Like many states, Texas is facing a teacher shortage, especially in rural regions. Considering Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, a teacher shortage has put exceptional strain on school districts to fill open positions.
For those considering a career in education, enrolling in a teaching credential program can both fulfill your dream and help meet a critical need in several communities across the state.
Like all states, Texas has its own set of requirements for earning a teaching certification. The Texas State Board for Educator Certification sets forth these requirements for candidates.
In general, Texas required candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree and to have finished aTexas Teachers certification program. In addition to completing the educational requirements, candidates also must pass teacher certification exams, be fingerprinted, perform a background check and submit a state teaching application.
To earn certification, candidates must meet the required educational requirements through one of three ways:
A bachelor’s degree in education through a university-based program
Post-baccalaureate programs at universities for candidates who already have a bachelor’s degree, but in a different field
Alternative certification programs for those who have a bachelor’s degree or meet other requirements
Although each path will lead you to fulfilling your dream of becoming a teacher, here’s what you need to know so you can choose the best direction for you.
For those pursuing an undergraduate degree in education, teacher preparation programs typically are blended with bachelor’s degree programs. In other words, if a student is majoring in elementary, secondary or special education at a college or university, her college coursework and fieldwork also incorporate the state teacher credential requirements.
Curriculum at colleges and universities vary, but typically includes courses that allow students to explore:
Technology and integrating it into the classroom
Baccalaureate degree programs also include fieldwork, or student teaching. The experience requires students to work in classrooms under the supervision of an elementary school or secondary school teacher. Student teachers work with the mentor teacher to create and implement lessons.
After completing the degree requirements, students must then complete the required tests to earn a Texas teacher certification.
Many colleges and universities also offer post-baccalaureate programs. These programs are designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree, but not in education. Participants in these programs complete credential requirements for a teaching certificate by enrolling in university coursework.
In some instances, individuals enrolled in post-baccalaureate programs through a college or university can earn an advanced degree while fulfilling the requirements for a certificate.
While these programs may provide instruction in a more traditional college setting, some programs are offered online as well. When looking at post-baccalaureate programs, you’ll first need to decide the grade level and subject area you wish to teach. This will help you determine which program provides the coursework for the certificate you need.
Alternative teacher certification programs provide a different pathway to certification for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
These types of programs are becoming more and more popular among those looking for a more convenient pathway to earning a teaching certificate that fits their schedule and other needs. In fact, according to the Texas Education Agency, during the 2016-2017 school year, more individuals turned to alternative certification programs in Texas than any other path.
Another benefit to this type of program - individuals enrolled in an accredited alternative teacher certification program in Texas can teach while completing the requirements.
Alternative teacher certification programs work well for:
Individuals looking to change careers
Military members who have retired and are embarking on a new career
Parents who have stayed at home to raise children and are re-entering the workforce
Nurses and emergency services personnel who have problem-solving and communication skills, and are looking for a more traditional schedule
College graduates who have met the bachelor’s degree requirement
Coaches who exhibit leadership qualities and want to teach
Retirees looking for a new and fulfilling challenge
Unemployed and looking for a change in direction
To qualify for an alternative teacher certification program, the Texas Education Agency and Texas Administration Code require a candidate meet this criteria:
Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning
Earned a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript, or a 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted
Passed at least one TExES Content Test relevant to your particular teaching goal
Those who have not earned a bachelor’s degree can still enroll in an alternative program if other requirements are met, however. For example, students who are completing their last semester of college toward a bachelor’s degree can apply for an alternative certification program. Students must submit a copy of their class schedule along with a letter from an academic adviser stating graduation eligibility.
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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