Nearly every state is experiencing a teacher shortage, including Texas. To help address this shortage, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) permits those with professional experience to get their education certificates online as long as they meet certain qualifications.
Whether an individual has a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or no degree, a person can enroll in an alternative teacher certification program and follow the appropriate steps to earn certification to teach in the state of Texas.
In fact, 49% of all new teachers in Texas are prepared through alternative programs.
School districts are looking for teachers with real world experience. If that’s you, and you don’t have a degree, here’s what you need to know about getting a teaching certificate.
Check Your Qualifications Against the Requirements
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree and want to get a teaching license in the state of Texas, you have two routes: You can pursue your bachelor’s degree or enroll in an alternative teacher certification program.
Even if you have some education under your belt (you went to college, but didn’t finish the requirements to earn a degree), going back to college might be the more difficult and costly route since you will not only need to complete your degree requirements, but also the teacher certificate requirements.
The degree must be from an accredited institution of higher learning that at the time was accredited or otherwise approved by an accrediting organization recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
You must have two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field to be taught.
You must also have a current license in Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology to teach in these fields.
If you do not have a degree:
You must have five years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field to be taught.
Choose Area You Want To Teach
Like almost every state in the nation, Texas is struggling to fill open teaching positions. One of the areas where districts have the most difficulty is in the area of Career and Technical Education (CTE).
CTE provides students with the academic and technical skills needed to succeed in future careers by offering a wide variety of curriculum, such as graphic arts, technology, cosmetology, health sciences and fire sciences.
CTE helps prepare students for postsecondary education and high-skill careers, which is critical for our economy.
Career and Technical Education is one of a handful of areas that have been identified as experiencing a significant shortage of teachers in Texas, joining the following as the most in demand teaching jobs:
Bilingual and English as a Second Language
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Sharing your expertise in CTE or one of the in demand areas above can help students discover a career path they may have not known about or how to access.
Select An Alternative Teacher Certification Program
If you choose the route of becoming a teacher through an alternative teacher certification program, the next step is to select one that meets your needs.
Though there are several programs that are strictly online. However, it’s important to keep in mind the best programs offer a combination of online and in-person training. In other words, you get the best of both worlds.
Provides flexibility allows you to complete your coursework around your schedule.
Allows you to take advantage of a more comfortable learning environment.
Does not require commuting.
Increases the availability of courses offered throughout the state.
Allows you to develop professional relationships with faculty.
Provides hands-on learning opportunities that you can’t get online.
Offers face-to-face interaction with your peers that promote networking.
Provides continuous support and more opportunities to apply techniques in the field.
Make sure when you select an alternative teacher certification program that the program offers test preparation help for the Texas Examinations of Educator (TExES) Pedagogy and Professional (PPR) test (not as an add-on cost, but as a standard part of the training program).
The TExES is one of the main requirements you will need to meet to earn a teaching certificate in Texas, which we further explore in the next section.
Complete Other Requirements
Once you select an alternative teacher certification program, the next steps are to:
Apply for a probationary certificate, a one-year temporary certificate that allows you to teach as an intern while you satisfy your program requirements.
Take the required certification exam, which assesses your knowledge and ability to teach in the classroom. It is important to work with your certification program to determine when you should take this exam, and which tests you should take.
Complete the components of your program, including student teaching requirements.
As part of the process to get your teaching license, you will also need to complete a fingerprinting process. Certified applicants must submit fingerprints electronically using an approved vendor by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
If your dream is to become a teacher, but you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, there is a path for you to online teaching certification online in the state of Texas.
When evaluating alternative teacher certification programs, look for a program that has:
Knowledgeable and experienced staff
Staff that will take the time to speak with you about your goals
Recommendations from school districts across the state
It’s also important to choose a program that has the reputation of NOT pressuring you to choose it, and instead prioritizes making sure the fit is right for both you and the program. Ensuring that you have a positive experience should be the top priority and first order of business as you begin your journey toward becoming an educator.
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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