​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Office of Teaching and Leading > Verification of Higher Degrees: Degree Correlation


Individuals may view Form VHD for information and options for receiving additional pay based on holding a valid Alabama educator certificate and earning an advanced degree.

Effective for individuals who earned initial graduate credit toward an advanced degree on or after July 1, 2017.  Act #2016-198 (House Bill 121), also known as the Pay Raise Bill, includes requirements individuals must meet in order to be eligible for additional pay for earned advanced degrees (that is, degrees above the bachelor's degree). Act #2016-198 may be viewed at the following link http://arc-sos.state.al.us/PAC/SOSACPDF.001/A0011357.PDF.

Regardless of when an individual began/begins graduate study toward an advanced degree, the regional accreditation status of the institution at the time the degree was earned is extremely important. In order for the advanced degree to be recognized for additional pay, the degree must have been earned from a senior institution that held regional accreditation at the level of the degree earned (e.g., master's degree, specialist degree) at the time the degree was earned.  The regional accrediting agencies are as follows:

 - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SC)
 - New England Association of Schools and Colleges (EH)
 - Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NW)
 - Middle State Commission on Higher Education (M)
 - Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WC)
 - Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NH)

The Degree Correlation: Certification Index webpage provides information regarding degree areas that have been approved for advanced pay based on the area of certification held. This page is updated as additional degrees areas are approved. Individuals may click here to find the area(s) of certification held. 

Questions about being paid based on earning an advanced degree may be sent to payforadvanceddegrees@alsde.edu.

Recognition of an advanced degree for additional pay does not mean the degree level of the individual's Alabama certificate will be changed. Requirements for advanced level certification through the various approaches to certification may be found on the Educator Certification webpage.  The Educator Certification office may also be contacted by phone at 334-353-8567 or by email.