Should I Become a Teacher in Texas?
Elementary school teachers generally instruct their classes in all core subjects, including math, reading and writing. In contrast, middle and high school teachers focus on a specific subject, such as science or English. Teachers are typically responsible for their students during the school day and approximately 10 months that school is in session. Other duties include planning lessons and testing students' retention of what has been taught. 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.
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.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree is required; some teachers have a master's degree|
|Degree Field||Varies but teacher preparation courses are required|
|Experience||Student teaching internship is required|
|Licensure and/or Certification||State certification required|
|Key Skills||Instructing, speaking, listening and social perceptiveness|
|Salary||$59,330 (Annual mean salary for a high school teacher)|
Sources: Texas Education Agency, 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.
- 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. It is essential that prospective teachers keep their subject 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. Some teacher preparation programs are also available online.
Step 3: Pass Certification Exams
Applicants for teacher certification must pass the relevant state exams (e.g TExES). The required exams vary depending on the subject and grade level the prospective educator intends to teach. Some exams focus on subject matter knowledge, others assess the student's grasp of pedagogical techniques and professional responsibilities. Those who are enrolled in preparation programs must get approval from their programs in order to test for their teaching certificate in Texas.
- 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. Once certified as a teacher in Texas, many teaching avenues open up on your career path.