Find an Education Path For Teaching in Texas, TX

If you want to become an educator in Texas, the steps you have to take to reach that goal will depend on what level of education you have completed.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

These guidelines will help you follow the steps needed to advance through essential educational steps, as you move toward becoming a certified teacher in Texas.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

A high school diploma or an official GED transcript is essential for admission to most bachelor’s degree programs at Texas-accredited colleges and universities. Some colleges also require passing scores on entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT. For students who are interested in becoming teachers and want to know more about the profession, joining the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) may be beneficial. This statewide organization provides students with chances to meet other aspiring teachers, to make contacts, to network with Texas teachers and advisors, and to participate in various activities, conferences, retreats and summer workshops. Involvement in extra-curricular education-related activities, including volunteer work with children in your community, will give you hands-on experience, and will be recognized during the college and university admission process as evidence of your commitment to the field of education. These guidelines suggest some of the steps you can take as you begin your journey toward becoming a teacher.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, child development, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Aspiring teachers can enroll at a community college and earn an Associate degree. Some two-year colleges offer programs that lead to certification in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  3. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  4. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Community colleges and other two-year institutions offer a variety of courses, degrees and certificates that can lead you towards a teaching career in Texas. Until recently, only four-year colleges and universities provided the educational pathway toward a Texas teaching career. Now, many community colleges offer a variety of Associate degrees, such as the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degrees. Two-year colleges are accessible to more students, because the admissions requirements are less stringent. In addition, students who begin their pursuit of a teaching degree or certificate through the Associate of Arts in Teaching program, find that tuition for two-year programs, including those that lead to a four-year college Bachelor’s degree is considerably less expensive than taking all your courses at a four-year university. If you have questions about what comes next after completing your community college degree, consult with advisors at both the current two-year school and the four-year colleges you are interested in attending.

  1. Texas community colleges and other accredited two-year programs offer Associate degrees, such as the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT)–with a focus on Elementary, Middle School, or High School Education–which introduce practical knowledge and philosophies of teaching and give students the opportunity to participate in field observations of classrooms and children’s centers in local public school districts. Another two-year college degrees are the Associate of Applied Science in Child Development. Child Development certificates that focus on with infants, toddlers or preschoolers are available for working as head start teachers, teacher’s aides or childcare providers. School-Age Caregiver certificates train teachers to work in before- and after-school and summer programs for young children.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from two-year college you have been attending. Contact the four-year colleges you are considering, to find out more about their transfer requirements and to request more information about their programs.
  3. The Associate of Arts in Teaching degree (AAT) is a Texas Board-approved college degree program consisting of lower-division courses designed to allow students to transfer credits and coursework to bachelor’s degree programs that lead to initial Texas teacher certification. While the Associate of Arts in Teaching degree is transferable to all Texas public universities, students who complete the AAT are required to meet all entrance requirements of the university and to be eligible for the educator preparation program.
  4. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate degrees or credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment directly after graduating from a two-year or community college. An Early Childhood Education certificate may qualify you to begin working with infants, toddlers, and pre-school children. You can begin working as a teaching assistant, a para-educator, or a teacher in early child education programs, such childcare centers, preschools or Head Start classrooms.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

The State of Texas is facing a major challenge—a shortage of qualified teachers. The state is actively seeking educators and prospective teachers and reaching out to individuals from a number of populations–recent college graduates, career changers, teachers from other states, community college students and high school graduates. All students who want to receive initial teacher certification in Texas must demonstrate college level skills in written and oral communication, reading, and mathematics. To become a certified teacher in Texas, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Their undergraduate major often determines the steps individuals who want to teach in Texas should take.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with an Education Licensing focus, including an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Student teaching is an important aspect of any Bachelor’s in Education program, and successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements, including student teaching, will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  2. The state of Texas requires applicants seeking Initial teaching certificates to pass a competency exam in professional development and the subject area they plan to specialize in. The Texas Examination of Educator Standards test, also known as the TExES, assesses Texas teaching certification students. The purpose of the TExES is to ensure that beginning teachers are properly trained in their content areas, teaching and learning styles and professional skills necessary for an entry-level teaching position in Texas public schools.
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you earned a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in a specific subject, you may have already satisfied many academic requirements recommended by credential programs. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. Once you have your Bachelor’s degree, the next step is to enroll in an Approved Educator Preparation Program at an accredited institution. These post-baccalaureate programs are offered through colleges, universities, school districts, community colleges, and other institutions.
  6. Students who fulfill all of the Texas Department of Education’s requirements are eligible to apply for an Initial Texas Teaching Certificate. In addition to successfully completing all academic coursework, student teaching and an approved teacher preparation program, you must maintain a 2.75 GPA and pass all mandatory exams before submitting your application for certification to the State Board for Educator Certification.
  7. Some students choose to continue their academic pursuits by entering a Master’s of Education degree program. Some university programs offer a route to educator certification while earning a degree at the same time. In some cases, individuals with a bachelor’s degree may find a program in which they can earn an advanced degree while they are completing the requirements for a certificate.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program

Texas-approved graduate schools offer Master’s degrees in various education specialties. Graduate programs in Education include: Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in Science and Mathematics Education or in Foreign Language Education; Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, which offers area of specialization, such as in Early Childhood Education, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Language and Literacy Studies and Social Studies Education, , as well as a General Studies option. Some of the graduate degrees available may include a Teacher Preparation Program, and when you have completed both the Master’s degree and the teacher education requirements, you will be eligible to apply for Initial Certification to teach in the state of Texas.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license. The criteria for admission into a College of Education graduate program include: a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university; transcripts for all coursework; a minimum grade point average; and a passing GRE score. Most graduate schools require students to satisfy both the admission requirements of the Graduate school and the prerequisites of the specific Education program. You can earn a Master’s degree with a focus on Elementary Education or Secondary Education.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have successfully completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These requirements include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your Initial Educator License and to begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the Texas Department of Education to request information and an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. Texas offers Doctoral Programs in University Departments or Colleges of Education. Talk to your graduate advisor and gather information to determine which will be the best school and program for you.