If you have multiple teaching interests or simply want to make yourself more marketable, there’s a path for you in Texas.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees public education in the state, allows you to be certified to teach in multiple subjects.
In Texas, you must pass the appropriate content exams in the subject areas you wish to teach. While teacher interns must take at least one certification exam, candidates can take more than one content exam. This allows you to choose different tests that complement your skill sets and interests.
So how do you get a multiple subject teaching credential? Your journey begins with picking the right credential program for you.
Choose A Credential Program
To earn a teaching credential in Texas, you must get a bachelor’s degree in elementary or secondary education and earn your teaching certificate through a college or university program, or complete an educator preparation program (EPP). An EPP allows individuals who did not get a bachelor’s degree in education to satisfy the education and training requirements to be certified.
These alternative teacher certification programs are extremely popular now, with nearly half of all new teachers earning their credentials on this pathway.
To qualify for this type of teacher preparation program, 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
You can qualify for an EPP with an associate’s degree or no degree at all in a few circumstances. 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 to teach Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology. It’s best to check with the certification program since it may have its own eligibility requirements as well.
Pass Content Exams In Multiple Areas
To earn your intern certificate, you must take at least one content exam in the area you wish to teach. If you want to be credentialed in multiple subjects, taking different content exams is a major step toward achieving this.
The TExES content exams are available in more than 60 specialties, divided by grade levels or special certification areas such as physical science, special education and theatre.
You may choose which content exams you take based on your own personal interests. Or, you may choose to put more strategy behind your selections, such as pairing exams that often translate well in the classroom. For example, many physical education teachers also instruct health classes. In this case, you would take the Physical Education (Grades EC-12) and the Health (Grades EC-12) exams.
You could also pair Journalism (Grades 7-12) with English Language Arts and Reading (Grades 7-12). Many interns choose to take the Core Subjects exam and pair it with a specialty like a foreign language exam, Speech (Grades 7-12) or Reading Specialist (Grades EC-12).
When should you take your content exams? At ECAP, we ask our interns to immediately take a practice content test to establish a baseline of where their knowledge 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 encourage each intern to take 40 hours of online training before taking the actual content exam. While the content exam currently has a passing grade score of 240, we instruct our interns to aim for a score of 270. By asking our interns to aim for a higher score, it gives them a better chance of passing on their first attempt. Once you score a 270, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams.
To get a multiple subject teaching credential in Texas, you must then finish the list of requirements to become certified. These include:
Take the PPR exam: The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities “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. You must pass this exam to obtain your standard certification.
Take the Science of Teaching Reading: If one of the areas you wish to be certified in falls under this list below, you must take this exam. This test focuses on standards that address the practice of teaching early reading.
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
Complete your coursework: Through your EPP, you are required to successfully complete training and field experience. Your training will include a minimum of 300 hours to receive a standard teaching certificate, 30 of which must be dedicated to observation by a teacher advisor or in a classroom environment.
Submit a state application for your standard certificate: Once you meet these specific requirements for certification, you must apply for your standard certificate. To submit a state application, you must do this on the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). You will need a TEA Login, or TEAL, to access your profile on ECOS.
Complete fingerprinting and background check: All first-time applicants must get fingerprinted as part of a national criminal background check. Applicants must submit fingerprints electronically by using an approved vendor.
Multiple Paths For Teaching
By becoming credentialed to teach in Texas in multiple areas, you open the door to several teaching opportunities. Making yourself more marketable can help you land a job in the district of your choice, since it may have multiple positions that need to be filled. In more competitive districts, having multiple certifications can help you get a teaching job even if it’s not in your top subject area choice.
Teaching is a rewarding career, and setting yourself up for the most success will help put you in the best position to start the job of your dreams.
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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7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396