Alabama: Working in Education in Alabama

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Like in most states, public schools in Alabama are hard hit by difficult economic times. Funding for Alabama schools for the 2009-2010 fiscal year declined by 11 percent from the previous year. Spending in 2010 will be $1.4 billion less than in 2007. Money for classroom supplies, textbooks, transportation, libraries, technology, professional development, and other line items has been cut in order to balance the budget, creating a challenging situation for administrators.

Alabama pays $4,956 for each K-12 student, $7,234 per community college student, and $8,245 per four-year college student.

Educational Management

Administrators need a valid Alabama Administrator's Certificate or a letter from their college or university stating that they have met all requirements for certification. Principals must have an Alabama Certification in Administration plus a minimum of five years of experience in teaching and a minimum of three years of successful administrative experience. The annual salary range for school principals in Alabama is as follows:

  • Elementary: $72,223 to $116,759 (According to a survey by Educational Research Service, the nationwide average for the 2006-7 school year was $82,414)
  • Middle School: $76,561 to $123,245 (Nationwide average: $87,866)
  • High School: $83,729 to $133,975 (Nationwide average: $92,965)

Requirements for other educational management positions vary by position and district. The position of assistant director of human resources, for example, requires three years of experience in education administration. The Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) is an independent organization that coordinates and facilitates the resources of members for the advancement of public education. Membership is open to school administrators and people seeking positions in school administration. CLAS provides professional development, networking, and support for its members.

The Alabama Leadership Academy supports the growth and development of principals for the purpose of improving student achievement.

Positions in Curriculum and Instruction

The position of director of curriculum and instruction requires a master's degree, though a doctorate is preferred. Advanced graduate work in curriculum development and/or instructional practice is also required. Candidates must have valid teacher certification plus three years of successful experience as a classroom teacher. In addition, they must be eligible for certification by the State of Alabama in Administration/Supervision.

Teacher's Aides

Alabama requires 30 hours of formal training for paraprofessionals in schools. The salaries for teacher assistants, instructional assistants, and school aides in Alabama schools range from $8.00 to $12.56 per hour. Requirements vary and may include a high school diploma or GED and some postsecondary education or an associate's degree in child development.

Educational Technology in Alabama Schools

The goal of Alabama's K-12 Technology Education program is technology fluency for all Alabama students. The Alabama Course of Study: Technology Education provides the framework for the K-12 study of technology in Alabama's public schools.

The Technology Initiatives office in the Alabama Department of Education is a single point of contact in school system technology planning. In support of technology education, the state has an annual educational technology conference, a distance learning initiative, distance learning resources, and professional development for teachers to promote the use of technology in learning.

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