If you have engaged in coursework or training in another state, there is a path available to you to earn your teaching license in the state of Texas.
In fact, you wouldn’t be alone. Approximately 13% of all new teachers to the Texas education system come from out-of-state programs.
One of the most popular paths new teachers take in Texas to fulfill the required number of training hours for certification is through alternative education programs. These programs are especially appealing to:
- College graduates who aren’t yet certified to teach
- Professionals and members of the military who are looking for a new career
- Retirees and stay-at-home moms looking to get back into the workforce
- Emergency personnel and nurses transitioning into a career in education
If you’ve taken courses or experienced training in the field of education, the good news is your credits may transfer toward fulfilling alternative education program training requirements set forth by the Texas Education Agency.
The amount of transferable coursework or training you have largely determines what further work you must complete to obtain certification in Texas.
That’s why it’s important that an alternative education program evaluate all your transcripts and training to ensure the courses you have taken are transferable.
Although each circumstance is different when transferring your coursework from another state, below we explore some general guidelines that will give you a better idea of how the training you have received can be applied toward getting certified in Texas.
The state of Texas requires that you complete a minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to fulfilling this requirement.
- Of these 300 hours, the state of Texas requires that 30 of the hours are dedicated to observation of a certified teacher in the classroom environment. This is called “field-based experience.”
- No teacher certification program can use transfer coursework older than five years for the purpose of teacher certification.
- Observations are synonymous to coursework.
After you have completed the training program, you can apply for your Texas teaching certificate/license online through the TEA’s Educator Certification Online System page. Another requirement you’ll need to fulfill is to be fingerprinted, which is required as part of a national criminal background check.
As mentioned above, to get certified to teach in the state of Texas, 30 of the 300 hours of training you experience must be in the classroom.
While many students complete a university program, some skip the student teaching component that would help them fulfill this requirement. One of the most common reasons for doing so it not being able to afford to spend full-time hours student teaching, while not earning a salary.
Instead, these students opt to receive their diplomas and use an alternative certification program, where they can get paid teaching as soon as they pass the appropriate TExES content tests, even if they haven’t finished the certification program yet.
If you are a student with coursework completed at a university, any transferable credits must have been completed within the past five years.
School District Work
Some school districts have the same requirements for certain types of training as the state of Texas does for teacher certification. Examples of training where this often is the case are in the areas of dyslexia, mental health, substance abuse and youth suicide.
Programs, like ECAP, allow post-enrollment credit in cases where an intern who already has been accepted to the ECAP program completes these courses with the school district that hired her. This typically occurs during in-service training in the school district and is designated as state-required training (STA).
In other words, if you were to wait until school begins to complete training designated as STA, you may find you can use the school-provided training to satisfy ECAP’s STA requirements via transfer credit from the employing school. The maximum number of hours that a student can transfer from a district in this type of training is 50.
Work Completed During Another Program
If you’ve been enrolled in an alternative teacher certification program in another state, some of your work may transfer.
However, many programs are very particular about accepting training hours from another program. This is because two programs may deliver different components at different points in their training process, and it can be difficult to duplicate two programs’ training timelines.
Field-based experience has a higher likelihood of being transferable between the two programs.
Alternative teacher certification programs are a popular option among members of the Armed Forces who are looking for a new career after serving their country.
In recent years, Texas has added a legal requirement that says an Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) must have procedures in place that allow credit for military service and training that is directly related to the certification area they seek.
If you’re applying to an EPP, make sure you submit your military transcripts in addition to any other required documentation or application materials.
Teacher Certification In Another State
While the information above primarily assists those who have completed training or coursework in another state, but are not yet certified as a teacher, the Texas Education Agency also has requirements in place for those who do hold a standard certificate issued by another state or U.S territory.
If this applies to you, and you 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.
If you’ve taken courses or completed other educator training in another state, the good news is you may be able to transfer that hard work and apply it toward earning a teaching certificate in the state of Texas.
It’s critical that you have an alternative education program evaluate all your transcripts and training to determine which courses and experience are transferable, so that the hard work you have put into fulfilling your goal of becoming a teacher won’t be wasted.
Our article, 6 Steps For Getting A Teaching Certificate In Texas, further explores what it takes to obtain your teaching license, including how to apply for your license once you have met all the required components.