Department of Educational Leadership

Master’s Program, Class A Certification

Department of Teacher Education

Alternative A Master's Program

Three Degrees Available

Alternative A Master's Programs FAQs

What Alternative A Master's (Alt A) programs offered at Samford?

Alt A programs and their associated teaching certificate areas offered at Samford are as follows:

Elementary Education (grades 1-6)
Special Education (grades K-6, Grades 6-12 or the option of grades K-12)
Secondary Education (grades 6-12) in each of the following content areas: Math, English, Gen Social Science, Gen Science, Biology
 Spanish, Physical Education and Music (grades K-12)

Who might be interested in the Alt A programs?

The Alt A programs were designed for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in an area other than education who desire to earn a teaching certificate.

How long will it take for me to complete an Alt A program?

The Alt A program is designed to be completed in five semesters and this includes the clinical internship semester.

What must be completed before I can get started with classes?

The first step in the process is to complete the online application.  Students will need to complete an interview, earn a passing score on required admission tests, complete a background check, complete a FAFSA (if seeking financial aid) and submit an official transcript for review.

If I had to complete a background check for a current job, can I just use that background check, or must I complete another one?

A previous background check can be used if it is in the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) database as long as it is current. The candidate is responsible for ensuring the background check is current and on file with the ALSDE.

When do programs start and end?

The Alt A programs begin in June during the first Summer term and end the fall semester of the following year.

How many courses will I take each semester?

Generally, students take two courses each semester but this can vary by program.

What if I get “off track” in taking courses?

Education courses must be taken in sequence and courses are taught in a predetermined rotation.  If a student gets off track, they must wait until the required course is offered again the next year. This could extend the student’s time to complete their program.

Are summer courses required?

Yes, two summer terms are included in each program.

What are Samford’s distinctives? Why should I choose Samford?

Samford teachers are in high demand. Students engage in multiple field experiences prior to internship, courses are offered in a hybrid format accommodating those who are employed, and courses taught by full time professors and content experts.  Employment rate of graduates is 100%, class sizes are small, tuition discounts are awarded, and there is an emphasis on strong relationships among faculty, staff and students.

What minimum GPA is required?

Students entering an Alternative A program must have earned an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75. Once admitted to an Alt A program, a 3.25 GPA must be maintained each semester to remain in the program.

What are the first steps I take in getting started in an Alt A program?

Students can get started in the application process by completing the online application and contacting the Graduate Admissions Coordinator.

Are there any specific technology requirements?

Because of the possibility of a student needing to participate in the course virtually at some point during the semester, all students should have the following technology available to them:

  • A Windows 10 or Macintosh desktop or laptop computer; although Chromebooks and mobile devices are capable of accessing the Canvas learning management system, they may not be compatible with certain third-party software.
  • A web cam (built into most modern laptops)
  • A microphone and speakers, headphones, or earbuds (also built in to most modern laptops)
  • The most recent version of the Chrome or Firefox Web browser; the Safari browser can be particularly problematic when accessing online courses.
  • A stable Internet connection capable of at least 2 Mbps upstream and 5 Mbps

Where can I get help with computer or other technology issues?

Students may contact Technology Services for assistance with technology needs.

How large are the classes in Alt A programs?

Classes vary in size but range from five to 25 depending on the course and program.

What standardized tests are required prior admission?

Students may be required to take one or more standardized tests, the Praxis, prior to program admission.

When should I take Praxis tests?

Those Praxis tests required for program admission should be taken early in the admissions process.  Based on the student’s application materials, the Graduate Admission Coordinator will guide students through this process.

Where should Praxis test results be sent?

Praxis scores must be sent to Samford University using the university specific code 1721.  Those results must also be sent to the Alabama State Department of Education whose specific code is 7020.

What is the cost of the Praxis test(s)?

The cost of tests ranges from $100- $300 which is subject to change based on the price determined by the test administrator, Educational Testing Services (ETS).

Where can I access materials to study for Praxis tests?

Students can receive help with the Praxis tests by visiting the Praxis website and purchasing study guides.

What is the delivery method of the courses?

The delivery method of the courses is hybrid. However, additional field experiences and clinical internship will require contact hours in schools.

What does “hybrid” mean?

A hybrid delivery method is a combination of face to face (in person) and online (remote) instruction. No courses in the Alternative A programs are offered fully online.

How often do the classes meet?

Alt A programs require face to face time on Samford’s campus. In general, the classes meet face to face on campus once each week in addition to online activities and/or on demand lectures.

