A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/25/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Texas, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Step Four: Submit a Texas teaching credential application.
Continue below for more information.
Earn Your Texas Teaching Credential
The Texas Education Agency is responsible for certifying teachers in the state. The agency offers Initial Certification for first-time teachers, Standard Certification for educators with in-state teaching experience, and Out-of-State Certifications for those who hold an educator credential from another state or country. Initial Certification and Out-of-State Certification are valid for one year, following which educators must apply for their Standard Certification. Standard Certification must be renewed every five years. Renewal requires the completion of 150 continuing professional education hours.
In order to become certified to teach in Texas, teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Many states require that a specific number of credit hours be earned in the teaching specialty area. Texas, however, does not have specific requirements for undergraduate credit hours and courses.
Texas does have certain requirements that teacher preparation programs must meet to be accredited. A program must involve at least 300 clock hours of coursework and training, including at least 80 clock hours of coursework and at least 30 hours of field experience prior to student teaching.
The coursework must cover a range of teaching skills, as dictated by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards, including the following: reading instruction; code of ethics and standard practices for Texas educators; instructional planning and delivery; knowledge of students and student learning; content knowledge and expertise; learning environment; data-driven practice, professional practices and responsibilities; instruction in detection and education of students with dyslexia; and instruction in detection of students with mental or emotional disorders. Each teacher preparation program will also have its own set of requirements. Contact your program for more information.
If you have already received your certification to teach in Texas, but want to teach in a subject area other than the one you were certified in, you must pass the corresponding Content Test. For a full list of the specific tests educators must pass according to their subject area, see the Texas Education Agency’s website.
The Texas Education Agency also offers Master Teacher Certificates in reading, mathematics, technology and science. The Master Teacher Certificate is a supplemental certificate and is not required for teaching the aforementioned subjects, but is an extra certification which can enable teachers to mentor other educators and become more competitive in their field.
Requirements to earn a Master Teacher Certificate vary by subject, but teachers must generally hold a Texas teaching certificate, have a minimum of three years of teaching experience, successfully complete an approved Master Certificate program from an approved educator preparation program, and pass the relevant Master Teacher Certification exam.
Step Three: Required Tests for Texas
Texas law requires that educators pass particular tests to become certified. While these tests differ according to subject area, they generally include a test in Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities and one or more Required Content Tests. The Texas Education Agency maintains a list of the specific tests educators need to pass according to their subject area on the agency’s website.
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The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Texas
Those who have received bachelor’s degrees from an accredited college or university in an area other than education and who have not received traditional teaching certificates can still teach in Texas by earning and Initial Certification through an Alternative Certification Program. During the Alternative Certification Program, you may begin teaching as an intern, and upon completion of the program and any relevant tests, you may apply for your Initial Certification. To learn more about alternative teacher certification in Texas, visit the state Education Agency’s website.
One example of an Alternative Certification Program is Texas Troops to Teachers, which aids former military personnel transition into educators at high-needs public schools.
The Texas Education Agency offers Out-of-State Certification to educators who hold credentials from other states. Provides the credentials are deemed comparable and corresponding out-of-state examinations have been successfully completed, the agency may grant out-of-state educators their Initial Certification.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) directs jobseekers to two free statewide employment websites: School District Job Search, which was developed by TEA to allow users to search for job opening in specific school districts and charter schools; and Work In Texas, which TEA hosts in conjunction with the Texas Workforce Commission, and links job seekers with available teaching and education-related positions.
Many Texas schools also turn to SchoolSpring, an online job bank, to advertise available positions. The SchoolSpring job list is updated daily and enables users to browse jobs by region and specialty. The Texas Workforce Commission also provides resources to help people find teaching jobs in Texas.
Texas ranked 38th in the nation for teacher salary in 2013, with the average in-state being $48,110. The Texas Education Agency determines minimum salary schedules for educators statewide. It dictates: First-year teachers must be paid at least $28,080, and teachers with 20 or more years of experience must be paid at least $45,510.
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Texas (TRS) administers the pension and health care benefits of educators in the state. TRS provides comprehensive health care coverage for Texas teachers, including TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care, two statewide health benefit programs. Pension benefits and their corresponding requirements differ across six different tiers of coverage, so it’s best to contact TRS to learn more about your current or prospective situation.
Professional development is essential to teachers in Texas, as the state education agency requires a minimum number of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours for certification renewal. The Texas Education Agency hosts a list of approved CPE providers on the Texas Education Agency website. Statewide professional development courses can also be taken online through Texas Gateway, a portal to resources organized by primary subject, grade range, and content type. It even includes self-directed professional development training courses which can be completed to earn CPE credits.
It is no longer enough to have years of teaching experience. After the No Child Left Behind Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and other academic quantification measures, teachers’ careers are increasingly dependent on the results they achieve in their classrooms.
A Master’s in Teaching can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After completing a master’s program, you may be able to achieve better classroom results and will thereby have more job security, as well as higher compensation. Teachers in Dallas, for example, earn at least $1,000 more annually just for holding a master’s rather than a bachelor’s, according to city’s Salary Schedule.