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 and teach 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. However, teachers may be rewarded 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.
|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||Ability to instruct, speaking and listening skills, and social perceptiveness|
|Salary (2015)||$52,710 (Median salary for secondary teachers in Texas)|
Sources: Texas Education Agency, O*Net 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.
A college student may find it beneficial to 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 would like to teach.
An individual aiming to be a teacher may also decide to take courses in the subject area he or she plans 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.
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Step 2: Complete a Training Program
In Texas, a teacher training program may be completed in combination with completing a bachelor's degree or after. So 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, known as TExES, TExES stands for Texas Examinations of Educator Standards. 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 teacher preparation programs must get approval from their programs in order to test.
One way to increase the chances for success when working to become certified is to develop a study plan. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) advises test-takers to come up with a study schedule and stick to it so they can cover all the material they need to know in time for the test. In addition, it is helpful to take practice tests. The TEA also suggests that practice tests can help test-takers identify areas 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 discussed steps, in Texas 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.
So if considering a career as a certified teacher in the state of Texas, first choose a major and earn a bachelor's degree. Aspiring teachers must also complete a teacher training program, pass the state exams, and attain state certification in order to instruct and assess student learning while managing a classroom environment.