I had a great experience, but probably didn't go about getting into the program in the usual way. I went to a job fair for a school district, met with a principal (who really preferred her new teachers to be alt. cert.) and was hired before being placed with an alternative certification program. It made a huge difference in the support I received while going through the program and teaching. The pay is (in Texas) not great, but certainly not the bottom of the barrel - there are also differences if you have postgrad degrees, and it will depend heavily on the school district; I believe most of them post payscales online. Since we were living in Dallas at the time, I stopped teaching when my older son was born, after investigating child care prices. It simply wasn't worth it for us, but we were also being quite picky about the type of child care we were willing to use (in home being our preference.)
All in all, I really was fortunate in my co-workers and environment, and quite enjoyed teaching. It is very challenging, and I would recommend trying to get a little in class experience (either volunteering, or getting on a substitute list if time allows) if you are unsure about whether you really want to be a teacher. Some people flourish, and it just isn't a good match for others. I personally think you have to experience it to decide for yourself. Good luck!