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5 Questions You Should Ask An Online Teaching Credential Program

Becoming A Teacher

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on May 28, 2019

You want to become a teacher. Now you need to secure a program that can help make that happen.

As you’re searching for an online teaching credential program in Texas, it’s important to do your due diligence in finding the right program that works with your schedule, provides continuous support throughout the process, and gets you ready for leading a classroom of your own.

Online alternative programs are an increasingly popular way to earn your teaching license in Texas. More than 50% of all new teachers come from alternative education programs into the Texas state education system.

Finding the right program for you, however, shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Though all must meet state curriculum standards, alternative programs differ among one another, including in how they offer classes (100% online versus some in-person training), what type of support they provide once the application process is completed, and any other benefits offered that can help you succeed.

Before applying and enrolling in an online teaching certification program, it’s important that you vet your options. Here are 5 questions you should ask that will help you determine which program is best for you, and your future.


What type of flexibility is offered?


online teaching credentialTime flexibility is a huge consideration for many, especially considering students who enroll in alternative online programs are oftentimes changing careers, are stay-at-home moms or members of the military.

Ensuring you accept a spot in an online teaching program that works with your schedule is important for your ultimate success.

But, it’s also important to ask about flexibility in regard to how the curriculum is taught. A fully online program is often especially attractive to working professionals enrolling in a teaching program. However, an online program that offers some in-person training options as well can provide a number of additional benefits, including personal and professional connections. 

The best online teacher certification programs offer a combination of online and in-person training, because they offer you with flexibility and better prepare you to teach with knowledge from both an instructor and hands-on learning.


What type of support is provided to me?


Like any new profession, you’ll struggle sometimes as you’re learning the ropes. It is important to look for a teacher certification program that ensures that you have the support you need to be successful.

One example of ongoing support is the pairing of you and your trainer adviser. This person will work with you to ensure you are a dynamic teacher for your students, and provide feedback to you as you learn techniques. Look for a program that promotes these trainer advisers and displays their credentials.

Also, double check that there are in-field advisers who are accessible to you throughout the school year so they can provide feedback as they visit you in the classroom. This can help you grow as an educator.


Do you help with test preparation?


One of the first tasks you will need to accomplish to become a teacher in Texas is to pass a content test, called Texas Examination of Educator Standards online teaching credential program(TExES),  and a Pedagogy and Professional (PPR) test.

While some online teaching credential programs offer test preparation help, they do so as an add-on cost. Instead, test preparation should be standard in any teacher training program.

When looking at programs, ask if they offer a high-quality training class at no extra charge. This test preparation course should include test coverage and practice testing so that you are prepared the best you can be.


What happens after this conversation?


After you’ve had a phone or in-person conversation with an online teaching credential program, many will try to pressure you into applying right away. That’s a mistake.

Never rush into a decision before weighing your options. Instead, look for a program that provides an answer that it wants a mutually beneficial relationship. Also, a program that offers a “real person” who wants to learn about your goals and interests, versus someone reading off a script, is more likely to care about your success and not try to “hard sell” you right on the spot.

A representative from the right online teaching credential program will also walk you through the process of what happens once you decide to apply. At ECAP, for example, we will call you to make sure you’ve ordered transcripts or completed your Statement of Qualification (SOQ). That way, we can confirm you meet the basic requirements for enrollment.

Our article, How To Become A Teacher With A Texas Alternative Certification Program, further explains this process.

One other quick note: Look for a program in which an application does not automatically enter you into a commitment. If you decide it isn’t the right fit for you, you should be able to pursue other options.


What does applying to your program do for me?


Like we mentioned earlier, it’s important that you think of yourself as the interviewer just as much as the interviewee. Finding the right program that meets your needs and goals, and can offer you the most benefits, will help you achieve success.

Listen for answers that differentiate one program from all the others. At ECAP, for example, applying puts you on our radar. We regularly check up on our applicants’ progress and communicate next steps. Once you apply, you are under our wing.

This then opens the door to a network of resources we have developed over the past two decades. While we don’t like to share our trade secrets, know that we have an 83% successful placement rate for our interns who sign up for training. If you are in a high-need area, we placed 100% of our candidates this past year.


Bottom Line


These are just a few of the questions you’ll want to ask when vetting online teaching credential programs.

Our article, Information You Need To Know When Applying To ECAP, further explores some other areas you should inquire about, including what your first training experience will look like, how ECAP helps you find a job and how you can get further assistance. Getting any questions you have answered is an important first step in getting the results you have been dreaming of - your own classroom.


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Topics: Becoming A Teacher

Written by Micah Fikes

Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.

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