There are five teaching credential requirements you must meet in order to earn your educator license, according to the Texas Education Agency.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree
Complete an Educator Preparation Program (EPP)
Pass certification exams
Submit a state application
If you are considering pursuing a career in education and are wondering where to begin, we’ll dive into these five steps below and explore what information you need to earn your teaching credential.
Obtain A Bachelor’s Degree
The Texas Administrative Code requires any individual seeking a teaching license to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. While some choose to seek a bachelor’s degree in education, you can still earn your teaching license with a bachelor’s degree in a different field (more on that below).
The university must be accredited by an accredited agency that is recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees primary and secondary public education in the state.
There is one exception to this requirement. If you have an associate’s degree or no degree, you can still earn your teaching license with the help of an Educator Preparation Program, which we’ll explore in the next section.
Complete An Educator Preparation Program
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you’ve already knocked out one of the requirements for teacher certification. You’ll also need to enroll in an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) if you didn’t obtain a bachelor’s degree in education and earn your teaching certificate through that university program.
An EPP, also known as an alternative teacher certification program, is a one of the best options to become certified. Nearly half of all teachers to the Texas education system choose this path because it offers several benefits, from flexible scheduling to course availability and extensive networking opportunities.
To qualify for an EPP, in most cases, you must have a bachelor’s degree and meet the following criteria for admission:
Have a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted
Be at least in the final semester of your bachelor’s degree program in which you need to provide a copy of your final semester schedule of classes, a letter from an academic advisor indicating you are eligible for graduation and an official transcript through the previous semester
How To Qualify Without A Four Year Degree
In a few circumstances, you can also qualify for an EPP with an associate’s degree or no degree at all. However, with an associate’s degree, you must have at least two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach. This number rises to five years for no degree.
You must also have a current license in order to teach Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology.
After you’re enrolled in a program, the required training will consist of courses either online or in-person, or a combination of both. You will also complete field experience. In all, your training will include:
A minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate
Of these 300 hours, *30 must be dedicated to observation by a teacher advisor or in a classroom environment
*Important Note* - The 30 hrs observation by a teacher advisor is a very important part of your certification process. These certified teachers will send a recommendation to your program that you are ready or not ready to teach in the classroom. ECAP has former principals, vice principals and teachers who have extensive experience to help you through this process. Not all programs do this. Some simply send past teachers who are ex-students of their program to evaluate you, so it is important to contact the program you are considering to ensure that you are going to get the best advisor to help you.
Pass Certification Exams
One of the most challenging aspects of earning your teaching credentials is that you must pass all your certification exams.
To become a teacher, you must take at least one content exam in the area you wish to teach. At ECAP, we ask our interns to immediately take a practice content test to establish a baseline of where their knoweldge base is at. This way each intern will have a good understanding of their current knowledge level in each subject area and know which areas they need further training in.
Then we strongly encouraged each intern to take 40 hours of online training before they take the actual content exam. While the content test currently has a passing grade score of 240, we instruct our interns to aim for a score of 270. Once you score a 270, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams.
One of the final certification exams you will take is the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities.
The PPR, “is designed to assess whether a test taker has the requisite knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess,” according to the TEA.
To obtain your standard certification, you must pass the PPR. It’s important to choose an educator preparation program that helps prepare you for this key final test in your journey toward becoming a teacher. The best teacher training programs will offer test preparation as part of their curriculum … not as costly add-ons.
Science of Teaching Reading
Although this exam is not required for everyone seeking their teaching credential, some of you may need to take the Science of Teaching Reading (STR). The TEA requires you to take this exam if you plan to get certified in one of these areas:
Early Childhood: EC - Grade 3
Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Early Childhood - Grade 6 or Grades 4-8
English Language Arts and Reading with Science of Teaching Reading - Grades 4-8
English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies with Science of Teaching Reading - Grades 4-8
The STR focuses on standards that address the practice of teaching early reading, including proper teaching techniques, strategies, theories of learning, understanding students and their needs, and incorporating backgrounds and interests of students into teaching methods.
Submit A State Application
Once you meet all these specific requirements for certification, you must apply for your standard certificate. It is important that you do not apply until your educator preparation program has confirmed that you are eligible.
To submit a state application, you must do this on the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). (You need a TEA Login, or TEAL) to access your profile on ECOS.)
By the way, you will also use the TEAL site to renew your standard certificate, which must be done every five years. To renew your standard certificate, you must complete continuing professional development courses.
As part of the state’s teacher credential requirements, all first-time applicants must get fingerprinted. This process is part of a national criminal background check.
Applicants must submit fingerprints electronically by using an approved vendor. When calculating your cost for earning your teaching certificate, it’s important to keep in mind that you are responsible for paying for your national criminal background check and fingerprinting.
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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