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Texas Teacher Qualifications: Steps to Becoming a Texas Teacher

Learn how to become a teacher in Texas. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements to find out how to start a teaching career in Texas.

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Do I Want to Be a Teacher in Texas?

Elementary school teachers generally instruct their classes in all core subjects, including math, reading and writing, while middle school and high school teachers focus on a specific subject, such as science or English. Teachers are typically responsible for their students during the days and approximately 10 months that school is in session, in addition to completing a great deal of work related to planning lessons and assessing students' work during the other times. Working with students who may be disrespectful or unmotivated on a daily basis may be stressful and discouraging. Teachers may be rewarded, however, by the positive gains observed in students' behavior and academic achievements.

Job Requirements

The requirements to become a certified teacher in Texas include earning a bachelor's degree, completing an accredited teacher training program including student teaching and passing state exams. Aspiring teachers who already have a bachelor's degree in another area could pursue an alternative route to certification. The table below provides an overview of pursuing a teaching career in Texas.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree is required; some teachers have a master's degree*
Degree Field Any major, but teacher preparation courses are required*
Licensure and/or Certification State certification required*
Experience Student teaching internship during teacher training program is required**
Key Skills Instructing, speaking, listening and social perceptiveness***
Additional Requirements Pass national criminal background check*

Sources: *Texas Education Agency, **University of North Texas, ***ONet Online.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

To become a teacher in Texas, a bachelor's degree from an accredited university is a requirement. Texas universities don't offer degrees specifically in education; instead, aspiring teachers may select any major that interests them. Future teachers complete a specialized training program in addition to their major field of study.

Success Tips:

  • Volunteer or find part-time work in a setting that involves interacting with children. Not only will this provide practical experience with children, but by working with different age groups, future teachers can get a better idea of which grade level they'd like to teach.
  • Take courses in the subject area you plan to teach. Those planning to teach a specific subject at the middle or high school level will need to pass a subject area exam to get certified, so aspiring teachers should keep their knowledge fresh.

Step 2: Complete a Teacher Training Program

This step may be completed in combination with the first step or after the first step. Many aspiring teachers complete their teacher training programs in conjunction with their bachelor's degrees. However, those who decide to enter the teaching profession after completing their bachelor's degrees may enroll in a stand-alone teacher preparation program. Completion of a student teaching experience is required for both types of programs, and some teacher preparation programs are available online.

Step 3: Pass Certification Exams

Applicants for teacher certification must pass the relevant state exams. The required exams vary depending on teacher candidates' intended subject and grade level. Some exams focus on subject matter knowledge, while others assess examinees' grasp of pedagogical techniques and professional responsibilities. Those who are enrolled in teacher preparation programs must get approval from their programs in order to test.

Success Tips

  • Develop a study plan. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) advises test-takers to come up with a study schedule and stick to it so that they can cover all the material they need to know in time for the test.
  • Take practice tests. The TEA suggests that practice tests can help test-takers identify areas where they need to study more thoroughly.

Step 4: Apply for Certification

The last step to becoming a teacher in Texas is submitting an application to the state and receiving official certification. In addition to documenting completion of all the steps above, applicants must get fingerprinted and pass a national criminal background check. The TEA evaluates each applicant's background on an individual, case-by-case basis, considering factors like the seriousness of any past criminal offenses and the age of the applicant at the time of the offense.

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