Texas Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. Many teacher certification programs in Texas provide alternative pathways to certification for both classroom and administrative positions. These programs can streamline a career change to classroom teaching. If you do not yet have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional teacher certification in Texas. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, continue reading to learn more about alternative route pathways in Texas.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

In order to qualify for non-traditional teacher certification in Texas, candidates need to possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. The college or university from which a candidate earned the bachelor’s degree must hold accreditation recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. For more information, refer to the agency’s List of Recognized Accreditors. Alternative certification programs can commonly be completed in one year as a post-graduate certificate. Teaching candidates also have the option of pursuing a master’s degree in education or in a specific subject as part of an approved certification program.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Texas

Texas alternative certification programs, or ACP’s, are developed by colleges and universities in accordance with guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education. As a result, these teacher training programs follow the same general standards as traditional teacher preparation programs. This also means that alternative programs require pre-service training – in other words, you must complete a certain amount of coursework prior to teaching in a classroom. According to the Texas Education Agency, many approved alternative teacher certification programs in Texas can be completed in one year, including internship or experience hours. The teaching assignment completed must be at the grade level and in the content area of the teaching certificate for which the candidate intends to apply. Further information on these alternative routes is provided below, and you can access more detailed guidelines through the Texas Education Agency.

Probationary Certificate for Texas Alternative Certification Programs (ACPs)

A Probationary Certificate must be granted in order for an individual pursuing Texas alternative certification to complete the required teaching assignment for Texas teacher certification under an ACP program. A Probationary Certificate is valid for one year. Candidates must apply online to receive a Probationary Certificate, and must have an electronically submitted recommendation for the appropriate certificate on file from the program which the candidate is completing.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification

Prospective career and technical education teachers must follow the same guidelines as other teachers pursuing alternative certification programs (ACPs) in the state. Candidates may obtain a probationary certificate and teach for one year while completing the required Texas educator preparation program for full licensure.

Testing Requirements for Texas Alternative Certification

To receive alternative Texas teacher certification, candidates must pass the same battery of exams as those who follow the traditional teacher preparation track. This includes content area exam(s), the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) and if applicable, the Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT). For more information on the exams that may be required for your intended subject area(s) and grade level, refer to the Texas Education Agency Department of Educator Testing.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Those who have already earned a teaching certificate in another state may qualify for reciprocity. Texas recognizes some (but not all) certificates from other states; however, teachers are required to take the same assessments and meet the same general requirements as other Texas certified educators. The Texas Education Agency determines whether or not out-of-state teachers are eligible for a reciprocal license. Out-of-state teachers can request that their individual cases be reviewed to see if they qualify for reciprocity. Review our teaching certificate reciprocity resource for further information.

Texas School District Requirements

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Texas

To qualify for teacher certification, you must complete an education program approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Alternative route teacher credentialing programs typically lead to a certificate or master’s. The school-based alternative certification programs below have been approved by the TEA for the preparation of teachers:

  • Abilene Christian University (Master’s)
  • Alamo Colleges* (Alternative)
  • Angelo State University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Austin College (Master’s)
  • Austin Community College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Baylor University (Master’s)
  • Dallas Baptist University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Dallas Christian College* (Alternative)
  • East Texas Baptist University (Master’s)
  • Houston Baptist University* (Alternative)
  • Houston Community Colleges* (Alternative)
  • Huston-Tillotson University* (Alternative)
  • Lamar University* (Alternative)
  • Lone Star Colleges* (Alternative)
  • McLennan Community College* (Alternative)
  • McMurry University* (Alternative)
  • Mountain View College* (Alternative)
  • North American University* (Alternative)
  • Our Lady of the Lake University (Master’s)
  • Paul Quinn College (Certificate)
  • Prairie View A&M University* (Alternative)
  • Relay Graduate School of Education* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Rice University* (Alternative)
  • Sam Houston State University (Master’s)
  • Southern Methodist University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Southwestern Adventist University* (Alternative)
  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Stephen F. Austin State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Texas A&M International University* (Alternative)
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas* (Alternative, Master’s), College Station (Master’s), Commerce* (Alternative, Master’s), Corpus Christi* (Alternative, Master’s), Kingsville* (Alternative, Master’s), Texarkana* (Alternative)
  • Texas Lutheran University* (Alternative)
  • Texas State University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Texas Wesleyan University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Texas Woman’s University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Trinity University (Master’s)
  • University of Dallas* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), Downtown* (Alternative, Master’s), Victoria* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor* (Alternative)
  • University of North Texas-Dallas* (Alternative), Denton (Certificate)
  • University of St. Thomas (Master’s)
  • University of Texas-Arlington* (Alternative, Master’s), Austin* (Certificate, Master’s), Dallas* (Alternative, Master’s), El Paso* (Alternative, Master’s), Permian Basin* (Alternative), San Antonio (Alternative), Tyler (Master’s)
  • University of the Incarnate Word (Master’s)
  • Wayland Baptist University (Alternative)
  • West Texas A&M University* (Alternative, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Texas State Education Agency: https://tea.texas.gov/