The State of Texas is facing a major educational challenge-a growing shortage of qualified teachers. Whether you are a recent college graduate, a mid-career changer, a teacher from another state/country, or someone who does not yet have a college degree, the information below outlines how to become a teacher in Texas.
How to become a teacher in Texas
What are the basic requirements for becoming a teacher in Texas?
- You must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Texas institutions do not offer a degree in education. Every teacher must have an academic major, as well as teacher training courses. The only exemption from the degree requirement is for individuals seeking Career and Technology certification to teach certain courses, such as welding or computer-aided drafting.
- You must complete teacher training through an approved program. These programs are offered through colleges and universities, school districts, regional service centers, community colleges, and other entities.
- You must successfully complete the appropriate teacher certification tests for the subject and grade level you wish to teach. For a list of the certification tests and information on which tests are required, click here.
How do you choose the teacher training program that is best for you?
- Programs for those who do not yet have a college degree. Colleges and universities offer programs for training teachers. You will receive a degree in an academic major, as well as the training you would need to be an effective teacher. For a list of colleges and universities that offer teacher training as part of an undergraduate degree program, click here.
- Programs for those who already have a college degree (post- baccalaureate programs). These programs, which include accelerated routes into teaching, offer training on how to be an effective teacher, as well as additional courses you might need in the subject area you wish to teach. Many of these programs can be completed in a year, during which time you may have a paid teaching position in a public school classroom. For a list of these programs, click here.
If I am certified in another state or country, how do I become certified in Texas?
- Teachers from other states or countries who hold acceptable credentials from their home state or country can gain certification in Texas by passing the appropriate Texas certification tests. For more information, click here.
- Some out-of-state teachers can gain certification in Texas based on the certification tests they took in another state, if SBEC has found those tests to be similar to and at least as rigorous as equivalent Texas tests. SBEC began the process of reviewing other state's tests in fall 2001. For an overview of this review process and a list of the out-of-state tests reviewed to date, click here.
What resources are available to help me pay for a teacher training program?
Listed below are programs and grants that are specifically designed to help individuals become teachers. Click on the program for additional information.
- Certified Educational Aide Exemption Program - Texas offers tuition exemptions for some educational aides seeking to become certified teachers.
- Teach for America - This program offers cash awards that can be applied to past student loans or future educational costs for recent college graduates who commit to teaching in urban and rural public schools for two years.
- Troops to Teachers - This program offers guidance and support for military veterans who wish to make the transition from active duty into the teaching profession.
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness - The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act of 2004 authorizes up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for eligible, highly qualified math, science and special education teachers. To be eligible, teachers with no outstanding loan balances before Oct.1, 1998, and who have borrowed before Oct. 1, 2005 must be highly qualified, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act; must have taught full-time, for five consecutive years, in a Title I school; and must have taught secondary math or science or elementary or secondary special education to students with disabilities.
- Other financial aid - The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board administers a variety of grants for attending college. You may also qualify for other financial aid, student loans, or scholarships. Contact the teacher training program you wish to attend for additional information.
- G.I. Bill Benefits- for test fees - The Texas Workforce Commission allows veterans and other eligible persons to receive reimbursement for the cost of certification tests. This approval has been made effective, retroactively, as of March 1, 2001. The veteran or other eligible person must submit two forms to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Office, in Muskogee, OK. The two forms are: Application for Licensing and Certification Testing Fee Reimbursement (LACAS 1) and either the VA Form 22-1990- Application for VA Education Benefits (for Veterans) or VA Form 22-5490- Application for Survivor's and Dependents Educational Assistance. For additional information or to obtain these forms, contact the Texas Workforce Commission Veterans Education office at (512) 463-3215 or at http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
- G.I. Bill Benefits- for preparation program costs/fees - Veterans Education Benefits (GI Bill) can be used for both university and alternative teacher certification programs. The program must request and receive approval from the Texas Workforce Commission Veterans Affairs Office in order for veterans to receive benefits while participating in a certification program. Once approved, the program will assign a staff person to process the required forms to request VA funding. The amount of money paid to eligible veterans will vary, depending on the type of GI Bill that they have and the type of program in which they are participating. If veterans have remaining GI Bill eligibility, they should ask the program director or university VA office for details on applying for benefits.
What types of teaching positions are needed?
- Texas has shortages in all areas. However, the need for teachers is particularly great in math, science, special education, foreign languages, technology applications, and bilingual education. The types and number of positions available vary across the state. For a listing of districts with job vacancies by region of Texas, click here.
- Texas Workforce Commission - The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects teaching as one of the fastest growing occupations. Special programs and incentives are available to help people become and remain teachers.
Who may I contact for additional information?
- You may contact the State Board for Education Certification Information and Support Center toll free at 1 (888) 863-5880 or by e-mail. Or you can contact a teacher training program or school district in your area.