If you’re considering switching careers and becoming a teacher, one of the first questions you’ll likely have is: How do I get my teaching license?
How to get a teaching credential in Texas involves completing an educator preparation program (EPP), passing required exams and submitting a state application. While this seems like a straightforward process that answers the question above, there are many steps along the way that likely will prompt more questions.
Here are some frequently asked questions we hear from future educators about earning their teacher credentials and answers that will help you get started on your journey toward a teaching career.
If you do not meet the above minimum education requirements to enroll in an EPP, you can qualify through other ways. For example, if you have a current license in Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology and have wage-earning years of experience, you can still qualify.
You can read more about how to qualify without a 4-year degree in our article, 5 Teaching Credential Requirements In Texas.
After you’re enrolled in an EPP, the required training will consist of courses either online or in-person or a combination of both. You will also complete field experience. Here is a more detailed look at what your training includes:
It’s important to note that the 30 hours of observation by a teacher advisor is 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 the classroom.
Here is where the program you choose makes a difference. ECAP has former principals, vice principals and teachers who have extensive experience to help you through this process. 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.
Yes, there are several tests you must pass to earn your certification. These will vary based on what subject and grade level (high school vs. elementary school, for example) you wish to teach.
All student interns must take and pass at least one content exam in the subject area they want to teach. The TExES content exams are available in more than 60 specialties, which you can explore in our article, List of Texas Teacher Certification Tests: What You Must Take To Teach. Teacher credentialing specialties range from special education to mathematics, science, art and core subjects.
Note about content exams: At ECAP, we ask our interns to immediately take a practice content test to establish a baseline of where your 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 they take the actual exam. While the content test currently has a passing score of 240, we instruct our interns to aim for a score of 270. Once you score a 270, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams. Hitting a score of 270 gives you a buffer zone for your final content exam test. Just hitting the 240 score leaves you no room for error.
Depending on the content exam you choose, you may also have to take the Science of Teaching Reading. This teaching reading exam is required if you plan to get certified in one of the following areas:
The other major exam currently is the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities. This test “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.
There is an IMPORTANT UPDATE with the PPR that we go over in the next section concerning what the state is changing with this testing requirement and when you should get your teaching credential.
As soon as possible. If you are considering becoming a teacher, now is the time to complete your teacher education program. The Texas State Board for Educator Certification recently adopted a new requirement that aspiring educators must meet before becoming certified.
Instead of taking the PPR, teaching candidates will be required to complete the edTPA. (The requirement to take edTPA in place of the current PPR test is currently set for the 2023-24 school year)
Unlike the PPR, the edTPA is not a one-time exam. Instead, the edTPA requires that student interns prepare a portfolio of materials during their learning experiences, primarily during their student teaching internships where they work directly with students.
Now and during the 2022-23 school year, teaching candidates will have the option of either taking the PPR or choosing the edTPA assessment. During the 2023-24 school year, teaching interns must incorporate the edTPA assessment into their certification requirements. Beginning with the 2024-25 school year, the TEA will implement a new cut score.
It has not been finalized yet whether you will have only one chance to attain a mark above this cut score. There is a chance that if you do not achieve the cut score the first time, despite your training, you will not earn your certification.
Texas Certification Programs, like ECAP, train the intern in completing their portfolio using real data and video, yet the intern cannot be assisted while creating their final submitted portfolio. This means that each candidate will have to actually go through the exercise twice. Once to learn the logistics, and again to put the submitted product together. Interns cannot use their ECAP, or any other certifications program, video or data for their portfolio submission. It’s a cumbersome process and takes a full semester to compile.
These rigorous requirements are designed to strengthen the field of teaching in Texas, but some interns may face a significant setback in their journey toward earning a teaching license. If you’re considering becoming a teacher, it’s important to apply to an EPP now while you still have the option of taking the PPR.
Getting a multiple subject teaching credential versus a single subject teaching credential has its benefits.
By becoming credentialed to teach in Texas in multiple areas, you open the door to several teaching opportunities. You also make yourself more marketable, which 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 school districts, having multiple certifications can help you get a teaching job, even if it’s not in your top subject area choice.
Some subject areas also naturally complement each other, such as Health and Physical Education.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you and should be based on your goals as a teacher.
Yes, but the process involves a review of your credential and submitting your official transcripts from all of the colleges you attended.
You can apply for a one-year certificate while your materials are reviewed. This also allows you to teach for one year while you complete any additional testing requirements.
You can read more about this process in our article, Your Guide To Teaching In Texas With Out Of State Certification.
Once you meet all the specific requirements for certification, you must apply for your standard certificate. It is important that you do not apply until your educator preparation program has confirmed that you are eligible.
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.
All first-time applicants must also get fingerprinted, which is part of a national criminal background check.
Applicants must submit fingerprints electronically by using an approved vendor.
Note about the cost of this process: You are responsible for paying for your national criminal background check and fingerprinting. You can get the full scope of what it will cost you to undergo this process, as well as become a teacher in Texas, in our article, What Are The Costs Of Becoming A Certified Teacher In Texas?
Topics: Becoming A Teacher
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.