On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill to address Alabama's growing teacher shortage.

House Bill 342, sponsored by State Rep. Susan DuBose (R-Hoover), will provide more "high-quality pathways" for Alabamians who want to become teachers to access alternative certification instead of going the traditional route.

"As Alabama continues to face teacher shortages, particularly in math and science, efforts are being undertaken to fill vacancies in those positions with qualified persons with academic experience outside the teaching profession," Ivey said upon signing the bill into law. "One such approach, HB 342, expands access to high-quality alternative certification pathways for new teachers that comply with rigorous standards, while also maintaining the professionalism and quality of the teaching profession."

Applicants for an alternative teaching license must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college, pass a criminal background check and successfully complete an alternative teacher preparation program offered by the approved organization, according to the bill.

Teachers who receive an alternative license may be required to go through the Alabama Teacher Mentorship Program if hired by a participating local school board.

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