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Becoming a High School English Teacher in Texas

High school English teachers help students develop reading and writing skills, as well as an appreciation and understanding of literature. Learn how to get certified to teach this subject in Texas.

Texas High School English Teacher Career Overview

To be a high school English teacher in Texas, educators need to receive state certification in teaching English language arts and reading for grades 7-12. The certification requirements include education, training and testing that show teachers have knowledge of topics including reading processes, works of literature and effective writing, and know the methods and strategies to successfully impart this knowledge to their students. Texas English teachers will help high school students through the at least four credits of English classes that are required to graduate. The classes can include AP English, creative writing, literary genres and more.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree in English education and teacher preparation program
Exams Required TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC-12 exam (160)
TExES English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR): Grades 7-12 (231)
License Validity Period Five years
Renewal Requirements 150 professional development hours
Mean Salary for TX Teachers (2018) $58,190 (all high school teachers)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 8% (all high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education and Experience

First, teachers in Texas need to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university that includes a state-approved teacher preparation program in English education for students in grades 7-12. These programs will also include student teaching. Those who already have a bachelor's degree that is not in English education can complete a higher-level degree in education or an alternate teacher preparation program. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) website has a list of approved programs, for both the traditional bachelor's degree route and alternate routes; search for English Language Arts and Reading (Grades 7-12) programs.

Test Requirements

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards, or TExES, are the state teacher certification tests. English teachers need to pass the state subject area exam, TExES English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR): Grades 7-12 (231). This 5-hour exam assesses knowledge on topics including literature, writing, media literacy and more. They'll also need to pass the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC-12 exam (160), which is required for all teachers seeking their first certification. For both exams, the passing score is 240 and the exam fee as of 2019 is $116.

Apply for Certification

Apply for certification using the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS), which is accessed through the Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL). Applicants must create a TEAL account and follow the steps to apply for certification. This includes paying an application fee. Note that once a certification is received, teachers will view and print their certificates through this site as well.

Submit Fingerprints

After applicants submit their applications, the ECOS portal will start the fingerprinting process, so applicants will receive an email about making an appointment to get fingerprinted. The state requires all first-time certification applicants to get fingerprinted for a national background check. The process is completed through a vendor of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the total fee is $50.25 as of 2019.

License Renewal

Once teachers receive a certificate (they will be notified by email when their application is accepted), it is valid for five years. To renew a certificate after five years, teachers must complete 150 hours of continuing education. The TEA has a list of certified continuing education providers on its website. The certificate can be renewed through the ECOS system.