Have you always thought about becoming a teacher? Change your career with The University of Alabama’s Alternative Early Childhood and Elementary Education certification program earning a Master of Arts Degree. This Master’s Degree is an alternative to the traditional Master’s Degree. The option is primarily meant for those who want a teaching degree and certification, but may already have an undergraduate degree which is not specifically in Elementary Education.

  • Here in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education certification program, we are proud of our expert faculty and friendly, helpful staff. Small class sizes (approximately 25) allow students and faculty to engage in hands-on, research-based teaching methods in all major disciplines.
  • Our students have the best of both worlds. Alternative Master’s Degree students begin teaching practice in local schools during the first semester of required education coursework and continue working in schools each semester while simultaneously learning in teacher education classes. We provide students with a wide variety of experiences in different grade levels (birth to 6th grade) and school settings to equip them with knowledge, teaching skills, and the professionalism needed for successful full-time teaching careers.

Admission Requirements

Program Requirements

The program in certification for Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education leads to a graduate degree from The University of Alabama with teacher certifications in both early childhood education (birth to 3rd grade) and elementary education (kindergarten – 6th grade) at the Alternative Master’s Class A level.

  • An undergraduate degree in another field earned before pursuing the Alternative Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
  • A minimum of 30 graduate hours of course credit will be earned.
  • A grade B or better in all coursework.
  • A 3.25 GPA for graduation.

ELED-ECED (ALT) Program of Study
(Please contact the Office of Student Services (205.348.6073) if you need a readable copy of the program of study.)


There may be Liberal Arts courses required by the State of Alabama for certification that need to be taken at the undergraduate level. These required courses, if not already taken, are referred to as “deficiencies.”

How to Apply Transfer Credit

If you plan to apply transfer credit from your former degree, there is a form below entitled The Course Substitution Approval Form. If the course substituted is from another institution, catalog descriptions and/or syllabi may be necessary to determine equivalency.

  • Course Substitution Approval Form

Electronic Portfolio 

All ELE Alt MA students submit an electronic portfolio that concentrates on reflection of particular areas of professional opportunities and Master’s degree coursework. Students must submit initially upon admittance, at a midpoint, and then at graduation. Portfolios are assessed by a student’s advisor who will provide feedback by assessing the portfolio at each of the three checkpoints with a portfolio rubric and a dispositions rubric. Scoring at the level of Target or higher is required for graduation.