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.
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 alternative 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.
Pass at least one TExES Content Test (The test you take should be in the area you wish to teach.)
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
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
Texas requires that all teachers pass the appropriate teacher content 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.
In fact, most admission requirements for alternative teacher certification programs state that students must take a certification exam to enter the program.
Once you obtain your valid teaching certificate, you can register for additional tests in other classroom certification areas if you wish.
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.
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.
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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