You’ve checked a major goal off your list and earned a bachelor’s degree. Now you have a new goal in mind, and it involves helping youth reach their goals through an education.
If you want to enter the field of teaching and have earned a four-year degree from an accredited college or university, you have the option in the state of Texas to earn a teaching license through a certification program.
Because you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree, you’ve already met one of the certification requirements. But, where do you go from here, especially if you want to enroll in a teacher certification program that is online?
Our guide below outlines what you need to know to earn a teacher certification online, including what further qualifications are required before, during and after the program.
The Texas Education Agency requires teachers to be certified in certain subjects or for a specific set of grades. Choosing which grade level you want to teach first will determine which set of exams you must pass in order to teach in the state.
You may want to decide first whether you prefer to teach younger children versus older, since some of the certification options overlap. For example, if you want to apply for a teaching job that involves working with kids in 6th grade, you’ll have to decide whether you want certified to teach Pre-K through 6th, or a certification for 4th through 8th grade.
Keep in mind as well that you can obtain more endorsement certifications throughout your career.
There are a few paths you can take to earn your teacher certification. Because you already have your bachelor’s degree, you can choose to go back to school and complete the necessary coursework to earn a second degree. Or, you can pursue earning a teaching certificate through an alternative program.
You wouldn’t be alone if you choose the latter. In fact, in Texas, nearly half of all teachers earn certification through an alternative teaching program.
The Texas Education Agency allows individuals to qualify for an alternative teacher certification a number of ways - as a post baccalaureate option, or with some education and career experience. If you don’t have any degree, you can still qualify for an alternative certification program with work experience and passage of an appropriate certification test.
Read more about the requirements for certification if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in our article, 6 Steps For Getting A Teaching Certificate In Texas.
You’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree. However, to enroll in an alternative teaching certification program, you must meet a few more qualifications, according to the Texas Education Agency. They are:
Minimum 2.5 GPA - You must have earned either a 2.5 GPA on an official transcript from an accredited institution, or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted.
Passed a content test - You must pass at least one TExES Content Test. Consult with the alternative certification program to ensure you take the best test for your teaching goal and when you should take this test. Many certification programs require that you take a contest test before you enter the program.
At least in final semester - Students who are just a few credits away from earning a bachelor’s degree and are in their final semester of school can apply for a teacher certification program. These students must provide:
A copy of your final semester schedule of classes
A letter from an academic advisor or registrar indicating you are in your final semester and eligible for graduation
An official transcript through the previous semester
Proof of a passed content test
Almost all alternative certification programs in Texas - including online ones - require students to take a certification exam as a requirement to the program.
Because you have a college degree already, if you aren’t yet enrolled in a certification program, you’ll need to take a Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) before you enroll. You must have permission to take a content test from the program you are applying to.
It’s a good idea as well to discuss the PACT with your prospective program to ensure you take the correct content test before enrolling.
Alternative teaching certification programs are a popular option for people who want to pursue a career in education.
They’re a great option for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree and either are switching careers or going back to work after retiring or raising kids. They’re also perfect for individuals who are currently employed in emergency services or nursing, members of the military, and those with coaching experience.
If you’re interested in an online education program, this type of structure offers several benefits, including flexibility and convenience. It also may make it easier to schedule courses around your work and family obligations.
There are some disadvantages as well, such as a lack of face-to-face interaction that allows you to make connections with other students and instructors. Taking all your courses online might post other issues as well. It might take longer to get questions answered, interrupting the flow of learning. And, a lack of in-person training takes away valuable practice before becoming a teacher.
However, there are alternative certificate programs that offer a combination of the both - blending the benefits of both online coursework and in-person training.
Want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of online alternative certification? Our article, Is Online Alternative Teacher Certification The Best Way To Become A Teacher? outlines everything you need to know about the pros and cons of this kind of instruction before you choose a certification path.
Important note: If you hold a standard certificate issued by another state or U.S. territory, and want to become certified in the state of Texas, the Texas Education Agency states you must apply for a review of credentials. Texas typically reciprocates with most states by allowing a one-year certification while you pass appropriate TExES exams.
Once you have completed your teacher certification program, you can apply for your Texas teaching certificate/license online through the TEA’s Educator Certification Online System page. You’ll also need to be fingerprinted - a requirement as part of a national criminal background check.
Teaching is a rewarding career, and through technological advances, you can enjoy the benefits of fulfilling your goal by taking online courses as part of an alternative certification program.
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.