The Texas Teaching and Certification Resource
To become a certified teacher in Texas candidates must fulfill certain requirements set by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). 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.
Out-of-state certified educators must apply for a review of credentials. Educators must create a TEA Login (TEAL) account and provide copies of all out-of-state certificates; official transcripts from all colleges attended; verification of experience; and verification of tests. After a credential review, the TEA 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 TEA website.
- I want to be a teacher in Texas, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Texas’ Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
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 TEA. The TEA 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 TEA 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
After 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:
- Transcripts from all colleges attended.
- Verification of completion of an educator preparation program from an approved school.
- Passing scores on the appropriate certification exam(s).
- Submission of the state application.
- Proof of background clearance.
- Payment of non-refundable processing fees.
Visit the Texas Education Agency website for additional information on Texas teacher certification.
Texas Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
According to the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 8,912 public K-12 schools in Texas during the 2016-2017 school year with 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 openings for middle school teachers, and 10,130 openings for secondary school teachers in Texas.2 These figures exclude opportunities for special education and career and technical education teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2018, Texas elementary school teachers earned an average annual salary of $56,520, while middle school teachers earned $56,580, and secondary school teachers earned $58,190.4 The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) provides frequent updates regarding policy changes and local employment opportunities for Texas teachers.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||1,030||$51,010|
|Elementary School Teachers||136,780||$56,520|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||13,470||$57,770|
|Middle School Teachers||66,470||$56,580|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||7,620||$56,960|
|Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||1,680||$58,410|
|Secondary School Teachers||110,420||$58,190|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||12,970||$58,570|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||10,950||$60,170|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in Texas
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Texas broadly has the following shortages5:
- Career and Technical Education, 7-12
- Career and Technical Education (Computer Science), Pre-K-12
- English as a Second Language (Bilingual Education), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics, 7-12
- Special Education, Pre-K-12
According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the state has not experienced a major loss of teachers due to the pandemic, based on its attrition and new hire numbers. In fact, the 2020-21 school year saw a higher percentage change in new hires over lost jobs since the 2014-15 school year.6 However, some districts in the state still may be experiencing shortages in areas such as the ones listed above, so you should check your local district for more information.
Texas Teacher Interviews
- Early Childhood Teacher, Matt Gomez
- Kindergarten Teacher, April Larremore
- Third Grade Teacher, Lindsay Noren
- Third Grade Teacher, Diane Hubacz
- Third Grade Language Arts Teacher, Megan Favre
- Math Teacher, Kathryn Laster
- High School Math Teacher, Shireen D.
- Former President of the Texas Music Teachers Association, Sharon Callahan
- ESL Teacher Trainer and Founder of Kid World Citizen, Becky Morales
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.
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
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
6. Texas Education Agency, Employed Teacher Attrition and New Hires 2006‐07 through 2020‐21, https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/employed-teacher-attrition-and-new-hires-tgs210519.pdf