Being bilingual is very important today as the world has become a much smaller place with advanced technologies. As more people are integrated in the melting pot of America, it is beneficial to be fluent in more than just English in the classroom. Read this article if you'd like to be a certified bilingual teacher in Texas.
Requirements for Teachers in Texas
|Average Salary for Teachers in Texas (2019)*|| $37,030 (Preschool)
$56,280 (Elementary School)
$56,290 (Middle School)
$58,000 (Secondary School)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Required Field||English as a Second Language, Education|
|Testing Requirements||TExES Assessments and/or ACTFL Oral and Written exams, and TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 and TExES Bilingual Education Supplemental.|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Understand What a Bilingual Teacher Is
Often, when we see bilingual, we automatically think two languages. While this is true, it is important not to confuse a bilingual teacher with a foreign language teacher. They are not the same. While a foreign language teacher is an English speaker and teaches another language, a bilingual teacher is fluent in more than one language and can help native speakers of that language integrate better into the classroom. In Texas, a large number of students speak Spanish in the home. In some counties, like Starr County, upwards of 87% of the population speaks Spanish at home. Being able to speak to Spanish-speaking students, especially at younger ages, when they may still not be fully comfortable with English, can really allow you to help your students in ways a unilingual teacher couldn't.
Step 2: Complete Your Education
For bilingual teachers, you must have certification as a teacher. Depending on the grade level and subject you want to teach, your education will vary. It is a safe bet to select an education program, whether secondary or elementary. These programs almost always include the educator preparation program (EPP) elements that are required for certification. These include courses that will help you educate to the best of your ability and student teaching assignments. Many programs that are subject-specific may not include an incorporated EPP. The EPPs can be taken together or separate from your degree program, but you must complete both a bachelor's degree and an EPP to be eligible for certification.
Step 3: Get Certified as a Teacher
There are just a few more steps required to become a certified teacher in Texas. First, you must complete the TExES exams that are required of teachers. Every teacher must complete the 100-question TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 assessment. In addition to this exam, you will need to check with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to see which other exams you must take for certification. Again, this all depends on the grade level and subject in which you'd like to teach. We'll take a look at elementary education as an example. This certification requires you to complete the TExES Core Subjects EC-6 exam. This one includes 267 multiple-choice questions on the basic subjects of math, science, art, etc. Each TExES assessment cost $131, and you have five hours to complete it.
You will also need to be fingerprinted by a MorphoTrust site and have a background check run by the TEA and FBI. You can sign up with an account on the ECOS site, and then pay the $39 background check fee. After you have done this, you will make the appointment to have the fingerprint scan. In all, the TEA should get the results in seven business days.
Step 4: Complete Bilingual Testing
Once you have a base certification, you can then earn the bilingual certification. To do this, you'll need to take some more exams to prove your language fluency. The first exam that you should take is the TExES Bilingual Education Supplement. There are 70 questions on this exam and all questions pertain to bilingual education. This exam is required for all bilingual teachers.
The second exam will be the one that certifies you to teach the language you want to be bilingual in. TExES has two exams that can be used for bilingual teachers: the American Sign Language (ASL) and the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test Spanish. The Spanish exam, which may be most useful in Texas, includes 84 multiple-choice questions and seven constructed-response questions. In order to be certified as a bilingual teacher in any of the other languages that Texas certifies -- Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese -- you'll need to take the associated oral proficiency interview and writing proficiency test in that language given by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.