College of Education & Human Sciences
Requirements for the Alt A Graduate Teacher Education Program (TEP)
What is the alternative Class A program?
The Alternative Class A Program is a graduate teacher education program designed for candidates who hold a baccalaureate degree in any field but do not yet hold a teaching certificate. Successful completion of the Alt A program will result in a Master's of Education Degree and eligibility for an Alabama Class A Teaching Certificate.
What Alt A teacher education programs are offered by UNA?
UNA offers Alternative Master's degree programs in biology, business marketing, chemistry, English language arts, English to speakers of other languages, general science, general social science, history, mathematics, music, and physical education. Click here to see a complete list of all available majors, including the checklist of required courses for each major.
What are the eligibility requirements for admission to UNA for candidates pursuing the Alt A program?
Admission to the University does not constitute unconditional admission to a teacher education program. All candidates are admitted to the University on a conditional basis. Conditional admission to the University for candidates pursuing the Alt A program requires that candidates have the following:
- Degree: A bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Grade Point Average: A minimum GPA overall of 2.5 (4.0 scale) is required and must be documented on the official transcript from the degree granting institution and must be the GPA that was used as the basis for granting the degree. If a graduate degree is used as the basis for admission to the Alternative A program, no graduate credit from that degree may be applied to the Alternative A program for certification purposes.
- Entrance Exam: A passing score on the appropriate Praxis II exam is required for unconditional admission; therefore, it is recommended that the Praxis II be used for conditional admission purposes. Candidates without the appropriate Praxis II test score may submit a score of 388 on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or a score of 146 on the verbal and 140 on the quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for conditional admission. Whichever entrance exam you choose to take, make sure to have your test score sent to UNA (institution code 1735).
- MAT - this test is given on UNA's campus about once per month. For more information about the MAT, click here.
- GRE - this test is not given on the UNA campus, so we cannot provide further details about this one. For more information about the GRE, click here.
- PRAXIS II - this exam is based on your content area. There are many different subjects available, so you need to decide what you want to major in before taking this exam (i.e., if you choose to major in biology, you will need to take the Praxis II exam in biology; whereas if you choose to major in mathematics, you will need to take the Praxis II exam in mathematics). For more information about the Praxis II exam, click here.
- Background Clearance: Suitability clearance from the Alabama State Department of Education based on ABI/FBI fingerprints is required. The candidate is responsible for the non-refundable, non-transferable fee. A candidate whose suitability determination precludes admission to a State-approved teacher education program has the right to due process. Click here for more information about obtaining background clearance.
Major: Declare the major you wish to pursue and make sure the registrar's office has this major on file for you. Admission to one program does not necessarily guarantee admission to another. Click here for a complete list of available majors and their corresponding checklists of required courses for each major.
Graduate Coursework: All candidates are admitted to the University on a conditional basis. Candidates are limited to a total of five graduate courses prior to unconditional admission. Any coursework exceeding the five-course rule may not be used for certification purposes.
How do I apply for admission to UNA?
To apply for admission to an Alt A program at UNA, an application should be filed with the graduate admissions office. Click here to navigate to the Graduate Admissions webpage. After the graduate admissions office has received all necessary application components, your file will be processed. If accepted, you will receive a letter of acceptance into the program listing the name of your assigned advisor. All Alt A students are admitted to the University on a conditional basis.
*Students must meet with their assigned education advisor to initiate the "Content Area Review" prior to registering for any coursework.* Candidates should consult with their academic advisor(s) throughout their program to ensure all program requirements are being met. Click here for a list of advisors for each major.
How do I register for classes?
Click here for instructions on course registration.
Requirements for Unconditional Admission to the Alternative Class A Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP)
Admission to the University does not constitute unconditional admission to a teacher education program. All Alternative A candidates must complete a formal application for unconditional admission through the Office of Teacher Certification (Stevens Hall #546). Requirements for unconditional admission include:
- Graduate Orientation: Complete ED 000 with a grade of "P" or "S."
- Application: Obtain an application for unconditional admission to GTEP from your education advisor. Submit the application to the Office of Teacher Certification (SH 546) by the 10th day of the month you wish to be reviewed. If an application is submitted after the 10th day of the month, it will not be reviewed until the following month (i.e., an application submitted on February 9 will be reviewed on February 10; however, an application submitted on February 11 will be reviewed on March 10).
