If you are considering a career as a teacher and are fluent in a second language (particularly Spanish), becoming a Texas certified bilingual teacher will make you one of the most in demand teaching candidates within the state.
According to Education Week, “Bilingual teachers are in especially short supply in places like Texas, where nearly 40 percent of the residents are Hispanic or Latino.
A number of school systems, including big-city districts such as Houston and Dallas, are turning to Puerto Rico and Spain to find bilingual teachers.”
Because of these shortages, school districts are having to become creative in order to attract the right talent. Signing bonuses and teaching stipends are being offered in many districts to get teachers in the classroom.
At this point you may be saying to yourself, “I like kids and I speak Spanish, so I must be a good fit.”
Not so fast……..there is a reason that finding qualified Texas teachers has become so challenging. The certification process for bilingual certification has become much harder over the last few years, and many qualified candidates are not prepared for the challenges and strict timelines required to be ready to teach in a bilingual classroom.
In this article, we will look at the requirements and show you “how to become a bilingual teacher in Texas.”
Basic Requirements To Become A Texas Teacher
First things first……...in order to become a Texas teacher, you MUST meet some basic educational requirements. This includes:
You must have a degree in any major from an accredited institution of higher education as required by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Administration Code with:
Minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average
Your GPA must be confirmed in one of two ways:
Minimum 2.5 GPA posted on official transcript from accredited institution
Minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted
Apply For An Approved Educator Preparation Program
There are many routes that you can follow including a university teaching program, community college, school district, or regional service center based on which county or urban area you live in. They will guide you through the teaching application process and recommend you for eligibility during your application process.
The most popular route and one which will allow you to teach before receiving your certification, is a state approved Alternate Certification Program (ACP).
If you are a first time teacher and want to teach before you gain your certification, you must be enrolled in one of these programs.
An ACP will formally recommend you to the state for your probationary certification.
In addition to the degree and GPA requirements, and in order to be formally enrolled in your ACP, you must pass at least one TExES Content Test. You may take as many additional subject tests as you would like to increase your marketability, but you must pass at least one content test for acceptance into a program and to meet state requirements.
We highly recommend having a consultation with your preferred ACP about which tests to take for your particular teaching goal, so that you don't waste time taking tests you don't need.
The TExES Certification Process
In order to get a Texas teacher certification, there are a series of examinations that must be passed. We will go through what is required to become a Texas certified bilingual teacher.
The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) series is a group of exams created by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) that are designed to determine whether or not an individual has the knowledge necessary to be an entry-level educator in the Texas public school system.
These exams assess an individual's general and specific teaching skills and are required in order to become a certified educator within the state of Texas.
The four following tests are ALL required to become a Texas-certified bilingual teacher in Texas:
TExES Core Subjects EC-6 (291) exam - EC-6 is a test that assesses the test-taker’s knowledge and ability to perform adequately while teaching core subjects for early childhood through grade six.
EC-6 consists of 267 multiple-choice questions that cover five main topics including:
English Language Arts and Reading and the Science of Teaching Reading
Fine Arts, Health, and Physical Education
This exam or the 4-8 core subjects exam are required for ANYONE that wishes to be an Elementary Teacher in Texas.
Note: Last month we wrote about the challenges thatnew state regulations are having on teacher certification. For the 2017/2018 hiring window we believe that some districts will hire qualified candidates for a bilingual classrooms without all of the certification requirements completed to fill open needs.
This opportunity will only be available this year. We recommend that anyone that wishes to become bilingual certified and find a classroom this year contact us for details.
TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental (164) exam- The bilingual supplemental exam is a test that assesses the test-taker’s knowledge and ability to perform adequately while teaching bilingual education.
The bilingual supplemental exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions that cover information about bilingual education.
This exam is ONLY for those that wish to become bilingual certified and will take approximately five hours to complete.
TExES Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for Spanish (190) - The bilingual proficiency exam is a test that assesses the test-taker’s knowledge and ability to perform adequately while teaching bilingual proficiency in spanish.
The bilingual proficiency exam consists of 84 multiple-choice questions as well as seven constructed-response questions covering four topics.
These topics are as follows:
This exam is a requirement only for bilingual certification and will take five hours to complete.
A few comments about this exam. The focus of the exam has changed in recent years, and has become much harder to pass. The old exam tested the ability to communicate verbally. The new four-section exam requires more of the prospective teaching candidate.
For many native spanish speaking candidates, it is more formal Spanish than what most are used to, and can be difficult to pass without extensive study.
Don’t take this exam lightly!!
TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities, or PPR, EC-12 exam - The PPR exam is a test that assesses the test-taker’s knowledge and ability to perform adequately in the teaching profession.
The test will consist of 100 multiple-choice questions covering four main topics. These topics are as follows:
Designing Instruction and Assessment to Promote Student Learning
Creating a Positive, Productive Classroom Environment
Implementing Effective, Responsive Instruction and Assessment
Fulfilling Professional Roles and Responsibilities
This exam is required of all teachers and is usually administered at the end of a teacher's first year in the classroom. The test will take five hours to complete.
Don’t Go It Alone
Now that you know the requirements to becoming a certified bilingual teacher in Texas, the question becomes how do I begin, and what things will help me become successful in achieving my goal?
Many otherwise qualified candidates are having problems with their bilingual certification, either because they miss key deadlines, or they underestimate the challenge of passing the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test for Spanish.
In our opinion, a qualified Alternative Certification Program will give you the tools and guidance to navigate this challenging process.
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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