Teaching Here

Teaching Here

Why Choose Alabama?

A headshot of a young African-American female with long braids, smiling, wearing a black blouse.
Emily Cook (Alabama '13)

I love living in Birmingham because it is a growing city with easy access to the leaders of the city and the big businesses. Birmingham's central location is also great for travel.

Headshot of a young woman with long light brown hair and brown eyes.
Sarah Pepper (Alabama '13)

Living in Alabama is THE BEST. Seriously. The food, the people, the sunshine. Huntsville is an extremely unique place. There is always something fun to do for any age group. Free concerts in the park, food truck gatherings, art festivals, concerts, local breweries, hiking, museums. It's got everything to make someone feel a part of the community, which is why I never left.

A headshot of a young man with short dark hair, smiling wearing grey suit, blue shirt and yellow tie.
Darren Ramalho (Alabama '14)

I've never met a stranger in Alabama. The sense of community that exists in Alabama is special, allowing me the opportunity to get involved with a local church and teaching ACT/SAT English Prep with the Marion Military Institute in Perry County.

What You Need to Know


Average starting salary is $36,000




It's possible to pursue one


Two to three years

Becoming Certified to Teach

  • Overview
  • What does it cost to become certified?
  • How long does it take to become certified?
  • Where can I find more details about becoming certified?
  • Is a master's degree required?
  • Is it possible to complete a master's degree at the end of the two years?

Alternative Certification (No Master’s Degree)

To receive certification without obtaining a master’s degree, Teach For America—Alabama has teamed up with Athens State University to offer online courses towards alternative certification.


Alternative Certification with a Master’s Degree

We have formal Master’s Degree partnerships with the following universities:

Teachers have also elected to take Masters courses at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Alabama A&M University

Up Front Testing Costs: $300-$500

Costs range depending on which certification degree is taken

  • Praxis II in subject area: $115
  • Alabama Basic Skills Assessment: $102-$120


Up Front Certification Costs: $30-$300

Costs depend on which certification path a teacher chooses and the university partner. Some schools may require only the application fee, and some may require a percentage of their first semester’s tuition up front.


Ongoing Certification Costs: $3,000-$10,000

Costs can range depending on whether teachers want to pursue a post-baccalaureate alternative teaching certification (lower end of cost spectrum) or a Master’s Degree.

Certification can be obtained in two to three years depending on route taken:

  • Two years for a Masters Degree (Specialized Alternative Certification - SAC)
  • Three years for the non-masters degree route (Alternative Baccalaureate Certification - ABC)

Download the Teach For America - Alabama Certification Guide to find more details about specific tests, dates and pathways to becoming certified.

A master's degree is required for elementary, but not for secondary.


Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Elementary
  • Middle School Science
  • Middle School Social Studies
  • Middle School Math
  • Middle School English
  • High School Science
  • High School Social Studies
  • High School Math
  • High School English
  • Spanish

Neighborhood Tour: Woodlawn

  • About
  • Community Organizations
  • Fun Things to Do


A row of brightly colored businesses along a shady tree lined street.


Woodlawn is a neighborhood in east Birmingham, where our corps members teach and live.


The neighborhood is home to many community organizations working together to improve education for students and quality of life for all citizens, including urban food projects, music and art programs, and locally-owned businesses. Corps members who serve in this area partner with Woodlawn Foundation Community Partners allowing them to purposefully engage with their school and the community at large. The neighborhood is also a short distance from many coffee shops, Pepper Place Farmer’s Market, local parks, and the downtown area.

Learn More

Click the tabs on the left to learn more about some of the work and other interesting things that are happening in and around the Woodlawn community and Birmingham.

Woodlawn United

The Woodlawn Foundation is the lead organization or “community quarterback” of Woodlawn United – a comprehensive collaboration of partners committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in the Woodlawn community in Birmingham, Alabama. The Foundation follows a holistic approach to community revitalization based on the Purpose Built Communities model. Several TFA-AL teachers work within the Woodlawn Feeder Pattern

Birmingham Education Foundation

The Birmingham Education Foundation is dedicated to increasing the number of students in the Birmingham City Schools that are on the path to college, career, and life readiness. They do this by partnering with Birmingham City Schools and bringing many initiatives straight to children. The Birmingham Education Foundation is led by many Teach For America alumni including J.W. Carpenter (Mississippi Delta ’01) and Andrew Mitchell (Alabama ’11).

Desert Island Supply Company (DISCO)

The Desert Island Supply Co. is a nonprofit creative writing program for students in Birmingham. They offer free after-school workshops plus in-school programs in area schools. Their space in Woodlawn also serves as a hub for creative community projects and events.

Audiostate 55 Entertainment

Audiostate is a recording studio and entertainment company in the heart of Woodlawn. They partner with Woodlawn High School and bring in students to teach them about the professional and technical aspects of recording and producing music.

Woodlawn Street Market

The Woodlawn Street Market is an urban street market in the heart of Historic Woodlawn with local vendors selling food, art, home goods, and more! Like their Facebook page to get updates about when they are happening!

Pepper Place Market

Down the road from Woodlawn, the Pepper Place Farmer’s Market happens every Saturday from mid-April to mid-December. While it began as a place that was established to help small farming families, Pepper Place now has over 100 vendors set up with local produce, food, clothes, and other goods every Saturday.


MAKE is an open, membership-based space that facilitates creativity and the development of creative enterprises though facilities, resources, and education. (Think 'Gym' and substitute a potter's wheel or table saw for a treadmill.) In addition to an open work space, they also offer classes for adults including ceramics, welding, woodshop, and more!

Community Spotlights

A blue banner logo for Higher Academics Summer School

HASS: Higher Academics Summer School

Higher Academics Summer School (HASS), is a four-week academic summer program that serves high achieving students from the rural, Black Belt of Alabama. HASS was started in 2011 by two Teach For America teachers who recognized the importance of providing more opportunities for students to continue learning during the summer months. Higher Academics Summer School serves students who lack many extracurricular opportunities in their rural communities, but wish to build the skills to become competitive college applicants.

HASS provides students with an intensive four-week learning experience that they would not otherwise have access to in the Black Belt. The program includes rigorous academic, cultural, and leadership enrichment every summer throughout the duration of their high school careers. HASS students attend classes that focus on public speaking, literature and literary analysis, and college-level lab research. Students also participate in a mock trial competition, financial literacy courses, and tour colleges and universities.

This year, three of the first HASS graduates are now enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on full academic scholarships, due to their work with HASS.

An orange and blue logo for the Cap & Gown Project

The Cap & Gown Project

During the 2013-14 school year, teachers from J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville City Schools, a Title I school in North Alabama, decided to take their students on college tours to expose them to some of their options after high school. After successful trips to Nashville and Atlanta for over 40 students, 11 of the top performing freshmen were selected to visit colleges in the Northeast. In the planning of this journey, CAP & GOWN was born. The teachers sought to Create Academic Pathways and Guide Others Wherever Needed, and they want their students to do the same for their peers.

Chris Scribner (Alabama '13), a teacher at Jemison High School and Program Coordinator for CAP & GOWN explains the impact the project has had thus far.

“My first year [teaching, before CAP & GOWN] we had about nine students out of 100 graduates matriculate to a two or four-year college straight after graduation. At the end of last year, we had 54 students gain acceptance to college, so that's a 600 percent increase.”

Since its founding, over 300 students have visited more than 60 colleges in eight states and three countries. These experiences have helped transform the lives of the students who participate in the program. 

Follow CAP&GOWN on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

Regional Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs