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The Texas Teaching and Certification Resource

To become a certified teacher in Texas candidates must fulfill certain requirements set by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. The Texas teacher certification process is fairly similar to other states, and requirements for teacher certification may vary depending on education and teaching experience. On this page you will find information about the traditional pathway to becoming a certified teacher in Texas. You may also wish to check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Texas.

How to Become a Teacher in Texas

Like all states, Texas has its own specific requirements for earning certification. Typically, Texas teacher certification requires candidates to have completed a teacher certification program and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Overall the process for earning teaching certification in Texas includes completing educational requirements, passing the required teacher certification exams, being fingerprinted for a background check, and submitting the state teaching application. Several alternative routes to certification are also available to those who wish to teach in Texas.

Reciprocity in Texas is available for experienced teachers with out-of-state certification. To qualify for reciprocity, educators must provide official transcripts from all colleges attended; copies of any out-of-state teaching certificates issued; and documentation of two years of school experience in the area(s) currently certified. After a credential review, the Texas Education Agency may issue a One-Year teaching certificate, which is non-renewable. During the year the certificate is valid, teachers must complete the Texas teacher certification exams. For additional information on reciprocity refer to the Texas Education Agency website.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Texas

Projected Job Growth

24%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in TX through 202215

One of the most important steps to obtaining Texas teacher licensing is completing an educator preparation program approved by the Texas Education Agency. The Texas Education Agency will accept bachelor’s degree programs that have accreditation from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s List of Recognized Accreditors. In order to obtain teacher certification in Texas, candidates must have completed an Approved Educator Program. Candidates who have previously received a bachelor’s degree may complete an alternative certification program or a post-baccalaureate program to qualify for licensure.

Candidates should confirm that their chosen school is accredited and will meet Texas Education Agency teacher certification standards before committing to a program. Online teaching certification programs offered by out-of-state schools should also be appropriately accredited.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is a national organization formed through the merger of two accreditation agencies, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CAEP accreditation, although not mandatory for Texas teacher certification, is considered an indication of quality curriculum and teacher training.

For further information, see our list of CAEP accredited schools in Texas.

Texas Teacher Outlook
From 2012 to 2022, the Texas Workforce Commission projects 7,095 new job opportunities for elementary school teachers, 3,545 new job opportunities for middle school teachers, and 4,700 new job opportunities for secondary school teachers in Texas.3 These figures exclude opportunities for special education and career and technical education teachers and do not include replacement openings, which will provide many additional career opportunities for new teachers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2014 there were about 319,900 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Texas, excluding teachers working in special education.4,5,6 In Texas, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $50,530, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $51,100 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $52,000.4,5,6 The Texas State Teachers Association provides frequent updates regarding policy changes and local employment opportunities for Texas teachers.

Texas Teacher Education Requirements

In order to obtain Texas teaching certification, candidates must first earn a bachelor’s degree from an approved and accredited institution. Prospective teachers typically choose a major in the content area that they would like to teach. The required approved educator preparation program may either be completed as part of the prospective teacher’s bachelor’s degree or as a post-baccalaureate alternative certification or degree program. 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

Texas Teacher Testing Requirements

Texas State SealAfter completing an approved educator preparation program, those seeking to obtain a Texas teaching license must demonstrate their pedagogical and content area knowledge on the required tests for Texas teacher certification. The office of Educator Testing oversees the testing process for state teachers and the assessments required vary by content area and grade level 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 and pedagogy, Texas uses two test batteries that are unique to the state: The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) and the Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT). After completing all required assessments, prospective educators are ready to apply for certification.

Additional Texas Teacher Certification Requirements

Once all of the requirements for Texas educator certification are complete, applicants must send their application packet to the TEA office. Applicants must use the online system, TEA Login (TEAL). The required documents to apply for teacher certification in Texas are as follows:

  • Submission of transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Verification of completion of an educator preparation program from an approved school
  • Submission of passing scores on the appropriate certification exam(s)
  • Proof of background clearance
  • Payment of non-refundable processing fees
  • Submission of the state application

Visit the Texas Education Agency website for additional 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 Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 18,190 $31,800
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 1,110 $53,680
Kindergarten Teachers 14,390 $48,800
Elementary School Teachers 144,200 $50,530
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 12,350 $50,830
Middle School Teachers 72,440 $51,100
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 5,720 $50,390
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 1,430 $52,020
Secondary School Teachers 103,260 $52,000
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 8,800 $52,120
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 9,760 $52,950

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

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

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 candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree, complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program, pass the appropriate teacher certification exams, and submit the state teacher application and criminal background check.

Question: How do I become a high school teacher in Texas?

Answer: To become 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, complete the required background check, 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 become a kindergarten teacher in Texas, you must be certified by the state. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree, completion of an educator preparation program, and passing scores on the required certification exams. You must also complete a background check before you can work in a school.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Texas Education Agency: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/
2. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=106BD76B-C2C9-1CED-D9AEAF20A2CEB4C3
3. Texas Workforce Commission: http://socrates.cdr.state.tx.us/
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm