Getting your Texas teacher certification can seem like an overwhelming process. There are several steps you must take to become licensed to teach in the state, and knowing what you have to do to meet the criteria may feel like an uphill battle.
No matter what stage you are at in your life, there is a path for you to certification.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Texas teacher certification requirements and where you can find additional information to help you realize your dream of becoming a teacher.
Do You Need A Bachelor’s Degree To Become A School Teacher?
In most cases, yes. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the state requires that an individual applying for certification to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
There is one exception to this rule, however. Those applying for Health Science Technology and Trades & Industrial Education teaching certificates are exempt. However, the state does require that an applicant have the following wage-earning experience in these fields:
Two years experience over the past 10 years in the field to be taught if you have an associate’s degree
Five years experience over the past 10 years in the field to be taught with no degree
What If My Bachelor’s Degree Isn’t In Education?
To earn certification, candidates must meet the educational requirements in one of three ways:
A bachelor’s degree in education through a university-based program
Post-baccalaureate program at a university for an individual who already has a bachelor’s degree, but in a different field
An alternative teacher certification program for someone who has a bachelor’s degree or meets other requirements.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in education, you have two options. You can either enroll in a post-baccalaureate program at another university, or you can enroll in an alternative teacher certification program.
Do Alternative Teacher Certification Programs Have Requirements?
Yes. You will need to meet the minimum requirements mandated by the state of Texas in order to enroll in an alternative teacher certification program.
If you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, you must have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA, confirmed in one of two ways:
Minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript
Minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted
If you’re currently completing your last semester toward a bachelor’s degree, you can still qualify for enrollment in an alternative teacher certification program. You must provide a copy of your final semester schedule of classes, letter from an academic adviser or registrar indicating you are eligible for graduation.
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, as mentioned above, you can still qualify for this type of program with full-time wage-earning experience in the field to be taught.
Am I Still Required To Take A Content Exam?
Yes, you still must pass the appropriate content exams to earn your teacher certification in the subject area you wish to teach. However, as you may have heard, new state testing requirements have changed when you take these content area exams.
Prior to Jan. 27, 2020, applicants to an alternative teacher certification program took the appropriate content exam before officially enrolling in a program. Now, applicants whose college transcripts do not meet the minimum 2.5 GPA requirement or do not contain sufficient coursework must take a TxPACT exam that is used for program admission.
Those who do meet the standards above can be accepted without the TxPACT exam. Once accepted into a program, interns can take the TExES exams once they have been given permission to take the test.
The PPR, or Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility, is a required assessment for all individuals who wish to become a Texas teacher. According to the TEA, 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.”
To obtain your standard certification, you must pass the PPR. This certification exam is one of the final steps you will take to earn certification.
This test includes selected response (or multiple choice) and constructed response (or essay) questions. Within the selected response questions, there are single questions and clustered questions. These questions test the test taker’s knowledge of the various 13 competencies that address the requirements and demands of a teacher’s responsibility in the classroom.
Preparation for this test is very important. Our article, How To Pass Your PPR Exam, provides tips on how to best familiarize yourself with exam questions and some of the most common mistakes made by test takers.
What Other Requirements Must Be Met?
To become certified to teach in Texas, you must submit a state application once all of the above requirements are met. It is important not to apply until you have verified with your teacher preparation program that you are eligible.
You must also be fingerprinted as part of a national criminal background check. You must submit your fingerprints electronically using an approved vendor by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If you plan to apply to a particular district, it may be a good idea to check with that school district to see if there are any additional background checks that must be completed.
Is There Help Available?
If you feel overwhelmed by this process, there is help available. A high-quality alternative teacher certification program can help walk you through the steps and help ensure you are meeting all the requirements for certification.
Having a licensed program by your side as you navigate the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions is key to getting yourself to the front of a classroom as soon as possible and ensuring the best possible outcome.
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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