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Becoming a Teacher in Texas Through a University Program

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Becoming a Teacher Through a University ProgramAre you planning to get a degree in education or are you already enrolled in a university with plans to become a teacher in Texas?  This is the traditional route for becoming certified to teach in Texas. University programs offer a path to teacher certification while you’re earning your degree. These programs allow future teachers to complete the requirements for a teaching certificate using your university coursework. This article will walk you through the process of becoming an educator in Texas using a University Educator Preparation Program, or EPP.

(If you’re just starting to research your options, check out our high-level overview of How to Become a Teacher in Texas.)

If you already have a non-teaching degree from a four-year university and you’re thinking of transitioning into education, check out our article on How to Become a Texas Teacher Through Alternative Certification. If that is your scenario, most likely you are better off using an ACP rather than going back to school.

In some cases, future teachers who already have bachelor’s degrees can earn advanced degrees in addition to completing the certification requirements. To do this, you must use an approved program. (You can see the approved EPPs in Texas here. To see the university programs, select the traditional button in the upper-right corner of the map.) We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit, though.

Let’s talk through the steps of becoming a Texas teacher through a university program.

1. Decide What You Would Like to Teach

Before you get started with a program, you need to decide the grade level and subjects that you are interested in teaching. It would be helpful to consider what coursework you have completed and may presently have in your degree plan. This determines the certification program and specific exams you should take to become a teacher in Texas.

2. Select an Approved University Educator Preparation Program 

Here is the list of approved traditional university EPPs in Texas. The EPP you select will help you determine the coursework you need depending on what you want to teach and outline the required number of credits to help you graduate. The length of time you need to complete a university program will vary depending on your circumstances — your EPP will help you determine the best path for you!

3. Meet the Screening Requirements to Enter the Program 

Your university program will advise you on any basic skills, academic benchmarks and any other additional requirements needed to enter the program. The number of semester hours and minimum GPA needed for acceptance will vary by program and certification you are seeking. While some of these requirements are state-mandated, universities may have additional requirements.

4. Develop a Certification Program Specific to You

Once you’re accepted into a university program, you and your advisor will work together to determine your specific coursework, find (student) clinical teaching positions or internships, and identify the teacher certification tests that you will need for your specific teaching interests.

For some specialized teaching areas, such as agriculture and trade and industrial education, you may need previous experience or industry-specific licenses.

5. Complete Your Program, Including Any (Student) Clinical Teaching or Internships

Again, your program will assist you in finding clinical teaching or internship opportunities. Clinical teaching is available as the capstone experience for undergraduate programs.  Post-bac programs will  often have the option of clinical teaching or a year-long internship (full year teacher of record.) Clinical teaching is when a candidate is paired with an experienced teacher, and it is typically an unpaid position.  It can last anywhere from 1-2 semesters.  An internship is serving as a teacher of record, a paid position, and is responsible for all teaching and assigned duties.

For those seeking the internship capstone, once you complete prerequisite program requirements and content testing, your EPP will supply you with an eligibility statement for employment purposes (often referred to as a SOE) and may help you find a job in your specific grade level and subject area. You will then be paired with a certified mentor and additional program supervision.

If you are eligible for a teaching internship, you will need to apply for an intern OR probationary teaching certificate that will include a background check and fingerprinting. These certificates are valid for one year. Be aware that intern certificates are for candidates who have only passed their content exams. Probationary certificates are for candidates who passed their content and PPR exams.

6. Register for and Complete Your Teaching Exams

When your program authorizes it, you can begin to register for teaching certification exams. Your program advisor will help you determine which tests you should take. At a minimum, you will be required to take the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam, which tests readiness for an entry-level teaching job in Texas. You will also have to pass your specific content exams. These exams are not easy, which is why many EPPs in Texas refer their candidates to 240 Tutoring. If you need any help passing your certification exams, we’re here to help. One subscription gives you full access to every TExES exam in our study guide.

7. Apply for a Texas Teaching Certificate

After you have completed all of your requirements as dictated by your university program, you can apply for a standard certificate and become a licensed teacher in Texas. A national background check will be conducted prior to issuance of your certificate. When your certificate is approved, it will be posted to the Texas Education Agency website and you will receive a notification by email that you’re officially a teacher!

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