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Steps To Becoming A Teacher In Texas With A College Degree

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on May 21, 2024

Have a college degree? You’re well on your way to becoming a teacher before you’ve even begun the training. 


In Texas, you can quickly become an educator without having to go back to college to earn a degree in education. In fact, if you have a bachelor’s degree in any field, you can earn your teacher certification by enrolling in an educator preparation program and completing just four to six months of training and testing.


By this time next year, you could be in your own classroom.


Sounds too good to be true? Not at all. The state of Texas needs educators. Here are the steps to becoming a teacher you need to take to become one of them.



Enroll With An Educator Preparation Program



Whether your bachelor’s degree is in business, psychology, computer science or communications, you can earn your Texas teacher certification by enrolling in an educator preparation program (EPP), also known as an alternative teacher certification program.


Nearly half of all Texas teachers become certified through this pathway. To qualify for an EPP, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires that you earn a 2.5 GPA from an accredited institution or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted.


If you are in the final semester of your bachelor’s degree program, you can qualify for an EPP as well. You must provide:


  • A copy of your final semester schedule of classes
  • A letter from an academic advisor or registrar indicating you are in your final semester and eligible for graduation
  • An official transcript that includes your coursework through the previous semester
  • Proof of a passed content test 


Can you enroll in an EPP if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. accredited institution? Yes, but you must meet the requirements attached. 


For example, if you graduated from a university located outside the United States, you must provide foreign transcripts that have been equivocated by a recognized transcript evaluation service and proof of oral English language proficiency by passing the oral proficiency portion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).


If you have an associate’s degree or no degree at all, you can qualify if you have a certain number of years of work experience in the field you plan to teach, as well as a current license in the fields of Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology that would allow you to teach in career and technical education.


You can read more about these requirements in our article, Online Teacher Certification Texas Rules.


teacher certification program

Decide Who And What You Want To Teach



This step may be the easiest or the most difficult part about becoming a teacher: Deciding what age group you want to teach and what subject you want to teach. This decision will impact which content exam(s) you take as part of the certification process.


When you think about becoming a teacher, you may picture yourself in a general classroom working with elementary students. You may also picture yourself teaching history, economics, or math to middle or high school students. You may have dreamt about taking your love for music or art into the classroom, or perhaps you want to embark upon a career working as a special education teacher.


If you aren’t sure, it may be helpful to check out the TEA’s teacher shortage areas. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education approves a list of teacher shortage areas in the state. For the 2024-2025 school year, the approved shortage areas are:


  • Bilingual/English as a Second Language
  • Career and Technical Education (secondary level only)
  • Computer Science/Technology Applications
  • English Language Arts and Reading (secondary level only)
  • Mathematics (secondary level only)
  • Special Education


Of these areas above, the following allow individuals to apply for TEACH Grants and/or Public Service Loan Forgiveness:


  • Bilingual/English as a Second Language
  • Career and Technical Education (secondary level only)
  • Computer Science/Technology Applications
  • Special Education


Choosing to teach in one of the designated shortage areas may open up the possibility of a higher number of available positions (allowing you to choose where you teach) and higher pay to meet the demand. 

Complete Your Certification Requirements



Once you’ve been accepted into an EPP and chosen the subject area and grade level you want to teach, the next step is to complete your certification requirements. 


These requirements include completing a national criminal background check and fingerprinting process, as well as training and testing. 


As an intern you must complete 300 hours of required 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” or “student teaching,” and will take place in K-12 schools.


You must also pass all of your certification exams. Here is where the content exam we mentioned above comes into play. At ECAP, 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 in which your practice exam results indicate you need further training in. Once you score a 270, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams, which you choose based on the grade level and subject area you wish to teach.


Depending on the subject area, you may also need to take the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam, especially if you plan to teach at the early childhood level or English Language Arts. 


Lastly, you must take the PPR, or the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam. You must pass the PPR to earn your standard certification to teach. This test determines whether you are equipped to design instruction, create a positive classroom environment, implement effective assessments and fulfill your professional roles as a teacher.


Make sure the EPP you choose fully prepares you for this important exam and includes test preparation as part of its curriculum - not as a costly add-on. 

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Apply For Your License



Once you’ve made it to this step, congratulations! You’re just one step away from being eligible to teach in Texas schools. Now it’s time to apply for your teaching license.


To do this, you’ll access your Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) account, where your profile is located in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). 


It’s important to make sure your first and last names exactly match your Texas Driver’s License or State ID card. 


Once you submit the application and pay your Texas teacher certification fees, the TEA will take the approval process from here. Once your certification is issued, you can log in into your TEAL account to access your educator account to print a copy of your certificate. 


Now that you’re officially licensed to become a teacher if you don’t already have a position lined up, it’s time to look for a teaching position. Our article, Texas Teacher Search Tips For Landing The Best Job, can help you with that by providing you advice on the best tools and resources available so that you can begin your new career as quickly as possible.


Apply to ECAP

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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