Requirements for the Class A Teacher Education Program in Instructional Leadership

What is the Class A program for areas of instructional support?

The purpose of a Class A program in areas of instructional support shall be to prepare educators to serve effectively in instructional support positions. The UNA College of Education and Human Sciences offers Class A instructional support programs in instructional leadership and school counseling.

How do I apply for admission to UNA?

To apply for admission to UNA, an application should be filed with the Graduate Admissions Office. 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. Candidates should consult with their academic advisor throughout their program to ensure all requirements are met.

How do I register for classes?

Registration Information

Instructional Leadership

All instructional leadership candidates must be unconditionally admitted to the program prior to enrolling in any instructional leadership coursework. Requirements for unconditional admission are outlined below:

Phase I
  1. Entrance Exam: A passing score on the appropriate Praxis II exam, 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) is required.
  2. Degree: A bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution is required.
  3. Grade Point Average: A minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) on undergraduate or graduate work is required and must be documented on the official transcript documenting the earned degree.
  4. Sliding Scale: For candidates with less than the recommended GPA or test score, consideration will be given based on a combination of GPA and test scores. Current Sliding Scale for Admission
  5. 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. Background Clearance Information
  6. Experience: Candidates must have a minimum of three full years of full-time, acceptable professional educational experience in a P-12 setting, which must include at least one full year of full-time P-12 teaching experience, verified on FORM EXP.
  7. Valid Certificate: A valid bachelor's level professional educator certificate or a valid master's level professional educator certificate in a teaching field or area of instructional support area is required. Documentation of this valid certificate must be on file in the Office of Teacher Certification.
  8. 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.
  9. Graduate Coursework: All instructional leadership candidates must be unconditionally admitted to the program prior to enrolling in any instructional leadership coursework.
Phase II
  1. Portfolio: Candidates must submit an admission portfolio to the program advisors. This portfolio is designed to show evidence of the applicant's leadership capacity in both the school and community settings. It will serve as a major component of the application process for entry into the masters of instructional leadership program. This portfolio will contain the following:
    1. Letter of application that includes a summary of the candidate's reasons for pursuing instructional leadership certification and a summary of what the candidate expects from the preparation program. Include answers to the following questions:
      * What is your interest in and expectations from the preparation program in instructional leadership?
      * Why should you be selected for the program?
      * What school leadership experience do you have?
    2. Current Resume or Vita.
    3. Professional growth/development plan reflecting the last 3 years of your teaching experience, which should include a completed copy (all forms) of the most recent performance appraisal to include the professional development component, if available.
    4. Copies of transcripts for higher education work completed.
    5. Copies of teaching certificates and copies of other endorsements.
    6. Three letters of recommendation to include the applicant's principal or supervisor. Each local superintendent will establish requirements for recommendations from the principal and/or supervisor.
    7. Evidence of ability to improve student achievement (i.e. SAT scores, DIBELS pre-post-tests, end-of-month tests, etc.).
    8. Evidence of leadership and management potential, including evidence of most recent accomplishments in the area of educational leadership.
    9. Evidence of other areas of leadership (i.e. community work, religious organizations, military, service organizations, etc.).
    10. Memorandum of understanding from participating school district.

Return completed portfolio to the program advisors prior to scheduling of the required admissions interview. 

Phase III
  1. Interview: Candidates must pass an interview conducted by a program admission committee that includes both P-12 instructional leaders and higher education faculty. This interview will assess the candidates understanding of the UNA Conceptual Framework, as well as, Instructional Leadership Standards.

Once I have been unconditionally admitted to graduate TEP, can my admission status ever be revoked?

After you have been admitted to TEP, you are expected to maintain all standards covered in the graduate TEP 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 graduate TEP for longer than one academic year.

I've been admitted to graduate TEP, what's next?

  1. Coursework: Complete remaining coursework on official checklist.
  2. 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.
  3. Program of Study: All candidates must file a signed and approved Program of Study (checklist) with their advisor after completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework.
  4. Admission to Candidacy: All candidates must file a signed and approved Admission to Candidacy form with their advisor after completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework (usually filed along with the Program of Study).
  5. Praxis II exam: Pass appropriate Praxis II exam required for your major. Praxis II exams are administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Candidates must pass Praxis II exam prior to internship and graduation.
  6. Internship: Successful completion of an internship that allows candidates to benefit from purposeful hands-on experiences that would prepare them to lead the essential work of school improvement and higher student achievement prior to being placed at the helm of a school. Candidates in Alabama instructional leadership preparation programs must experience an internship in which the following occur:
    1. Collaboration between the University and LEA that anchors internship activities in real-world problems instructional leaders face, provides for appropriate structure and support of learning experiences, and ensures quality guidance and supervision.
    2. An explicit set of school-based assignments designed to provide opportunities for the application of knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking that are required to effectively perform the core responsibilities of a school leader, as identified in state standards and research and incorporated in the preparation programs' design.
    3. A developmental continuum of practice progresses from observing to participating in and then to leading school-based activities related to the core responsibilities of instructional leaders, with analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of real-life problems at each level.
    4. Field placements provide opportunities to work with diverse students, teachers, parents, and communities.
    5. Handbooks or other guiding materials clearly define the expectations, processes, and schedule of the internship to participants, faculty supervisors, directing instructional leaders (principals), and LEA personnel.
    6. Ongoing supervision provided by program faculty who have the expertise and time to provide frequent formative feedback on interns' performance that lets them know how they need to improve.
    7. Directing instructional leaders (principals) model the desired leadership behaviors and know how to guide interns through required activities that bring their performance to established standards.
    8. Rigorous evaluations of interns' performance of core school leader responsibilities based on clearly defined performance standards and exit criteria and consistent procedures.
    9. Universities and LEAs collaborate to ensure that candidates have meaningful and practical experiences in actual school settings during the course of the instructional leadership preparation program. The internship is designed to place candidates in the cooperating school during critical times of instructional planning. This collaborative model requires that LEAs provide release time for candidates and for universities to work with LEAs so that the candidate's experiences are comprehensive and valuable. The internship experiences are the total sum of practical experiences, either field or clinical, as part of every course taken for preparation, plus a residency. The residency is uninterrupted service in an active school with students present. A residency shall be no less than ten consecutive full days in the school setting with students present. The residency allows interns to experience leadership in as many of the Alabama Leadership Standard indicators as possible.
  7. Portfolio: Candidates shall prepare and maintain a comprehensive portfolio which indicates the level of experiences and knowledge gained in instructional leadership during the intern experiences. The portfolio shall be juried by a committee of university and cooperating school staff before the candidate is recommended by the university for instructional leadership certification.
  8. Grade Point Average: Maintain a grade average of "B" or better on all graduate coursework 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.
  9. Graduation: 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 last semester of coursework. 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 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 Class A teacher education program:

  1. Tuition: For cost of attendance, please contact Student Financial Services at (256) 765-4278 or you may visit their webpage at
  2. Transfer Credit: 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.
  3. Program/Course Validity: 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.
  4. Special Alternative Certificate (SAC): A Special Alternative Certificate (SAC) allows a superintendent or administrator to employ an applicant who is completing requirements for initial Class A certification in library media, school counseling, or instructional leadership through a State-approved Class A program at an Alabama institution. The SAC employment process must be initiated by the employing school system.

For more information about the Instructional Leadership program, please contact the program coordinator:

Dr. Beth Sewell
(256) 765-4578