The Texas Teaching and Certification Resource
Becoming a certified teacher in Texas means have to fulfil certain requirements set by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. The Texas teacher certification process is fairly similar to other states, but can vary depending on education and teaching experience. While there are some alternative ways to work as a teacher in Texas, the traditional pathway is outlined below.
How to Become a Teacher in Texas
Like all states, Texas has its own specific requirements for earning a Texas teacher certification. Although there are some exceptions, Texas does require all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a Texas teachers certification program. Subsequently, teaching applicants can follow the traditional process for earning teaching certification in Texas, which involves completing educational requirements, passing required assessments, being fingerprinted for a background check, and submitting an application. Several alternative routes to certification are also available to those who wish to teach in Texas.
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
For those experienced teachers with out-of-state certifications, reciprocity in Texas is possible providing the applicants meet all of the remaining criteria for certification. Out of state teachers may be eligible for a One Year Certificate while they complete the required steps to a Texas educator certificate . For information on reciprocity or the Texas teacher certification renewal process, contact the Texas Educator Certification (TEA) office.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Texas
One of the most important steps to Texas Teachers Licensing is completing an educator preparation program approved by the Texas Education Agency Division of Educator Standards. In order to find a Texas-approved program, teaching applicants should look for an official accreditation from the state’s regional accreditation agency. There are six regional accreditation agencies in the US, which are overseen by the US Department of Education.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredits Texas teacher preparatory schools. All teaching applicants should confirm their chosen school is accredited before committing to a program. Online teaching certification programs offered by schools headquartered out of state should also be accredited by their corresponding regional accreditation agency.
Additionally, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness (CAEP) is a national organization that was recently formed from the merger of two accreditation agencies, TEAC and NCATE. These two organizations that are recognized by the US Department of Education will now operate under CAEP. This accreditation, although not mandatory for state approval, is considered a very high marker of quality curriculum and process regarding teacher training. Most schools will apply for this accreditation because of its highly regarded reputation.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Texas.
- I want to be a teacher in Texas, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Texas’ Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Texas Teacher Education Requirements
In order for an individual to obtain a Texas teaching certification, he or she must first earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Since degrees in education are not granted in Texas, students choose a major relating to the content area that they would like to teach and then also complete an approved educator preparation program. The program may be completed at the school where the degree is being earned or through another institution if an alternative certification program is being completed after an individual has earned a bachelor’s degree. Student teaching or an internship is required as part of the educator preparation program.
The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 33,581 annual job openings in education and library related fields through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 327,905 public school and 23,620 private school teachers employed in Texas. The average beginning teaching salary is approximately $32,868 and the average overall teaching salary is $48,638, 31st highest among US states according to the National Education Association. The NEA cites a severe need for teachers in rural areas and an overall shortage in special education, math, science, and bilingual education. With moderate demand for new teachers throughout the state and the retirement rate expected to increase in the next several years, now is an ideal time to pursue certification or subject-specialization. The Texas State Teachers Association updates frequently with policy changes, budget allocation and local employment opportunity for Texas teachers. For more information regarding state certification procedures, please contact local education and teaching schools and degree programs.
Texas Teacher Testing Requirements
After completing an approved educator preparation program, those seeking to obtain a Texas teaching license must demonstrate their knowledge on certification assessments. The office of Educator Testing oversees the testing process for state teachers and the assessments required vary by subject level and grade level that are to be taught. Each teacher candidate should receive guidance about which tests to take and authorization to take those tests from his or her educator preparation program.
In order to evaluate potential teachers’ knowledge of educational practices, Texas uses two tests that are unique to the state: the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) and the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET). After completing required assessments, individuals are ready to apply for certification.
Additional Texas Teacher Certification Requirements
Texas Legislature requires fingerprint-based criminal background reviews for most school employees. Therefore, Texas requires all teacher applicants to submit fingerprints for a federal and background check. Applicants should submit Fingerprints in a digital format that can be processed by Texas Department of Public Safety.
Teaching License Application Process
Once all of the steps towards Texas educator certification are complete, applicants must send in their application packet to the TEA office. Applicants can use the online system, TEA Login (TEAL) to send in all information. The steps towards teacher certification are as follows:
- Submission of Bachelor Degree transcripts
- Verification of an educator preparation program in accredited school
- Submission of passing scores on appropriate certification exam(s)
- Proof of background clearance
- Payment of non-refundable processing fees
- Submit a State Application with completed information and required documents
Texas Education Agency
Educator Certification & Standards
1701 North Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701-1494
Visit the state’s Department of Education for more information on Texas teacher certification.
Texas School District Requirements
Texas Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||150,440||$50,110|
|Middle School Teachers||74,640||$50,540|
|Secondary School Teachers||102,070||$52,010|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.
Texas Teacher Interviews
Interview with Matt Gomez, Texas Kindergarten Teacher
Interview with April Larremore, Texas Kindergarten Teacher
Interview with Lindsay Noren, Texas Third Grade Teacher
Interview with Kathryn Laster, Texas Math Teacher
Interview with Shireen D., Texas High School Math Teacher
Interview with Sharon Callahan, President of the Texas Music Teachers Association
Interview with Megan Favre, Texas Third Grade Language Arts Teacher
Interview with Becky Morales, Texas ESL Teacher Trainer and Founder of Kid World Citizen
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Texas
Question: What do you need to become a kindergarten teacher in Houston, TX?
Answer: To become a kindergarten teacher in Houston requires a bachelor’s degree, completion of an Approved Educator Preparation Program, passing scores on the appropriate teacher certification exams, completion of a state teacher application, and a criminal background check.
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in Texas?
Answer: To be a high school teacher in Texas, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and also finish a teacher preparation program that is approved by the state. You also need to pass the state’s certification exam for the subject areas you will be teaching. Once these are complete, you can apply to the state for a certificate, get your fingerprints done, and apply for jobs in schools.
Question: What are the requirements to become an elementary school teacher in Texas?
Answer: To become an elementary teacher in Texas, you must earn a bachelor’s degree. You must also complete an approved teacher preparation program. Once those are complete, you need to pass the exam for elementary instruction and for the subject areas you will be teaching. Finally, you must complete the state application for certification and pass a national criminal background check.
Question: How do I become a kindergarten teacher in Texas?
Answer: To be a kindergarten teacher in Texas, you must be certified by the state. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree, an educator preparation program, and passing scores on certification exams. You must also be fingerprinted before you can work in a school.
1. Texas Education Agency: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000
Page edited by Charles Sipe.