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What Do You Need To Be A Teacher In Texas?

Micah Fikes
Micah Fikes on July 17, 2023

If you’re considering switching careers and becoming an educator, the first question you may have is: What do you need to be a teacher in Texas? 


To become a teacher, you need:


  • A bachelor’s degree (Health Science Technology and Trades & Industrial Education certifications are exempt from this requirement)
  • To complete an educator preparation program
  • To complete your certification exams (you must pass at least one in the area or grade level you wish to teach)
  • Submit a state application



A Bachelor’s Degree



To be a teacher in Texas, you must have a bachelor’s degree. However, that bachelor’s degree DOES NOT have to be in education. In fact, only about a thirdwhat do you need to be a teacher in texas of teachers in Texas are prepared through undergraduate education programs, according to the Texas Education Agency, which oversees public education in Texas. 


On the other hand, nearly 50% of all new teachers to the Texas education system come from alternative education programs. To be eligible for these programs, you must already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. 


Many individuals earn their bachelor’s degrees in different fields and begin their careers outside of education. Along the way, they decide to pursue a career change, go back to work after being a stay-at-home parent, or come out of retirement


To fulfill this requirement, you must:


  • Have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted
  • Be at least in the final semester of your bachelor’s degree program in which you need to provide a copy of your final semester schedule of classes, a letter from an academic advisor indicating you are eligible for graduation and an official transcript through the previous semester


There is one exception to this bachelor’s degree rule, however. You can qualify for an EPP with an associate’s degree or no degree at all if you plan to teach in the fields of Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology. However, with an associate’s degree, you must have at least two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field you plan to teach. For no degree, you must have five years of experience. You must also have a current license in Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology. 


Complete An Educator Preparation Program



Once you are accepted into an educator preparation program, you must complete the required training for Texas teacher certification


In Texas, you must complete:


  • A minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate
  • Of these 300 hours, 30 hours must be dedicated to observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment. 


Depending on the program you choose, your training may be entirely online, 100% in-person or a combination of both. Online teacher certification programs offer a number of benefits including flexibility and extensive course offerings. On the other hand, in-person training offers advantages that are difficult to replicate in an online setting, including networking opportunities and face-to-face interactions with your trainers.


That’s why many interns opt to go with teacher training programs that offer the best of both worlds … online and in-person training. 


As part of your training and internship, you’ll be paired with a teacher adviser to help you throughout the process. While this is a state requirement, it’s important to know that not all educator preparation programs prioritize this the same.


ECAP has former principals, vice principals, elementary education teachers, middle school teachers and high school teachers with extensive experience to help you through this process. Not all programs do this. Some simply send past teachers who are ex-students of their program to evaluate you. It’s imperative that you contact the program you are considering to ensure that you will get the best advisor to help you.


Complete Your Certification Exams



To be a teacher in Texas, you must complete a series of certification exams. While some of these exams are required for ALL teacher certifications, others may only be required if you are seeking certification in a certain subject area.


To earn a Texas teacher certification, you may need to complete:


  • TExES content exams
  • Science of Teaching Reading
  • PPR (Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities)




TExES Content Exams


Every intern seeking a Texas teacher certification must take at least one content exam. Which one you take depends on what grade level you want to teach or what subject you wish to teach. 


For example, if you wish to become an elementary school teacher, you’ll likely take a content exam like “Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading (EC-Grade 6).” If you want to teach a specialized field like Special Education, you would take the “Special Education (Grades EC-12) content exam.


You may be interested in broadening your knowledge as an educator and want to take multiple content exams. This would earn you a multiple-subject teaching credential, which could make you more marketable as a teacher but also allow you to more easily switch the area you wish to teach should an opening become available. (A single-subject teaching credential focuses on becoming certified to teach in just one area.)


Our article, List of Texas Teacher Certification Tests: What You Must Take To Teach, provides a comprehensive list of the content exams available to you to take in Texas. 


If you enroll with ECAP, we ask our interns to immediately take a practice content test to establish a baseline of where your knowledge base is at. This way, each intern will have a good understanding of their current knowledge level in each subject area and know which areas they need further training in.


We then strongly encourage each intern to take 40 hours of online training before they take the actual exam. While the content test currently has a passing score of 240, we instruct our candidates to aim for a score of 270. Once you score a 270, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams. Hitting a score of 270 gives you a buffer zone for your final content exam test. Just hitting the 240 score leaves you no room for error.

texas teacher exam


Science of Teaching Reading


Which subject area you wish to teach will determine whether you must take the Science of Teaching Reading. This teaching reading exam is required if you seek certification in:


  • Early Childhood: EC - Grade 3
  • Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Early Childhood - Grade 6 or Grades 4-8
  • English Language Arts and Reading with Science of Teaching Reading - Grades 4-8
  • English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies with Science of Teaching Reading - Grades 4-8


The Science of Teaching Reading exam focuses on standards that address the practice of teaching early reading. This includes areas like proper teaching techniques, strategies, theories of learning, understanding students and their needs, and incorporating the backgrounds and interests of students into teaching methods.




Finally, all teachers seeking certification in Texas must take the PPR. The PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities, “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.


The Texas State Board of Education has considered removing the PPR from the state’s list of requirements and replacing it with another exam. Because testing requirements are constantly evolving, it’s important to not delay seeking certification while current requirements remain in place. If you wait too long to begin your program, you may face more difficult barriers to earning certification.



Submit Your State Application



Submitting your state application is one of the final steps you will take to be a teacher in Texas. To complete this step, you’ll use your Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) account, which gives you access to your profile located in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). 


Make sure you use the first and last name that matches your Texas driver’s license or state identification. 


Once you earn your certification, keep track of any professional development classes you take. This is an important step in your Texas teacher certification renewal, which you must complete every five years.


To continue serving as a teacher in Texas, you must complete the renewal requirements, which include:


  • Success at completing 150 continuing professional education (CPE) hours (200 if you hold an administrative or student services certificate)
  • Providing documentation that you have completed each CPE activity or required course
  • Completing a renewal application


Continuing education material should be related to your certification being renewed or the services that you provide. 


Once you complete these above steps, you’re on your way to fulfilling your dreams as a Texas teacher.


teacher certification program

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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