At what time of day do the classes meet?

Education classes convene at night.

Based on the Samford University Faculty Handbook, students should expect to work two hours outside of class for every credit hour of the course enrolled.

Do Alt A students complete a student teaching experience?

Yes, the Alabama State Department of Education mandates that all candidates seeking an initial teaching certification complete a semester-long, full day clinical internship in an accredited school in a grade level within the grade band or content area in which the student is seeking certification.

Can student teaching be completed in my classroom if I am already teaching?

Yes, students may complete a clinical internship in their own classroom if the school is accredited and the teaching assignment is within the scope of the certification the candidate is seeking.

Can I be employed in a non-teaching job while student teaching?

Yes, students may be employed in a non-teaching job during clinical internship, however, the candidate must be available to complete the requirements of clinical internship including being able to be in a classroom for the full school day five days a week for approximately 15 weeks. Flexibility of the position will ultimately determine whether the student can remain employed.

Will students be required to spend time in a school before student teaching?

Yes, all students seeking certification are required to complete field placements prior to internship. Field placements range from 15-60 hours and are embedded in courses requiring clinical components.

Please note that students will be required to work alongside a certified teacher for a specified time during school hours each semester prior to clinical internship.  Field placement hours must be completed within typical school hours.

Will I need to quit my job to complete this program, or can I still work?

Students will need to determine if their employer is flexible and will allow them to meet all of the requirements of the program.

If I am teaching in a private school or teaching on an emergency certificate, can I complete an Alt A program?

Yes, students may complete an Alt A program while teaching full time.

What if I am currently teaching a grade level or subject area that will not be my certification area?

Students will need to seek approval to complete content/grade level specific field placement activities from their school administrator where they are currently teaching. Please note, candidates must complete clinical internship in an accredited school and in the grade level/content area of certification. 

Can I accept a teaching position during the time I am in an Alt A program? What steps do I take if I am able to do so?

Unconditionally admitted students may accept a teaching position while they are enrolled in an Alt A program.  The student should notify their advisor who will schedule a pre-employment advising session.

What do I have to do to receive my certification?

First, students must meet all Samford degree requirements for graduation and ALSDE program requirements for certification. Then, students complete the certification application containing the ALSDE application and citizenship verification form.  Next, students pay a certification fee.  Upon completion of these items, the certification officer can then recommend students for certification to the ALSDE.

I have heard about edTPA. Will I have to complete edTPA?

The Educator Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) is an assessment submitted to an outside entity, Educational Testing Services (ETS), to be scored. The edTPA project is completed and submitted by students to ETS during the clinical internship semester. The edTPA Coordinator at Samford will provide support for students as they progress through each Alt A program so that they will be prepared to submit the project during clinical internship.  A passing score on the edTPA project is a certification requirement and mandated by the ALSDE in order to apply for a professional teaching certificate.

Will I be certified in other states?

Students who meet Samford Alt A program and ALSDE certification requirements are eligible to earn a Class A license for Alabama.  Alt A program completers should contact the state department of education in the state in which a teaching license is desired to determine any additional requirements.

How long is student teaching?

Clinical internship is one semester- August through December of the final semester in all Alt A programs (approximately 15 weeks).

How much do the courses cost?

At present, tuition cost is $906.00 per credit hour with an $800.00 credit per course (Samford tuition rate is determined each fall and is subject to change). The tuition price does not include any required course fees.

*For example: Cost for one three-hour course is $2718.00. When the tuition discount is applied,  the final cost of a three credit hour course will be $ 1918.00.

*Please note that some content area courses are four credit hours.

How much can I expect to pay for fees and textbooks?

Fees and textbook costs vary by course.

Are there any scholarships available?

The tuition discount is applied for all students per course in the Alternative A programs.  Students are encouraged to seek other available scholarship opportunities.

Can I receive financial aid?

Yes, students should contact Samford One- Stop office for information regarding financial aid.  

How soon can I be admitted so I can apply for financial aid?

Students can be admitted upon completion of all admission requirements.  A FAFSA should be completed as soon as the admission process begins if seeking financial aid.  To note, summer term tuition must be paid in full prior to the first class meeting.

Program application deadline for each cohort is May 1. Applications received after the May 1 deadline will be scheduled to begin the program the following summer.

How does the cost of Samford compare to other universities?

The tuition discount offered by Samford to all teacher education graduate students makes tuition cost competitive with other metro area universities.