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


Growth in Teaching Jobs in TX through 20262

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 be eligible to complete an alternative certification program or a post-baccalaureate program to qualify for licensure. You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs in Texas by using the sortable table on our Texas schools page.

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.

Additionally, 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.

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.

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). Your educator preparation program must authorize you to take these exams. 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.

Texas Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

There were 8,912 public K-12 schools in Texas during the 2016-2017 school year, which enrolled a student population of over 5.36 million.3 There were about 352,809 teachers in Texas during the same timeframe, giving the state a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1.3

From 2016 to 2026, projections estimate that there will be 14,050 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 7,000 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 10,130 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Texas.2 These figures exclude opportunities for special education and career and technical education teachers. In Texas, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $56,520, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $56,580 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $58,190.4 The Texas State Teachers Association provides frequent updates regarding policy changes and local employment opportunities for Texas teachers.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers34,790$34,960
Preschool Teachers, Special Education1,030$51,010
Kindergarten Teachers15,050$54,780
Elementary School Teachers136,780$56,520
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School13,470$57,770
Middle School Teachers66,470$56,580
Middle School Teachers, Special Education7,620$56,960
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education1,680$58,410
Secondary School Teachers110,420$58,190
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education12,970$58,570
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education10,950$60,170

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Texas Teacher Interviews

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

If you are interested in exploring more about how to become a teacher in one of the major Texas cities, you can find out more on our city pages below. These pages discuss the step-by-step process for becoming a teacher in each city school district, the requirements for becoming a substitute teacher, and provide contact information for the public school district. You can also find a list of popular and well-known private and charter schools in each city.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 a completed teacher application and criminal background check.

Question: How much do teachers make in Texas?

Answer: On average, teachers in Texas at the elementary, middle, and high school levels earn $57,097 per year.4 Teachers may earn more or less than this amount based on their experience and the school in which they teach.

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(s) 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.

1. Texas Education Agency, Texas Educators Certification: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/certification
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Texas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm