How to Become a Teacher in Houston

Public schools in Houston are part of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), which is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest school district in the country with over 280 schools.1 The district is home to a culturally and linguistically diverse student body of over 209,000 students, with over 74% of students classified as economically disadvantaged.1 If you want to pursue a public school teaching career in Houston, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). You might also consider jobs in private and charter schools in Houston, which may set different employment requirements than the public system. Continue reading to find out more about teaching careers in Houston.

Houston Teacher Certification Requirements

There are two paths to earn the required Texas teaching certificate for Houston teaching jobs. Most teachers earn a teaching certificate by completing a traditional bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program. See our Texas certification page for more information. Alternatively, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can complete an approved educator preparation program to meet the statewide requirements. Refer to our Texas alternative certification page for more information.

If you want to reduce the financial burden of completing your degree, the Teach Forward Houston fellowship provides free tuition at the University of Houston for HISD seniors who commit to four years of teaching in Houston’s public school system.

Teacher Certification Programs in Houston

The Houston-area colleges and universities below offer teacher preparation programs approved by the Texas Education Agency. These programs can prepare you for first-time certification or additional endorsements. You can read more about Texas teacher preparation programs on our Texas schools page.

  • Houston Baptist University
  • Lone Star College
  • Rice University
  • Texas Southern University
  • University of Houston
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake
  • University of Houston-Downtown
  • University of St. Thomas

Houston School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) requires all teacher candidates to have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate, which is earned by completing an state-approved educator preparation program either as part of a bachelor’s program or as a separate program. You will then need to pass certification exams and apply for a teaching certificate. You can learn more about the various paths to certification in our certification section. Once you have a Texas teaching certificate, you will be able to apply for public school teaching jobs in Houston.

Step 1: Complete the online application for the Teacher Pool.

The online application is the first step in securing a public school teaching job in Houston. You will be asked to provide information about your experience and education as well as submit an official transcript, your teaching certificate, references, cover letter, resume, and a math assessment. If your application is accepted, you will be entered into the school board Teacher Pool.

Step 2: Apply for open teaching positions.

Once you are in the Teacher Pool, you will be eligible to apply for open jobs in the job bank. Schools hire teachers directly in Houston; therefore, you will need to apply to each position you wish to be considered for. Schools will also be able to view your profile and contact you directly for an interview or offer invitations to relevant job fairs. There are three priority deadlines during the year to apply for open positions in the district. The earlier you can apply for positions, the better.

Step 3: Interview for open positions.

Through the application and job fair processes, you may be invited to attend in-person interviews for specific jobs. The interview process will vary depending on the school but typically includes assessments of your teaching profile and content knowledge, sample lesson plans, and/or writing samples.

Step 4: Complete the hiring process.

If you are offered a position, you will likely receive a confirmation letter outlining the details of your job contract and the steps to accept your offer. The school will likely conduct a background check and confirm your credentials before you begin teaching.

Contact Information

Houston Independent School Board
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HoustonISD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HoustonISD

4400 W 18th St
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 556-6000

How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the Houston School District

Substitute teachers, referred to as Associate Teachers in Houston, must apply online to the district-wide teaching pool. If your application is accepted, you will be invited to an interview with the Houston Independent School Board’s human resources team. The next steps include attending a Pre-Hire session and an Associate Teacher Orientation, submitting your fingerprints, and completing administrative tasks, such as setting up your school email address.

Long-term substitute teaching positions require a bachelor’s degree and are offered as they become available during the school year. However, you do not need a bachelor’s degree to apply for the Associate Teaching pool or to work in short-term positions. You can also apply if you are completing your student teaching placement as part of a teacher preparation program.

Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in Houston

Both private and charter schools operate outside of public school requirements and many offer specialized learning opportunities and smaller classes. Unlike the public school system, they do not always require you to have a teaching certificate to teach and many schools will accept a bachelor’s degree in a related subject. However, if you do have teaching experience and a valid teaching certificate, this may be an advantage for your application. You should contact private or charter schools directly to learn about teaching requirements and job openings. Private schools are funded independently while charter schools receive public funding but operate according to individualized school charters or mandates.

