Your path to Texas teacher certification may seem like a step-by-step process. However, when you enroll in a Texas alternative teacher certification program, there are a lot of moving parts that are completed simultaneously.
In fact, one of the most requested items from ECAP applicants is a program timeline or a chronological checklist. After all, it seems logical to take the certification process one step at a time, and it’s not uncommon to make a list of to-do’s, with every item checked off that list putting you one step closer to accomplishing your goal.
But, when it comes to pursuing your teaching license through an alternative teacher certification program, chronological timelines simply do not work.
There Are Multiple Components To A Program
ECAP’s alternative teacher certification process is divided into three categories … Training, Testing and Teaching.
An individual enrolled in our program will work on these components simultaneously. This design provides teacher interns with a comprehensive approach to learning and allows them to complete a program more quickly.
For example, some training must be completed prior to testing and student teaching. However, some training must be completed while in the classroom as a teacher of record. There is no way to complete that particular training before entering a classroom where an intern also completes the teaching component of the program.
A chronological timeline to the program, on the other hand, will create issues including unnecessary delays in completing program components.
Timelines Vary Per Intern
Offering a one-size-fits-all chronological timeline does not work for every intern entering an alternative teacher certification program. This is especially true when it comes to testing.
Earlier this year, the state of Texas changed the rules involving when you can take content exams.
Up until recently, applicants took the appropriate content exam before officially enrolling in ECAP’s program.
Now, some applicants must take a TxPACT exam that is used for program admission. Applicants whose college transcripts do not meet the minimum GPA requirement or do not contain sufficient coursework will take the TxPACT in order to qualify for a program. Those who do not meet the standards above can be accepted without the TxPACT exam.
Depending on certain factors, such as your GPA and how many credit hours you have obtained in the certification subject area you are seeking, your path may look different from another intern’s. Therefore, one chronological program timeline will not look the same for every intern.
Many interns are hired by a district and sent to a program for certification. Others enter an alternative teacher certification program without a position secured but with the same goal of getting to the front of a classroom.
These interns will have to compress 300 hours of training, a pedagogy exam and teaching experience all into one school year.
You should think of these efforts toward certification as something akin to the closing rings on a smart phone’s activity app. For example, if you have an Apple watch or other device that shows your activity level throughout the day, you will recognize the three rings that show how often you stand up, how often you move and whether you are meeting your overall fitness goals.
The closer you get to meeting all three of these goals, the further each circle closes.
In teacher certification, there is a ring for training, a ring for testing and a ring for teaching. Your training ring closes after 300 hours of training has been completed. The testing ring closes after you pass any admission tests and your PPR TExES exams. The teaching ring closes after you complete your student teaching requirement.
Close all three rings and you will be certified and have your teaching degree.
A Program Will Help Navigate Your Timeline
Understanding what you are required to complete and when can be an overwhelming process. It is important to reach out to an alternative teacher certification program if you have any questions about when you should take certain exams and submit your enrollment application. This will help you avoid any confusion, especially with new testing laws in place, and assist you with getting on your individual path toward certification.
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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