Each state has its own set of certification rules in order to become a teacher, and Texas is no different.
When it comes to earning your certification online, this path is becoming an increasingly popular way toward getting you into your own classroom. In fact, nearly half of all new teachers in the state of Texas are prepared through alternative programs.
If you’re considering earning your teacher certification online, you’ll want to first familiarize yourself with any requirements you must meet. Below, we’ll outline certification rules Texas has put into place that you should know if you’re thinking about applying to an online teacher certification program.
There are two ways to qualify for an online teaching degree in Texas through an alternative teacher certification program: If you have a bachelor’s degree, or have life experience that meets the requirements of the online program.
Your degree must be from an accredited institution of higher learning, as required by the Texas Education Agency and Texas Administrative Code. You must also meet the following criteria:
If you are graduating from a university outside the United States or U.S. Territories, you must also provide:
If you do not meet these above requirements, you can still qualify for a program. However, you must first pass a TxPACT exam that is used for program admission.
You can still be eligible for an online teacher certification with a 2-year degree or years of work experience.
Even if you have engaged in coursework or training in another state, Texas has provided a path for you to earn your teaching license. In fact, you wouldn’t be alone. Approximately 13% of all new teachers to the Texas education system come from out-of-state programs.
If you’ve taken courses or experienced training in the education field, your credits may transfer toward fulfilling alternative education program training requirements. Each circumstance is different, but in general, no Texas teacher certification program can use transfer coursework older than five years.
If you’ve completed work in an alternative teacher certification program in another state, it’s also more likely that your field-based experience will transfer between two programs.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, Texas has added a legal requirement that says an Educator Preparation Program must have procedures in place that allow credit for military service and training that is directly related to the certification area you seek.
If you already have a teacher certification in another state, the Texas Education Agency has requirements in place for those who do hold a standard certificate issued by another state or U.S. territory. You must apply for a review of credentials if you want to become certified in Texas. Typically, Texas reciprocates with most states by allowing a one-year certification while you pass appropriate TExES exams.
More information about these specific situations can be found in our article, How To Transfer Your Training From Another State.
Now that you know about the requirements to enter into an online teacher certification program and what’s required of you to transfer your credentials from another state, it’s important to know what training requirements you must complete as well.
In the state of Texas, you must complete a minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate.
Of these 300 hours, the state requires that 30 are dedicated to the observation of a certified teacher in the classroom environment. This is often called “field-based experience.”
Alternative certification programs, in particular, provide you with an opportunity to start your career in the classroom through online coursework, in-classroom training and mentorships. Each program is different, which is why it’s important to determine which style of learning and environment is best for you.
Our article, What Should You Look For In A Texas Teacher Training Program, further explains some things to consider when researching alternative certification programs.
After completing the necessary coursework, the state requires that you take the appropriate TExES content exams. It is best to work with your program to ensure you are taking the right content exams for the grade level or specialty area you wish to teach. You are required to take at least a content exam in one specific subject, but may take more than one if you are interested in multiple subjects. The best certification programs will help learners prepare for them.
ECAP requires that you must first complete 40 hours of training before taking a practice content exam. We tell our interns to aim for a score of 270 and concentrate on areas your practice exam results indicate you need further training in.
Once score reporting shows you have achieved 270 on your practice exam, ECAP will give you permission to make your testing appointments and take your content exams.
Candidates 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 TEA. To obtain your standard certification, you must pass the PPR to ensure you have the competencies necessary to teach early childhood education or secondary school students. Working with a program that helps you prepare is key to having the best chance of success on this important test.
Depending on which subject area you wish to teach, the state may require you to take one additional test to become certified. The Science of Teaching Reading (STR) is one of the newest changes to teaching programs in Texas. Not everyone has to take it, but you do if you plan to get certified in these areas:
In addition to completing an approved teacher preparation program and passing certification exams, you must complete these final state requirements to earn your certification:
It's important to note that in order to maintain your certification, you'll need to complete ongoing professional development classes or workshops as well.
Once you meet the qualifications and are issued a teaching certificate, you can access a copy of your certificate on the TEA's Texas Teacher Certification Lookup page.
Navigating the process to earn your teaching certificate online and eventually teach in a school district can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you are uncertain of whether your qualifications meet state requirements.
Working with an alternative certification program that has positive reviews, effective tools and strategies, and knowledgeable and experienced instructors is important. The reason: You want an online teaching certificate program that will take the time to speak with you, evaluate your credentials and help answer any questions you may have so that you can begin your journey toward reaching your teaching goals.
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.