If you’re considering pursuing a new career in education, one of the first questions you’ll likely have is: How long does it take to get a teaching credential?
To teach in the state of Texas, the certification process can take 4 to 6 months if you have a bachelor’s degree. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, your work experience may still qualify you for an educator preparation program in which your timeline to certification would remain the same. If you do not have relevant work experience in the subject you wish to teach, you can enroll in a 4-year college or university and earn your bachelor’s degree in education.
Let’s take a closer look at Texas’ teaching certification requirements so that you can better understand how long it will take to achieve your teaching goals in public or private schools.
To earn your Texas teacher certification, you typically have two paths:
If you take the university path and earn a bachelor’s degree in education, you can get your teaching credential in approximately 4 years.
However, most Texas teachers do not begin their teaching journeys this way. Approximately 50% of all new teachers are trained through educator preparation programs (EPP), which provide an alternative route to teaching in a Texas classroom. An EPP is a popular teacher preparation program for someone who already has an undergraduate degree but is considering a career change, as well as members of the U.S. military exiting the Armed Forces and individuals returning to the workforce after raising their children or caring for loved ones.
Although, in most circumstances, you must have a bachelor’s degree to be accepted into an EPP, that degree does not need to be in education.
Once you meet the requirements to enter an educator preparation program, you can typically earn a teaching credential in 6 months, though at ECAP, some interns have earned their credentials in just a few short months.
There are a few exceptions to the above requirements. You can still enter an educator preparation program with an associate’s degree or no degree as long as you have professional experience.
With an associate’s degree, you must have at least 2 years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach. If you have no degree, you must have 5 years of experience. For both, you must also have a current license in Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology and plan to teach in one of these areas.
Once you are enrolled in an educator preparation program, it’s important to note that your timetable toward completion should be unique. The best teacher training programs will work with you to determine the training you need based on the subject and grade level you want to teach.
The required training will consist of online or in-person courses, or a combination of both. You will also complete field experience. Here is a more detailed look at what your training includes:
You must have 150 hours of training completed to teach in a classroom. The 30 hours of observation by a teacher advisor are also 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.
You will also need to complete any testing requirements relevant to your certification area. These specific requirements include:
There are two VERY IMPORTANT considerations with the testing requirements above to keep in mind that can impact your timeline.
First, how long it takes you to pass these tests and when these tests are scheduled can affect how long it takes to get a teaching credential. The quicker you can take a content test and complete the 150 hours of training, the better so you can be assessed by an adviser.
The second issue involves the PPR test. This requirement could change in the near future as lawmakers are looking for ways to better demonstrate a readiness to teach. However, any future changes could make it MORE difficult and longer to become a teacher, so if you are considering changing jobs for a teaching career, it’s important to begin your journey as soon as possible.
You can read more about how these testing changes could impact your teaching experience in our article, EdTPA Rejected: Get Teaching License Now Before More Barriers Go Up.
As a final step, prospective teachers must also submit a state application for your standard certificate and complete any fingerprinting and background checks required.
There are some additional circumstances that may impact your timeline for getting a teaching credential in Texas.
For example, if you are already certified to teach in another state, you must submit your official transcripts from the college you attended along with your credentials to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for review. You can read more about this process in our article, Your Guide To Teaching In Texas With Out Of State Certification.
If you are a U.S. military member and are pursuing a career in education, the state requires all Educator Preparation Programs to allow credit for military service and training that is directly related to the certification area applicants seek. You may also be eligible for waived certification fees.
Lastly, an often overlooked yet important factor that can impact your timeline involves your own personal work ethic. If you are committed to the process and put your heart and soul into the preparation needed to succeed, you can expect to move through your timeline more efficiently and productively.
If you aren’t yet sure whether education is the right career choice for you, this indecision can cause it to take longer to become certified because you may be less likely to fully prepare for important tests and training assignments along the way.
While teaching is a rewarding career, it requires hard work and dedication to fulfill your goals and get to the head of the class.
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.