Substitute teachers in Alabama are among the lowest-paid in the nation for this occupation, earning just slightly above minimum wage. Alabama requires that all substitute teachers have at least a high school diploma or GED, pass a background check through both the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and hold a valid substitute teacher’s license. To obtain this license, candidates must submit an application, pass a background check and pay a small processing fee.
The average annual income for a substitute teacher in Alabama is $17,300 and the average hourly rate is $8.32, according to May 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the second lowest-paying state in the country after Mississippi, where substitute teachers earn $17,210. The national average pay for substitute teachers is $29,350 per year, or $14.11 per hour, according to the BLS. Substitute teachers in Alabama earn about 41 percent less than the national average. However, pay can vary widely based on qualifications, district budget and the length of the teaching term.
Most districts scale substitute teacher’s pay based on certification or education level, with certified teachers earning more than certified substitute teachers. For example, Mobile County Public Schools pays certified substitute teachers $58 per day, and those with current Alabama teaching licenses $90, according to the MCPSS website.
Pay may be different even for those with invalid teaching licenses. MCPSS pays retired district employees with expired teaching licenses $75 per day, though these individuals are also required to hold substitute teaching certificates. Those who are certified in certain areas often receive more pay as well. Birmingham City Schools pays those with substitute teaching certifications $8 per hour, but pays those with substitute certifications in math or science $200 per day, according to the BCS website.
The amount that a substitute teacher is paid can vary based on a number of additional factors. Many districts increase the rate of pay for long-term substitute teachers. For example, Huntsville City Schools pays those who are certified as substitutes and teachers a rate of $60 per day until the 11th continuous day of working in the same position, at which point the pay increases to $80 per day, according to the HCS Substitute Teacher Handbook.
Some districts hire substitutes for half-day positions, for which they are typically paid half of the regular daily rate. Auburn City Schools, for example, has a daily rate of $60 and a half-day rate of $30, according to the ACS website. Some districts also have a higher pay rate for substitute teachers with four-year degrees.
As of May 2014, Alabama had about 17,480 substitute teachers, according to the BLS -- the third-highest concentration of substitute teaching positions in the nation, following Wyoming and Idaho. Birmingham, Montgomery and Southwest Alabama have the highest concentration of substitute teaching jobs in the state. Montgomery and Florence-Muscle Shoals have the fourth and fifth highest location quotients for substitute teachers in the nation, respectively. This means that the concentrations of substitute teaching positions in these areas are significantly higher than the national average.
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