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How to Become an English Teacher in Texas

When you become an English teacher in Texas, you get certified to teach either grades 4-8 or 7-12. Keep reading this article to learn more about what it takes to get this certification and have a career working with students on skills like reading, writing, listening and more.

Info About Texas English Teacher Careers

Texas English teachers must receive a certification in English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) for the grade level they want to teach. They can get certified to teach students in grades 4-8 or grades 7-12. In earlier grades, English teachers help students develop foundational skills in oral language, understanding literature and composition. At a high school level, English teachers help students continue to develop these skills and can also teach more advanced classes like AP English or courses that delve into specific literature or types of writing, like technical or creative writing or journalism.

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) exam
License Validity Period Five years
Renewal Requirements 150 professional development hours
Mean Salary for TX Teachers (2018) $56,520 (elementary school)
$56,580 (middle school)
$58,190 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 7% (kindergarten and elementary school)
8% (middle and high school)*

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

Step 1: Degree and Experience Requirements

Texas English teachers need to complete a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program. The traditional route is to get a bachelor's degree in English education for the grade level you want to teach, which will include teacher training and student teaching. But the state also offers post-baccalaureate and alternative certification programs if you already have a degree in an area other than teaching, but want to switch careers. To find all kinds of state-approved teacher preparation programs, you can find a list on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website under English Language Arts and Reading programs.

Step 2: Pass Teacher Certification Exams

English teachers in Texas need to pass two Texas Examinations of Educator Standards, or TExES. All Texas educators seeking their first teaching certificate must pass the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) EC-12 exam (160). Then, English teachers must take the TExES ELAR exam for the grade level they want to teach--either grades 4-8 (test 117) or 7-12 (test 231). Both English exams last for five hours. The grades 4-8 exam covers topics such as word identification skills, early literacy development and reading comprehension. The grades 7-12 exam examines knowledge of literature, media literacy, written communication and more.

All three exams have an individual fee of $116 as of 2019, and the passing score is 240.

Step 3: Certificate Application

You can apply for certification once you've completed the education, experience and examination requirements. You'll need to create a Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) account, which will allow you to access the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). You'll apply for your certification through ECOS, and later, you'll print and view your teaching certificate there as well. The ECOS portal will take you through the application process, which will also include an application fee.

Step 4: Fingerprint requirements

As you complete the application process in ECOS, you'll also be prompted to pay part of the fingerprinting fee. All Texas teacher certification applicants are required to get fingerprinted for a national background check. After you submit your application, you'll receive an email about making an appointment for fingerprinting through a vendor of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The total fingerprinting fee is $50.25 as of 2019.

Step 5: Understand License Renewal

Your initial certificate is valid for five years, and you'll need to complete 150 hours of continuing education in order to renew it. You can view a list of approved providers of continuing education on the TEA website. After five years and 150 hours of coursework, complete the renewal process through the ECOS system.