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How to Become an ESL Teacher in Texas

Jan 02, 2019

English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers are key to the process of ensuring that non-native speakers of English can improve their language ability, and in turn, contribute to social cohesion as a whole. But first, they must complete certain education and testing steps to get certified.

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Migration into the US has increased markedly in recent decades and this has led to many more English language learners than ever before. It is imperative that migrants, who are not native English speakers, quickly improve their English language skills, so that they have a chance to thrive in American society. In Texas, ESL teachers must successfully complete a number of education, training and testing steps as part of the teacher qualification and certification process.

Texas ESL Teacher Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Texas (2017)* $56,760 (Elementary), $56,670 (Middle), $57,830 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities (PPR) TExES exam (code: 160), TExES English as a Second Language Supplemental test (code: 154) for additional ESL endorsement of existing teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Budding ESL teachers in Texas must first obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college and then concurrently complete an approved educator preparation program. The ideal program combination would involve teacher candidates completing courses in education and then TESOL, which are often offered as part of a separate undergraduate or graduate certificate. The TESOL element of such a program typically includes courses in the following topics:

  • Second language acquisition
  • Teaching English as a second or foreign language
  • Linguistics
  • Methods and materials to teach English as a second or foreign language

Teachers who already hold a teaching certificate can also add ESL as a teaching endorsement by completing a TESOL graduate certification program. Such programs typically require candidates to take 15-20 semester hours of TESOL courses and also include compulsory practical classroom experience modules and internships.

Step 2: Pass Required Testing

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) requires ESL teacher candidates to pass the Pedagogy & Professional Responsibilities (PPR) TExES exam (code: 160) for early childhood (EC) through grade 12. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions which candidates have five hours to answer. The questions are split into the following four domain areas:

  • Designing instruction and assessment to promote student learning (34% of the test)
  • Create a positive, productive classroom environment (13%)
  • Implementing effective, responsive instruction and assessment (33%)
  • Fulfilling professional roles and responsibilities (20%)

Existing teachers who are seeking to add ESL as an endorsement will also have to pass the ESL content test which is known as the TExES English as a Second Language Supplemental test (code: 154). This test consists of 70 multiple-choice questions and the questions are split into the following three domains:

  • Language concepts and language acquisition (25% of the test)
  • ESL instruction and assessment (45%)
  • Foundations of ESL education, cultural awareness and family and community involvement (30%)

Candidates can register for these tests through the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website.

Step 3: Apply for Initial Teacher Certification and ESL Endorsement in Texas

Once candidates have successfully finished the education and testing steps, they can submit an application for their initial teacher certificate. The application should be submitted through the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS) and candidates will need to attach their official transcripts from their degree and educator preparation program provider(s) to the application.

Candidates will also have to submit fingerprints as part of the application process and is a State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and TEA requirement.

Texas Teacher Certification Resources

Texas ESL teacher candidates can click on the links below to check out our study guides which provide great preparation for the state certification test:

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