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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.

How to Become a Teacher in Texas

How to Become a Teacher in Texas: Evaluating the Options

Optimism doesn’t have to involve maintaining unrealistic expectations. To you, it’s more about seeing what’s possible. You recognize that while your goal of becoming a classroom instructor in Texas is achievable, it will also require a lot of hard work. It’s also likely that you know there’s more than one way to become a teacher.

But because there are a few routes into the education field, it can be difficult to know which path you should pursue. You want to know how to become a teacher in Texas based on your existing qualifications and professional goals.

Navigating your way to the right route toward teaching is actually easier than you may think. Take a look at the most common options below. Once you do, figuring out how you want to proceed should be a bit easier.

How to become a teacher in Texas: Exploring 3 potential paths

Aspiring educators might have a few options for becoming a certified teacher in Texas, but you’ll likely recognize that one path is a better fit for you than the others. Consider which of these three scenarios you identify with:

  1. You have yet to complete your undergraduate education

Students who have yet to attend college will complete the traditional pathway to becoming a certified teacher in Texas. The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree – concentrations range from high school math to bilingual education – in the area you want to teach from an appropriately accredited teacher education program.

Students who are completing their education in Texas must attend a program accredited by an agency recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). Those attending an out-of-state college must make sure their program is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-approved agency.

As part of a traditional teacher education program, you’ll complete an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) that’s approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This portion of your training focuses on practical work, which includes field experiences and student teaching. You’ll also be expected to meet certain requirements like maintaining a minimum GPA while completing your EPP.

Upon completing all coursework, students must pass the appropriate Texas educator certification exams, commonly referred to as TExES. Once students have successfully passed the required tests, they must seek recommendation from their program, apply to become certified and pass a background check. Once your application is approved, you’ll be notified that you’re eligible to begin your career as a teacher in Texas.

  1. You want to transition to teaching through a certification program

This alternative route to becoming a teacher in Texas enables individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education to begin teaching while completing certification requirements. You’ll first need to determine the grade levels and subjects you want to teach. The next step is to choose a corresponding TEA-approved alternative certification program (ACP).

These programs can be found in colleges and universities as well as a number of other types of organizations. You can view all approved programs by visiting the TEA’s EPP list and selecting “Alternative” in the top right corner.

To begin your certification program, you’ll need to meet a number of entry requirements like demonstrated knowledge of certain content and maintaining a minimum GPA. Once admitted, you’ll need to secure an eligibility statement from your program that will qualify you for an internship position. Your program may or may not assist with securing this placement. You’ll also need to apply for an intern certificate, which is valid for one year and allows you to teach under the supervision of a mentor while completing the program.

Now you’re ready to begin working toward a standard teaching certificate. You’ll need to complete all professional development or post-baccalaureate coursework, internship training, Texas educator certification exams and other requirements. If you’re unable to finish everything within a year, you’ll need to extend your intern certificate. Just note that you’re only allowed to teach with temporary credentials in Texas for a maximum of three years.

Once you’ve completed all requirements, you should seek recommendation for certification from your program, apply for a standard certificate and pass the background check. You’ll be notified when your application has been approved, which means you’re now eligible to begin teaching in Texas.

While this pathway is appealing given the relatively quick timeline, the onus is really on you to navigate everything. Completing a university-based ACP may provide a bit more direction. It may be worth considering completing the master’s degree pathway if you’d like that extra layer of guidance.

  1. You want to transition to teaching by obtaining a master’s degree

An alternative pathway that often appeals to professionals who want to begin teaching as a second career, this option allows you to obtain certification while earning a master’s degree. Once you’ve decided what you want to teach, you’ll need to choose an appropriate education preparation program in order to become a teacher in Texas.

You can browse options by selecting the “Post-Baccalaureate” tab on the TEA’s list of approved programs. Each school will have you complete coursework in the necessary content areas and provide you with number of credit hours you need to obtain a degree.

Again, you’ll need to meet certain standards to gain admittance to the program. Once you do, you should immediately begin developing your certification plan with your faculty members. They’ll provide you with an eligibility statement and assist you in finding a paid internship that you’ll complete under the guidance of a mentor. You must apply for and obtain a one-year probationary certificate to begin teaching as an intern.

Your program will authorize you to take the appropriate Texas educator certification exams. Once you’ve passed these tests, finished your internship and completed all other requirements, your program can recommend you for a standard certificate. As with the other pathways, you’ll need to submit an online application and pass a background check. Once your application is approved, you can begin teaching as a master’s-qualified instructor.

Pave your path toward teaching in Texas

You can see there are numerous ways to become a teacher in Texas. Whether you’re just starting your professional path or have pondered the possibility of transitioning to education throughout a different career, you have options. Working toward a rewarding role as an educator who helps shape the next generation is within your capabilities.

Maybe you’re feeling motivated to take one step closer to running your own classroom. For many aspiring teachers, pursuing a degree at an institution with knowledgeable faculty who remain connected to their community is a smart move.

If you have yet to obtain a bachelor’s degree, visit the University of St. Thomas (UST) Undergraduate Education Degrees page. If you’re considering completing an advanced degree as you work toward a teaching career, visit UST’s Featured Graduate Education Degrees page to learn more about the Master of Arts in Teaching.

About the Author — Staff

AvatarThe University of St. Thomas is the only Catholic, liberal arts university in Houston, Texas. We have 35+ undergraduate majors including STEM, Nursing, Business, Education and Pre-Med. Located in a vibrant urban environment just minutes from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center, we welcome students of all races and religions to our diverse and collaborative campus.

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