Texas Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Texas
Each state sets their own requirements for teacher credentialing. That’s why it’s important to gather information that pertains specifically to the state in which you intend to teach. As in most states, there is more than one route to becoming a certified teacher in Texas. The information contained here should make it clear which route will be the right one for you.
Requirements for certified teachers in Texas
A Texas teaching certification is available to individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed teacher training. In Texas, there are no colleges or universities that offer a degree in education. Instead, if you are attending undergraduate school in Texas, you select the major that best represents the subject matter you would like to teach. Many undergraduate programs allow you to study your major while also taking teacher training courses.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you may take a state-approved teacher training program to become eligible to teach. The majority of such programs can be completed within one year; while you are completing the program, you can hold a paid teaching position in a public school.
Teaching candidates must also pass the appropriate certification tests for the grade level and subject matter they want to teach. The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards, or TExES, are multiple choice question assessments of educator knowledge. The TExES tests are available in a wide variety of subject matter, so test takers must choose the test that is appropriate to the subject matter they’d like to teach.
If you are applying for certification in Texas for the first time, you will be required to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.
Texas Jobs for licensed teachers
Teachers in Texas may acquire several different types of certifications in order to teach the subject matter that interests them. Most teachers start out with the standard certification that allows them to teach in one subject. Teachers in Texas may also take examinations to earn additional certifications in other areas. If you would like, you may test for more than one additional certification at a time. This means you will be qualified to teach a variety of classes. Teaching certificates in Texas must be renewed every five years. As part of the renewal process, you must complete 150 hours of Continuing Professional Education coursework.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Texas for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Bilingual/English as a Second Language
- Career and Technical Education
- Computer Science
- English as a Second Language
- Special Education – Elementary and Secondary Levels
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
As an additional incentive, the Teach for Texas program provides grants to prospective teachers who promise to teach in the state’s public schools for a specified time period.
Teaching license reciprocity in Texas
Texas participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.