To become a teacher in Texas, you must complete the required training mandated by the state. What that training looks like, however, may vary based on where you are in your career.
While some aspiring teachers earn a bachelor’s degree in education from an accredited higher education institution, others choose to take an alternative path and earn a teaching certificate through an educator preparation program.
The latter has become a popular choice, especially among those who are changing careers, returning to the workforce or retiring from the military. In fact, 49% of all new teachers in Texas are prepared through alternative certification programs.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in education, but want to become an educator, here’s what teacher training you must complete in Texas to earn certification.
Qualifications For A Teaching Program
Before you even begin the education training for a teacher training program, you are required to have a certain amount of training under your belt. This comes in the form of either an educational background, professional background or a mixture of both.
In the state of Texas, if you have a bachelor’s degree and are applying to an alternative teacher certification program, you must have earned a minimum 2.5 GPA on an official transcript or in the last 60 semester hours of courses attempted. You must also have completed 12 semester credit hours in the certification subjects (15 hours in math or science in 7th grade or above.)
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, you can still qualify if you have an associate’s degree. However, you must have two years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field to be taught. You must also have a current license to teach Health Science Technology, Criminal Justice or Cosmetology.
If you do not have any degree, you must have five years of full-time wage-earning experience within the past 10 years in the field to be taught.
Educator Training Coursework
With that training under your belt, you can now begin your educator coursework once you are accepted into an alternative teacher certification program.
In the state of Texas, you are required to complete:
A minimum of 300 hours of training to receive a standard teaching certificate
Of these 300 hours, 30 must be dedicated to observation of a certified teacher in a classroom environment.
What will this training look like? It depends on the area that you wish to teach. Curriculum will differ somewhat if you are studying to become an elementary school teacher versus a special education teacher or secondary teacher.
However, in general, prospective teachers will learn techniques and skills that will help you:
Form connections with students
Develop quality lesson plans that align with state standards
Teach to students’ different strengths and weaknesses
Understand how a child or adolescent develops
Modify behaviors in students
Collaborate with parents
Work with children to improve their reading skills
Each program is also different as far as how this information is provided to you. While some programs are exclusively online, others only offer in-person instruction. Some, like ECAP, offer a combination of both … allowing you to take advantage of a flexible learning environment while reaping the benefits of building in-person connections and relationships.
Once you complete the necessary coursework, you can begin to take the exams required to obtain a teaching license.
It is best to work with your program to ensure you are taking the right content exams, which will depend on the subject areas and grades you wish to teach. You may also need to take the new Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam. This requirement went into effect Jan. 1, 2021.
The goal of the STR is to help improve the instruction of reading and writing. This exam was part of House Bill 3, which requires that any candidate who wishes to each Pre-K through grade 6 “must demonstrate proficiency in the science of teaching reading on a new, standalone certification examination.”
You must take this exam to be issued an intern, probationary or standard certification in the following areas:
Early Childhood: EC - Grade 3
Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: Early Childhood - Grade 6
Core Subjects with Science of Teaching Reading: 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 best teacher training programs will equip you with the training materials you need to be successful on this important new exam, as well as the PPR, or Texas Examinations of Educator Standards Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities.
The final PPR exam you will take as a program intern must be passed to obtain your standard certification. It is designed to assess whether you have the requisite knowledge and skills needed to be an entry-level educator.
Some programs, such as ECAP, provide in-person review and testing to prepare you for the test at no extra charge.
A Juggling Act
Keeping track of the various training components you must complete throughout your journey to become a teacher can feel a little bit like a juggling act at times.
For those considering enrolling in an alternative teacher certification program, check that your program will offer additional help to ensure your timeline stays on track and that you are meeting all required training components.
Your training program should be your partner through this process, especially as certification requirements continue to be updated, so that you can quickly and efficiently realize your dream of becoming a teacher in Texas.
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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7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396