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.

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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.

Quick Guide

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.

Teacher Quote: “It is important that you enjoy working with children and their parents. If you have that passion, then teaching young children is amazing. I can’t imagine a more fun and rewarding job. Every day is full of challenges, laughter, love and learning!” -Matt Gomez, Texas Kindergarten Teacher

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Texas Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 7,090 annual new job opportunities for elementary school teachers, 3,540 annual new job opportunities for middle school teachers, and 4,700 annual new job opportunities for secondary school teachers in Texas through 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 314,830 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Texas, excluding special education teachers (2013). In Texas, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $50,290, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $50,860 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $51,850 (BLS 2013). The Texas State Teachers Association updates frequently with policy changes, budget allocation and local employment opportunity for Texas teachers.

Texas Teacher Testing Requirements

Texas State SealAfter 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:

  1. Submission of Bachelor Degree transcripts
  2. Verification of an educator preparation program in accredited school
  3. Submission of passing scores on appropriate certification exam(s)
  4. Proof of background clearance
  5. Payment of non-refundable processing fees
  6. Submit a State Application with completed information and required documents

Texas Education Agency
Educator Certification & Standards
1701 North Congress Ave
WBT 5-100
Austin, TX 78701-1494

Visit the state’s Department of Education for more information on Texas teacher certification.

Teacher Quote: “Be prepared to work a lot! This is a great job to have but there is always something else to be done. Working with kids is an awesome gift and will definitely be the best part of your job.” -Lindsay Noren, Texas Third Grade Teacher

Texas School District Requirements

How to Become a Teacher in Dallas
How to Become a Teacher in Fort Worth
How to Become a Teacher in San Antonio

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Texas Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 18,580 $33,010
Kindergarten Teachers 12,590 $49,520
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.

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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.

Teaching and Education Programs

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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