- Prerequisites: Successful completion of ED 382, ED 401, and ED 480W with a grade of "C" or better. Candidates will not be allowed to register for these courses prior to being enrolled as an Alt A student at UNA. These prerequisite courses will be taken concurrently with your graduate classes after enrolling in the Alt A program. ED 382 is a prerequisite for ED 480W, so students generally take ED 382 and ED 401 during their first semester of enrollment and then take ED 480W during their second semester of enrollment. Content prerequisiste coursework may be recommended based on the admission audit.
- Interview: Satisfactorily complete an interview designed to provide information on whether the applicant's dispositions and interests are consistent with the requirements for successful teaching. Candidates are limited to two (2) attempts to successfully complete the GTEP interview.
- Grade Point Average: Maintain a grade average of "B" or better on all graduate work attempted. A student who makes a grade of "C" or below on more than six semester hours of graduate work is automatically eliminated from the program. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on graduate work is required for program completion.
- Basic Skills Exam: Attain a passing score on all three (3) parts of the Basic Skills portion of the Alabama Educator Certification Testing Program (AECTP), which includes Reading, Writing, and Applied Mathematics. Click here for more information regarding the Basic Skills Exam.
- Praxis II Exam: The subject assessments required in the AECTP consist of selected tests from the Praxis II - Subject Assessments that are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Candidates are required to take and pass the content-specific Praxis II exam in their teaching field prior to unconditional admission to the program. Click here for more information regarding the Praxis II exams.
When will I know if I'm unconditionally admitted into GTEP?
You will be notified of your admission status shortly after the 10th day of the month in which you apply. The notice will be sent to your UNA portal email address. If denied admission to an Alt A graduate teacher education program (TEP), candidates must fill out an application to re-apply for admission in order to be reviewed again at a later date.
Once I have been unconditionally admitted to GTEP, can my admission status ever be revoked?
After you have been unconditionally admitted to GTEP, you are expected to maintain all standards covered in the GTEP handbook. Your admission may be rescinded if:
- You fall below required standards, including but not limited to:
- Unacceptable disposition ratings
- Revocation/suspension of background clearance
- Grade of "C" or below on more than six semester hours of graduate coursework
- You become inactive in GTEP for longer than one academic year.
I have been unconditionally admitted to GTEP, now what do I do to complete the program?
Requirements for program completion include:
- Coursework: Complete remaining coursework on official checklist. Click here for a complete list of all current checklists of required courses for each major.
- Field Experiences: All education courses require a variety of field experiences in diverse settings. This is an integral preparation component embedded throughout the curriculum. These field experience hours should be logged in the format required by each individual instructor. Alt A students must satisfy 51 additional hours of field experiences outside of class requirements.
- Multicultural Experience: Students who began college in the Fall 2002, or thereafter, are required to show documentation of an acceptable multicultural experience. This may include a foreign language taken at the high school or college level, a continuing studies course, or other experiences as approved by the College. This documentation should be submitted on the appropriate form to the Office of Teacher Certification (SH 546).
- Program of Study: All Alt A candidates must file a signed and approved Program of Study (checklist) with their advisor after completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework.
- Admission to Candidacy: All Alt A candidates must file a signed and approved Admission to Candidacy form with their advisor after completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework.
- Praxis II Exams: Candidates must pass all remaining Praxis II exam(s) required of their major (including the Principles of Learning and Teaching) prior to internship. Praxis II exams are administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Score reports are available 6-8 weeks after the test date, so plan to take the test in enough time for your score reports to be on file at UNA prior to the start of the internship semester. Click here for more information regarding the Praxis II exams.
- Internship: A nine (9) hour internship is the last requirement before graduating and applying for certification. Before a candidate can be admitted to internship, all other teacher education program requirements must be complete.
- Portfolio: Candidates in the graduate teacher education program will develop a professional portfolio, documenting their progress toward becoming knowledgeable practicing professionals. Additional information outlining portfolio requirements will be presented in the internship syllabus.