The Largest K-12 Schools in Houston

To help you compare public, private, and charter schools that may be hiring in Houston, we compiled the below table of the largest schools in the area.

SchoolTypeGrade Level# StudentsStudent-Teacher
Piney Point Elementary SchoolPublicPK-51,20118:1
The Rice School / La Escuela RicePublicK-81,14917:1
Pilgrim AcademyPublicPK-81,14418:1
Pershing Middle SchoolPublic6-81,70019:1
Meyerland Middle SchoolPublic6-81,60717:1
Lanier Middle SchoolPublic6-81,46920:1
Bellaire High SchoolPublic9-123,48717:1
Lamar High SchoolPublic9-123,37823:1
Chavez High SchoolPublic9-123,06718:1
Energized for Excellence Academy Elementary SchoolCharterK-51,802
YES Prep SoutheastCharter6-1299716:1
KIPP Legacy Preparatory SchoolCharterPK-496420:1
The Village SchoolPrivatePK-121,7739:1
The Awty International SchoolPrivatePK-121,7318:1
St. John’s SchoolPrivateK-121,2587:1

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.

Houston Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook

As of 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that teachers in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area earned average salaries between $57,270 and $60,820, depending on the grade level taught.2 These salaries were slightly above the state averages, which were reportedly between $54,780 and $58,190, and slightly below the national averages between $58,370 and $64,340 during this time frame.3,4

The job outlook for the Deep East Texas Workforce Development Area, which includes Houston, is positive. Houston teaching jobs for regular classroom teachers are projected to increase by 16% through 2026, with the highest increase in overall jobs occurring in elementary teaching positions.5 Special education teachers should see similar growth of 15% to 16% over the same time period, depending on the grade level taught.5

Houston Teacher Shortage Areas

The US Department of Education bases some student loan forgiveness programs on teacher shortage areas, meaning that your chances of qualifying for loan forgiveness may be stronger if you are teaching a subject that has been formally identified as a shortage area. You may also qualify for other funding opportunities or a more competitive salary based on your endorsement(s). Note that shortage areas may change from year to year, so you should be sure to check with state education agencies, your selected education program, and your student loan providers about funding options. For the 2020-2021 school year, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in Texas (statewide):6

  • Bilingual/English as a Second Language (Elementary and Secondary)
  • Career and Technical Education (Secondary)
  • Mathematics (Secondary)
  • Special Education (Elementary and Secondary)
  • Technology Applications and Computer Science (Secondary)

Houston Teaching Jobs Boards

To look for open jobs in Houston, search online job boards or contact schools directly. Following are some job boards to get started. You can also use our jobs board to search for teaching jobs in Houston now.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the starting Houston ISD teacher salary?

Answer: As of 2020, the starting salary for first-to-third-year Houston ISD teachers was $54,369 per 10-month school year, plus benefits.7 Incrementally higher salaries are offered for 10.5-, 11-, 11.5-, and 12-month school schedules, up to $65,242 for first-to-third-year teachers.7 After the third year of service, Houston educators receive annual pay increases.7

Question: How much do substitute teachers make in Houston?

Answer: Substitute teachers, also known as associate teachers, in Houston earn $14 per hour.7 Substitute teachers who have a degree and teacher certification can qualify for long-term substitute assignments (those lasting 10 days or more); long-term assignments pay $16.43 per hour.7

Question: Which schools offer teacher certification programs in Houston?

Answer: Schools with teacher certification programs in Houston include the University of Houston and Rice University as well as smaller schools such as St. Thomas University. Check the Texas Education Agency website for more information on approved university-based and alternative certification programs.

Table Notes and References:
1. Niche, Largest Schools in Houston: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-schools/t/houston-harris-tx/

1. Houston Independent School District: General Information: https://www.houstonisd.org/domain/7908
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26420.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Texas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
5. Texas Labor Market Information: Employment Projections: https://texaslmi.com/LMIbyCategory/Projections
6. Texas Education Agency 2018-2019 Teacher Shortage Areas and Loan Forgiveness Programs: https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/2018-2019-teacher-shortage-areas-and-loan-forgiveness-programs
7. Houston Independent School District Salary Tables: https://www.houstonisd.org/salarytables