UAB’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree with several concentrations. Each concentration leads to Class AA certification from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). Teachers with Alabama Class A certification in ESL may pursue Class AA certification in one or more of the following concentrations:  Teacher Leadership, ESL, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education.
These concentrations are outlined below; their respective information packets are posted on the Program Information webpage.


Class AA in Teacher Leadership

Teachers with Alabama Class A certification in any teaching field (including ESL) may pursue Class AA certification in Teacher Leadership through an EdS program that was recently created by the ALSDE. The Teacher Leader program focuses on preparing teachers to guide their colleagues in curriculum development and instructional delivery. It does not prepare teachers to become administrators. UAB's Teacher Leader program is coordinated by Dr. Susan Spezzini (  205-934-8357).

In accordance with ALSDE regulations, applicants to the EdS teacher leader program must have taught for at least three full years. They must submit an admission portfolio to the School of Education and take part in an admission interview. They must also have degree-seeking status before taking any courses towards their Class AA certification.

Spezzini class
First cohort in the EdS Teacher Leader Program (fall 2011)

UAB’s 31-hour teacher leader program consists of six 5-hour modules and a 1-hour introductory course. Each module consists of a 3-hour content course, a 1-hour research course (R), and a 1-hour field experience course (L). Teachers take one module per semester. Below is a 2-year course plan:

Year 1     Fall     EDC 732-R-L Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction
    Spring EDL 711-R-L Collaborative Problem Solving
    Summer   EDL 735-R-L Professional Leadership
Year 2     Fall EDC 731-R-L Curricular Design and Implementation
    Spring ECT 720-R-L Universal Design for Learning
    Summer  EPR 700-R-L Data-Based Decision Making

Class AA in ESL
All teachers with Alabama Class A certification in ESL are eligible for pursuing Class AA certification in ESL. Before starting this Class AA program, teachers must pass the Praxis in English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). The ALSDE has set the passing score at 144 on the Praxis #0361.

At UAB, the EdS concentration in ESL consists of 15 credit hours in teacher leadership (three 5-hour modules), 15 credit hours in ESL (five 3-hour courses), and a 1-hour introductory course. These ESL courses are EESL 647, EESL 657, and three ESL advisor-approved electives. Teachers may request that their National Board Certification in English as a New Language be transferred into UAB’s EdS program and count as two ESL electives (i.e., 6 credit hours).
Class AA in ESL Checklist

Alabama teachers with Class A certification in ESL may obtain two Class AA certifications by taking 46 credit hours. First they complete UAB’s 31-hour EdS program in Teacher Leadership and obtain Class AA certification as a Teacher Leader. Then they take 15 credit hours of ESL courses (EESL 647, EESL 657, and 3 electives). After that, they are eligible for Class AA certification in ESL.

If teachers hold National Board Certification in ESL and Alabama Class A certification in ESL and if they have also completed UAB’s EdS program in Teacher Leadership, they will only need to complete 9 credit hours of ESL courses (EESL 647, EESL 657, and an elective) in order to obtain Class AA certification in ESL.

Class AA in Elementary Education
Teachers with Alabama Class A certification in ESL and Class B certification in elementary education and/or early childhood education (ECE) may pursue Class AA certification in elementary education or ECE.

Class AA in Secondary Education
Teachers with Alabama Class A certification in ESL and Class B certification in Math, Science, Language Arts, or Social Studies may pursue Class AA certification in secondary education with a concentration in the teaching field of their Class B certificate.

See UAB's School of Education Tuition and Fees webpage for up-to-date cost information.
Example: Based on the 2015-16 tuition, a 31-hour EdS program will cost approximately $14,000. It should be noted that annual increments in tuition and/or fees usually take place.
Financial Aid: Upon taking 5 graduate credit hours per semester, graduate students are eligible for financial aid. In order to facilitate student eligibility for such aid, UAB designed this Teacher Leader EdS with 5 credit hours per semester. For more information about financial aid and obtaining student loans, see UAB's Paying for College page. 

Ed.S. Info Packet
To seek admission to UAB's Graduate School as a degree-seeking EdS student, please follow these steps.
1. Submit a degree-seeking application by the targeted deadline: July 1st for fall admission, November 1st for spring admission, and April 1st for summer admission.
2. Go to the ApplyYourself website and follow the instructions.
3. Under degree, select Educational Specialist (EdS), and under degree program, select Education.
4. Under concentration, select Teacher Leader, ESL, Elementary, or Secondary.
5. Pay $45 online with a credit card. NOTE: Mailing a check will delay your application.
6. List three references on your application. When you submit your application, UAB will automatically send an electronic recommendation form to each of your references.
7. Obtain a passing score on the admission exam - either MAT or GRE.
    Miller Analogies Test (MAT): minimum of 388 scaled (35 raw)
    Graduate Record Exam (GRE): minimum of 850 (old) or approximately 190 (new)
     - If you were admitted to UAB for an earlier graduate degree, email Dr. Spezzini ( to see if your test score is still in record and if it is high enough to pursue an EdS.
     - If you took the MAT/GRE less than five years ago and have never sought admission to UAB, contact the testing organization (Psychological Corporation or ETS) and request that an official transcript be sent to UAB.
     - If you took the MAT/GRE more than five years ago, email a scanned attachment of your score report to Dr. Spezzini and ask if it can still be considered.
     - If you often perform poorly on standardized tests, ask Dr. Spezzini for some test-taking strategies.
     - If you have never taken either test or if your earlier score is not high enough, plan to take the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) at UAB where it is offered several times each week. The MAT is shorter, less expensive, and usually more accessible than the GRE. Immediately after you finish the MAT, your unofficial score report will appear on the screen and you will be allowed to print it. To expedite the admission process, email a scanned attachment of this score report to Dr. Spezzini.
8. Request official transcripts from all colleges attended (even if you took just one course). Request that these transcripts be sent directly to or mailed to SOE Office of Student Services (OSS), 1720 2nd Avenue South-EB 232; Birmingham, AL 35294-1250. NOTE: If you are a former UAB student, you will not need to request a transcript from UAB.
9. Periodically check the status of your application on the Check Admission Status site. 
10. Obtain medical clearance from UAB by the middle of your first semester. You will need this clearance to register for your second semester of classes. For more information, go to UAB's Student Health and Wellness Medical Clearance webpage. In the left column, click on Domestic Undergraduate and Non-clinical Domestic Graduate Students. After you are admitted as a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student, you will receive emails with instructions for creating a account. This will be followed by an evite from with instructions for uploading your medical documents.
11. Non-native speakers of English must do language assessments to establish their level of academic English. For more information, contact Dr. Spezzini.
12. International Students must also meet requirements described on the International Recruitment and Student Services webpage.

Updated August 3, 2015