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Texas Teaching Certificate Fees Waived For Military Community

by
Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on January 29, 2020

If you’ve served your country and now want to give back by making a difference in the lives of students, you may be eligible for a teaching certificate fee exemption.

Though the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has waived certain fees for the military community since 2015, many U.S. servicemen and women making the transition to teaching are surprised to find they are eligible for several fee exemptions.

If you are a member of the U.S. military, a military veteran or a military spouse and are considering getting your teacher certification, you may have questions regarding this benefit offered by the TEA to the military community. Below we will provide the answers to those questions so that you can take advantage of this helpful financial resource.

 

Which Fees Are Waived?

 

It is important to note that not all of the same fees are waived for military members, veterans and military spouses. 

According to the TEA, eligible active duty service members and veterans may apply for the following fee waivers:

  • Texas teaching certificate fees waived for militaryEducational Aide certificate
  • Intern certificate
  • Probationary certificate
  • Standard certificate requiring the completion of a teaching credential program
  • Review of credentials
  • One-year certificate
  • Standard certificates for subject areas approved in a review of credentials
  • $11 of the registration fee for certification examinations by Pearson
  • Test-limit waiver 

Military spouses may apply for these waivers:

  • Review of credentials
  • One-year certificate
  • Standard certificates for subject areas approved in a review of credentials
  • $11 of the registration fee for certification examinations by Pearson and approved as part of the review of credentials
  • Test-limit waiver for examinations approved in the review of credentials

 

Which Fees Are NOT Waived?

 

Although the Texas Education Agency has waived many of the fees associated with obtaining a teaching certificate in the state for the military community, there are a handful of fees that have NOT been waived. 

These include:

  • Fingerprint fee
  • Preliminary criminal history evaluation fees
  • Renewal fees (including late and reactivation fees)
  • Reinstatement fees
  • Certificates earned through exam only
  • Registration fees for tests taken for certification by exam only
  • Registration fees for certification examinations administered by the Educational Testing Service and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
  • Test-limit waiver for tests taken for certification by examination

 

What Documentation Is Required For Eligibility?

 

To request a fee waiver, the following documentation must be provided.

For active duty service members, a military ID (front and back) and a current state ID (front and back) is required.

For veterans, a current state ID (front and back) and a member-4 copy of a DD-214 is required. A DD-214 is a document the U.S. Department of Defense issues that shows a retirement, separation or discharge from active duty has occurred and under what conditions. “Member 4” signifies it is the original DD-214 document you received upon discharge.

For military spouses, the following documentation is required:

  • Your spouse’s current state ID (front and back)
  • Your spouse’s current military dependent ID (front and back)
  • The active duty service member’s state ID (front and back)
  • The active duty service member’s current military ID (front and back)
  • A copy of the marriage license

 

How Do I Sign Up For An Exemption?

 

To request a fee exemption, there are a series of steps you must take to be approved. It is important to remember that before you complete an application for any certificate, you must first submit your request for a military fee exemption.

    1. Set up your educator account. If you do not yet have a Texas Education Agency (TEAL) account, you will need to create one. This will give you access to your profile that is located in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). 
    2. Click on the “My Documents” tab in the ECOS menu. This is where you will upload the required documents outlined in the previous section of this article. Upload one document per file. Only document types listed can be uploaded.
  • Once the TEA has reviewed your military documents, it will email you further instructions.

 

Is There Additional Financial Assistance?

 

Yes! The Troops to Teachers program offers financial assistance to those who meet military service requirements. The program, established in 1993, helps service members and veterans with the transition from serving their country to becoming employed as teachers.

Among the assistance offered is financial help through the distribution of scholarships and bonuses. The program is a win-win for both troops beginning new careers as K-12 school teachers and school districts in need of filling some of their most in demand teaching jobs.

As of 2020, stipends up to $5,000 and bonuses up to $10,000 are available to help participants obtain their teacher certification. A participant cannot receive more than $10,000 total. 

More information about the requirements for receiving these stipends and bonuses can be found on the organization’s website

 

How Can I Find Out More About Transitioning Into Teaching?

 

School districts are looking for real-world leaders, and your experience serving in the military provides a great opportunity for students to learn from you. 

Alternative teacher certification programs are a popular option among members of the Armed Forces who are looking for a new career and another way to give back after serving their country.

In Texas, there is more great news for military members. The state requires all Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) to allow credit for military service and training that is directly related to the certification area applicants seek. 

If you are interested in learning about how your service can make a difference in a young person’s life, our article, Are Online Texas Teacher Alternative Certification Programs Right For You?, explores what types of programs can help you transition into teaching and help you achieve your goals.

 

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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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