If you’re considering a career change, this could be the chance you’ve been waiting for to make a positive impact on future generations.
Like several school districts across the state, Dallas Independent School District (ISD) recently announced it is hiring teachers for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. If you’re a licensed teacher in Texas, you can apply using the district’s Teacher Districtwide Application. Once you have completed your application, you will be invited to attend the district’s Recruiter’s Corner for an opportunity to learn more about its screening and selection process.
If you aren’t yet certified, you may be thinking this application window doesn’t apply to you. The good news is, that’s not the case. Educator preparation programs (EPP) allow you to earn your teaching certificate in just four to six months, creating a pathway for you to teach in a classroom more quickly than you may realize.
There is also a significant teacher shortage currently in the state of Texas. Some districts allow you to obtain an emergency teaching credential to help fill these open positions. Dallas ISD is also a District of Innovation. This distinction allows the district to hire teachers who aren’t yet certified as long as they meet certain requirements.
If you’re considering becoming a teacher, now is the time to begin the certification process so you can take advantage of these hiring initiatives and fulfill your dream of becoming a teacher. Here’s what you need to know about the urgency school districts across the state are facing and what you can do now to grab one of these teaching vacancies.
One of the biggest problems districts across the state face is the rate at which educators are leaving their jobs.
The Texas Education Agency, the state agency that oversees primary and secondary public education, collects data each year that shows the attrition rate, which is a metric used to determine the pace at which employees leave a company or organization.
During the 2021-22 school year, Texas experienced a 11.57% attrition from the previous year. That number was up from the 9.34% rate during the 2020-21 school year, and the highest experienced in the last 15 years.
Why does an attrition rate matter? In school districts, an attrition rate shows that there are positions sitting open and not being filled. There are any number of reasons why this is occurring, but these important statistics show that school districts across the state are struggling to fill open positions.
The state has responded by offering several incentives to try to attract teachers, from loan forgiveness programs to mentorship programs. Each district is also working to attract the best candidates, including Dallas ISD that is promoting a $60,000 starting salary for all new teachers and a stackable incentive of $2,000. The district is also offering additional stackable incentives, including a $3,000 incentive for anyone who wants to teach secondary math, secondary science, special education and CATE (Career and Technology Education), as well as a $5,000 incentive for elementary bilingual that also comes with a $4,000 stipend.
It’s also a good idea to consider which subject areas are in most demand for teachers. Each year, the TEA submits a list of teacher shortage areas to the U.S. Department of Education. If the Department of Education approves this list, a certified teacher with certain types of student loans may qualify for partial loan forgiveness, deferment or cancellation.
For the 2022-23 school year, the U.S. Department of Education approved these seven shortage areas for Texas school districts:
Under a program called Districts of Innovation, Texas allows districts to hire uncertified teachers. This legislation gives school districts more local control to meet their individual needs. One of the most popular ways districts have taken advantage of this law is by recruiting industry professionals to teach career and technical education courses. However, districts have the flexibility to hire uncertified teachers in other subjects and grade levels.
For example, Dallas ISD allows individuals who are not yet certified to enter the classroom in areas like Core Subjects EC-6 at the elementary level and in mathematics and social studies at the secondary level.
To take advantage of the District of Innovation initiative, you must still meet certain qualifications, including:
You may have to meet other requirements if you want to teach CTE (Career and Technical Education), LOTE (Languages other than English) or Visual and Performing Arts as well, according to the school district.
However, if you want to become a special education teacher, or wish to teach English as a Second Language, you cannot qualify to teach under this emergency program. Instead, certification is required.
Educator preparation programs are another strong alternative route for aspiring teachers to earn their teaching credentials quickly. Individuals who enroll in alternative teacher certification programs like ECAP typically earn their Texas teacher certification in just four to six months. Let’s dive into what makes educator preparation programs a great choice for aspiring teachers.
The best Texas teacher certification program will be both efficient and comprehensive. They can help get you into the front of the classroom quickly so that you can begin teaching as soon as possible.
The required training that occurs in an alternative teacher certification program consists of online or in-person courses, or a combination of both. Your training will include:
The 30 hours of observation by a teacher advisor are a very important part of your certification process. These certified teachers send a recommendation to your credential program that you are ready or not ready to teach in a school district.
The educator preparation program you choose can make a significant difference during this process. ECAP has former principals, vice principals and teachers who have extensive experience to help you through this certification requirement. 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.
If you are in the process of earning your certification and are able to take advantage of opportunities like an emergency teaching credential or Districts of Innovation program, it’s incredibly important to have a high-quality educator preparation program in your corner.
Your first year of teaching is typically a high-pressure situation because classroom teachers face unprecedented challenges right now. These challenges include making up for lost instructional time during the pandemic and increased classroom sizes due to some of the teacher shortages we talked about above.
The best certification programs will stay by your side as you navigate your first year in teaching and offer continual support from a trusted and experienced adviser.
To learn more about the process of earning your teacher certification, our article, When You Must Take Your Texas Teacher Certification Exams shares the tests you must pass to earn certification, as well as a timeline that allows you to plan when you should schedule your exams to ensure you earn your teacher certification as quickly as possible.
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.