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How To Get Your STEM Teacher Certification Online

Teacher Training

by
Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on November 27, 2020

STEM teachers are in high demand in the Lone Star state.

In fact, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers are among the most in demand teaching jobs in Texas

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students using an interdisciplinary and applied approach by integrating these four areas into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. 

Although STEM education fields are booming here in the United States and abroad, there is a significant shortage of qualified teachers to educate youth who want to pursue careers in STEM.

Because of this, the Texas Education Agency has designated career and technical education, technology applications and computer science, and mathematics at the high school level as teacher shortage areas for the 2019-2020 school year.

This is good news for those who want to earn their teaching certificate in one of these areas, since teaching in a designated official teacher shortage area means you may qualify for loan forgiveness

Even if you don’t qualify for loan forgiveness, you are still likely to find several job openings across the state as districts scramble to find qualified candidates. 

If you have career experience in STEM, or want to teach the next generation of scientists, engineers, doctors and mathematicians, here are the steps you need to take to earn your teaching certificate in STEM education. 

 

Check Your Credentials 

 

Alternative teacher certification programs provide a path to certification for both those who have degrees and those who do not, but instead have career STEM teacher certification onlineexperience. 

Almost 50% of all new teachers to the Texas education system come from these types of programs, which provide a host of benefits such as course availability, flexible scheduling and extensive networking opportunities. 

To qualify for an online teacher certification program in Texas, the TEA requires applicants to either have a bachelor’s degree, career experience in the field they wish to teach, or a combination of both. 

For those who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning, you must:

  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript, or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted.
  • Be at least in the final semester of your bachelor’s degree program, in which you must provide documentation that includes a copy of your final semester schedule of classes, a letter from an academic advisor indicating you are eligible for graduation, and an official transcript through the previous semester.

For those with an associate’s degree, you must:

  • Provide proof of your degree
  • Have at least two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach
  • Pass an appropriate certification test

It’s important to note that if you do not meet the above GPA requirement, or have not completed 12 semester credit hours in the certification subject (15 hours in math or science in 7th grade or above), you must take a TxPACT exam as part of program admission requirements. 

For those with an associate’s degree, you must:

  • Provide proof of your degree
  • Have at least two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach
  • Pass an appropriate certification test

For those without a degree, you must: 

  • Have five years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach
  • Pass an appropriate certification test

You can read more about these requirements in our article, 6 Steps For Getting A Teaching Certificate In Texas. 

 

Complete Your Program Requirements

 

To get your STEM teacher certification online, you must complete all the requirements of your alternative teacher certification program.

A portion of your training will consist of courses (online, in-person or a combination of both depending on the program you choose) as well as field experience. 

In Texas, you must complete:

  • A minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate
  • Of these 300 hours, 30 must be dedicated to observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment

It’s important to note that even if you choose an all online training program, you must still complete in person the 30 hours that are dedicated to the observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment.

Your preparation program will also work with you to develop a plan that completes these requirements, as well as assist you with securing a teaching assignment at the grade level and in the specialty area, such as special education, of your target certificate.

 

 

Pass Appropriate Exams

 

Once you are enrolled in an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) and complete the necessary coursework, you will need to take your TExES exams. 

Your alternative teacher certification program can help you decide which certification exams in the field of STEM you should take for the areas you wish to teach, as well as how to prepare for them. 

You will also need to pass the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities. This is one of the most important final exams you will take to qualify you to teach in the state of Texas. 

The PPR, “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 Texas Education Agency. To obtain your standard certification, you must pass the PPR.

The process of signing up and taking certification exams can be confusing, which is why it is important to discuss this step with any prospective programs you are considering.

 

 

Complete Your Certification Requirements

 

Once you take your content test, you can begin your certification program. In addition to taking online classes, the best online teacher certification STEM teacher certification onlineprograms will offer you in-person experiences as well. 

Once you develop a certification plan with the help of program staff, you will begin your training courses and fulfill any other requirements. Then, you can obtain a teaching position for your internship requirement. You must secure a teaching assignment at the grade level and in the subject area of your target certificate. 

The next step is to get a probationary certificate, valid for one calendar year, that allows you to teach. Once all requirements are completed, you can then apply for a standard certificate online. 

 

Apply For Your License

 

The final step is to apply for a Texas teaching certificate. To apply, set up a Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) account, which will give you access to your profile located in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). 

Make sure you use the first and last name that matches your Texas driver’s license or state identification. 

You’ll also need to complete a fingerprinting process as part of a national criminal background check. Applicants must submit fingerprints electronically by using an approved vendor. 

 

Final Note

 

If you are considering a teaching career in STEM, you already have an advantage. There is a significant shortage of teachers to instruct students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

By following the above steps, you can be well on your way to fulfilling your dream of becoming a teacher and fulfilling a critical need for STEM educators in Texas.

 

Stem Teacher

Topics: Teacher Training

Written by Micah Fikes

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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