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Texas Schools Can Fill Vacancies Using Emergency Teaching Credential

Becoming A Teacher, Texas Teacher News

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on September 27, 2023

School districts across Texas are facing a critical shortage of educators. The issue is not new - districts have faced teacher shortages for several years, and the problem only got worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas Tribune reports that the state’s attrition rate has hovered around 10% since the 2011-2012 school year. While it dipped to about 9% during the 2020-2021 school year, the Texas Education Agency reports that the attrition rate for teachers in Texas rose to a historic high of more than 13% between the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2022.

The attrition rate tracks the number of teachers who have left the education field in any given year. A higher attrition rate suggests that school districts need help retaining teachers. Some of those vacancies still need to be fulfilled.

However, there is a tool that school districts can take advantage of to help fill these open positions - an emergency permit.


What Is An Emergency Permit?



Commonly referred to as an emergency teaching credential or emergency teacher certification, an emergency permit can be issued in situationsemergency teacher certification where a school cannot find licensed teachers for open positions that must be filled.

According to the Texas Administrative Code, this type of emergency permit can be used for individuals who still need to meet all the requirements for an intern or probationary teaching certificate. 

Nearly 29% of new teachers hired during the 2022-2023 school year did not have any type of Texas certification or permit, according to the TEA. The historic high is a 10% increase from the previous year and a 23% increase from 10 years ago.


Who Secures The Emergency Certification?



It is the responsibility of a school district to secure the emergency certification. The aspiring teacher cannot secure the emergency permit.

However, we encourage school districts or superintendents to work with educator preparation programs to identify interns who would best fulfill the duties of the teaching position. 

If a prospective teacher has not yet enrolled in an educator preparation program, we encourage school districts to contact us to request a Deficiency Plan. 



What Is A Deficiency Plan?



The purpose of the Deficiency Plan is to facilitate school staffing by allowing the hiring school district or educational entity to issue an Emergency Permit. This would allow a teacher not having met the requirements for the issuance of an Intern or Probationary certificate in the state of Texas to serve as a teacher of record in a Texas school. Assuming there is an agreement with the hiring entity’s policy.

ECAP will verify the candidate’s eligibility, create the Deficiency Plan and return it to the district. 


Why Should A School District Work With ECAP?



Under the Deficiency Plan, the teacher will receive the same access to and types of support while holding an Emergency Permit via a Deficiency Plan from ECAP as the teacher would under an intern or probationary certificate.

Each candidate will be assigned an ECAP field supervisor from the same pool of supervisors who service our internship and probationary certificate holders. Here’s why this is particularly important.

As part of the state’s teaching credential requirements, interns must successfully complete 300 hours of training, and 30 of those hours must be dedicated to observation by a teacher advisor or in a classroom environment. These 30 hours of observation by a teacher advisor are a very important part of your certification process. These certified teachers send a recommendation to your credential program that you are ready or not ready to teach in the classroom.

ECAP has former principals, vice principals and teachers who have extensive experience in helping aspiring teachers through this process in the long term. Not all certification programs do this. Some simply send past teachers who are ex-students of their program to evaluate interns.

With a high attrition rate in the field of education, it’s critical to provide the highest level of support to aspiring teachers so that they not only remain in the field but are more likely to stay with your district as well. 

A school district representative can fill out a request for a Deficiency Plan, which we have made available here.


How Long Can A Teacher Hold An Emergency Credential?



An individual can hold his or her current position for one year under the emergency teaching credential. If an educator wants to continue teaching, he or she must pursue a standard teaching license by going through the application process and meeting the normal requirements, which can be found in our article, How Long Does It Take To Get A Teaching Credential?

It’s recommended that the applicant begin the credentialing process as soon as possible, well before the one-year window closes. Waiting until the final days before a temporary license expires is a mistake since the certification process can take four to six months if a person has a bachelor’s degree. A lot of factors can impact a candidate’s personalized timeline as well, including which exams must be taken to earn certification. 

New testing requirements that may be on the horizon could also delay an intern’s path to certification, which we outline in our article, EdTPA Rejected: Get Teaching License Now Before More Barriers Go Up

It’s important that school districts understand that while an emergency certificate is a solution to meeting staffing needs, it is only a temporary fix since all teachers operating on an emergency credential must eventually get their standard certification. 

Encouraging your educators who are teaching on an emergency permit to enroll in a respected educator preparation program helps ensure they are supported and prepared for a long career in education.


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Topics: Becoming A Teacher, Texas Teacher News

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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