any clock hours that count toward the professional development requirement must meet the Alabama Standards for Professional Development and address any areas needing improvement. Special education teachers must record all clock hours for professional development on the Supplement VPD form, which is available on the ALSDE website. It should be noted that all descriptions of clock hours must include the date and time of completion, as well as the number of clock hours.