However, it’s important to keep in mind that becoming credentialed to teach varies by state. While you may hold teaching credentials in Texas, you may have to meet additional requirements in the state you wish to teach.
Below we’ll explore what reciprocity agreements are and which states offer them, as well as what you should keep in mind when evaluating reciprocity agreements.
What Is Reciprocity?
Reciprocity is an agreement between two states that allows candidates who have a teaching license from another state to earn a license in the state they wish to teach. These agreements are critical for states experiencing teacher shortages because they allow states to attract qualified candidates even though their licensing requirements may differ.
Although most states have reciprocity agreements in place, few provide full reciprocity. Instead, teachers are typically given a temporary license, allowing them to accept a position and begin teaching. However, applicants are required within a certain timeframe (usually a year) to fulfill any additional license requirements.
In Texas, for example, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires those who hold a standard teaching certification from outside the state to apply for a review of credentials. If approved, teachers are issued a one-year, non-renewable certificate.
During this year of eligibility, a candidate is certified to teach in Texas. However, to apply for a standard certificate at the end of this one-year period, teachers must submit any documentation that would approve them for exemption of required tests or complete the tests required to earn a standard certificate.
Several states have similar requirements, with some requiring additional coursework and others requiring passage of subject tests or licensing exams.
Which States Accept Texas Teacher Certification?
For teachers who are certified in Texas but wish to teach in a different state, one of the first places to check is the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).
This interstate agreement is a centralized coordination effort that provides guidelines on the types of teacher certifications each state accepts from other states. NASDTEC was established to improve communication among states so that if a teacher is certified in one member state and wants to teach in another member state, the transfer process is much easier.
While most states are members of the NASDTEC, there are a few that are not, including New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin. However, this does not mean these states do not offer reciprocity. Each of these states has its own requirements for teaching license reciprocity. The NASDTEC simply eases the certification reciprocity process because it allows agencies to easily check an applicant’s license status.
If you’re considering accepting a position in another state, you can also check to see if there are any regional agreements in place. Some states enter into agreements with adjacent states as a way to streamline certification requirements in the region.
What Should You Keep In Mind?
When looking at reciprocity agreements between Texas and another state, it is important to understand that not all agreements offer full reciprocity. In other words, although you may have a Texas teaching certificate, you may still be required to fulfill training requirements in another state before you can get a standard certificate.
For example, Alaska and Texas are both members of the NASDTEC. To teach in Alaska, you can apply for a non-renewable one-year initial certificate while you complete any other state requirements. In Alaska, these requirements include:
Passing a basic competency exam
Passing a Praxis subject assessment to earn a professional renewable certificate
Taking a state-approved course in Alaska Studies and Multicultural/Cross-Cultural Communication.
In California, new teachers to the state who have a teaching certificate in Texas can get a preliminary certificate as well. However, candidates who have fewer than two years of experience must also complete a teacher induction program approved by the state.
One other item to consider is that not all agreements are two-way, nor automatic. This means that although Texas may accept teaching certificates from one state, that same state may not accept a Texas teaching certificate. Reciprocity is often evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Also, keep in mind that different states offer different types of teaching certificates. If you have an advanced or specialized certification in one state, that certification might not be recognized in another state.
For example, the state of Colorado offers two licensing levels … initial and professional. An out-of-state applicant must meet a certain level of experience in order to qualify for a professional license.
Lastly, if you are a service member or military spouse, some states provide special reciprocity or other forms of support. For example, many states will expedite out-of-state license applications for service members or military spouses. Other states, such as Alabama, will even offer a one-year emergency certificate for individuals while they complete certification requirements.
How Do I Get Help?
If you are looking for a teaching position or are offered a position in another state, one of the first steps you should take is to contact the state licensing board to inquire about the most up-to-date reciprocity rules.
If you have earned your teaching certificate in Texas through an alternative certification program, a high-quality program like ECAP should be able to help provide you as well with some resources to assist you on this next step in your teaching journey.
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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