- Content Area Assessment: Requirement varies by department. Must be completed prior to graduation.
- Graduation: Candidates must apply for graduation two (2) semesters in advance.
- Fall candidates should apply between January 1 and April 30
- Spring candidates should apply between May 1 and August 31
- Summer candidates should apply between September 1 and November 30
After completing my teacher education program, and graduating, how do I apply for certification?
You will receive the necessary paperwork to apply for certification during your internship semester. During this semester you will complete and return the application for certification, along with a certification fee, to the UNA Office of Teacher Certification by the posted deadline. After the semester has completed and degrees have been conferred, all applications for certification will be sent to the Alabama State Department of Education, along with the UNA recommendations and official transcripts. The Alabama State Department of Education will send your issued certificate to the mailing address listed on your application.
- An individual who completes a State-approved program must submit an application for Alabama certification within 60 calendar months of program completion.
- A candidate cannot be recommended for certification based on completion of a program for which State approval expired more than seven years prior to the date of program completion.
- Coursework used to meet Class B certification requirements may not be used to meet requirements for Class A certification in any teaching field or area of instructional support. Coursework used to meet Class A certification requirements may not be used to meet certification requirements for Class AA certification in any teaching field or area of instructional support.
- Candidates who wish to complete a teacher education program at UNA and apply for teacher certification in another state are responsible for contacting the Department of Education of that state to determine specific requirements of that state.
Other Important Information Regarding the Alt A program
Candidates who hold a degree with less than the required 2.5 GPA will not be allowed to take coursework to improve that GPA. The Alabama State Department of Education will only accept the GPA that was used as the basis for granting the earned degree.
If a graduate degree was used as the basis for admission to the Alt A program, no graduate credit from that degree may be applied to the Alt A program for certification purposes. However, if an undergraduate degree was used as the basis for admission to the Alt A program, then master’s level coursework previously taken will be reviewed and may be applied to an Alt A teacher education program if approved by the College of Education & Human Sciences.
Although UNA does offer some online courses, there is a significant portion of this degree that requires student presence on campus. Graduate education courses are offered in the late evening/night timeframe to accommodate the working professional.
This program typically takes students two-three years to complete. It cannot be completed in one year.
For cost of attendance, please contact Student Financial Services at (256) 765-4278 or you may visit their webpage at http://www.una.edu/financial-aid/index.html.
A Special Alternative Certificate (SAC) allows a superintendent or administrator to employ an applicant who is completing requirements for a Class A certification in a teaching field through a State-approved Alternative Class A program at an Alabama institution. SAC employment must be initiated by a school system. Candidates must be unconditional admitted to the Alt A graduate teacher education program to be eligible for SAC employment.
Graduate students may request up to six hours of coursework from other institutions to be counted toward their UNA degree program. A decision will be made after the request has been reviewed to ensure compliance with UNA and Alabama State Department of Education standards. This process should start with your assigned advisor. Transferred courses and/or credits used to meet approved program requirements must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution that prepares teachers on the same degree level of certification.
Candidates who are enrolled at UNA and who wish to take coursework at another institution to transfer credits back to UNA must secure pre-approval from the Dean of the college in which the candidate is enrolled. Candidates on academic probation, academic warning, or conditional admission cannot be approved for transient work. Candidates may not receive transient approval for courses failed in residence at UNA. Transferred courses and/or credits used to meet approved program requirements must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution that prepares teachers on the same degree level of certification.
Each University catalog is in effect for seven (7) years. If requirements for program completion are not met during the 7-year period, the bulletin expires and the candidate must elect and satisfy requirements of a more recent bulletin in effect. Enrolled candidates, whose 7-year bulletin entitlement expires as a result of discontinued enrollment or from having transferred to another university, are subject to the requirements of the bulletin current at the time of re-enrollment. Courses taken that have exceeded the 7-year period may not be counted towards program completion.
If you are not yet a UNA student, and you have questions regarding the information presented above and/or additional questions that were not addressed above, please contact Dr. Simpson at:
Dr. Jill M. Simpson
If you are already enrolled in the Alternative A program at UNA and are seeking advisement, please contact Dr. Lewis at:
Dr. Linda S. Lewis