How to Get Alternative Teacher Certification in Texas

Alternative teacher certification is beneficial for those who want to start their teaching career while pursuing teacher preparation programs. Learn how to obtain alternative teacher certification in Texas. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Texas: An Overview

Texas offers many non-traditional routes to teacher certification called the Alternative Certification Programs (ACPs). These programs prepare you to learn the theories and practices related to teaching and to earn teacher certification without completing a full degree program. Sometimes, you can also work as a full-time teacher. Explore the steps to obtain alternative teacher certification.

Education Required Bachelor's degree, Alternative certification program
Exams Required PACT, TExES, ACTFL (for foreign languages and bilingual languages)
License Validity Period 5 years
Requirements for Renewal Must complete 150 classroom hours
Mean Salary (2018)* $54,780 (Kindergarten), $56,520 (Elementary), $56,580 (Middle School), $58,190 (Secondary)
Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, nationwide)* 3% (Kindergarten and Elementary), 3% (Middle school), 4% (High school)

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

Step 1: A Bachelor's Degree

The primary requirement for teacher certification is a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Those entering an alternative program can usually hold a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in any subject, but applicants must select the subject and grade level they are interested in teaching for certification.

Step 2: Enroll in an Alternative Certification Program

The next step is to get entry into an alternative certification program approved in Texas, and the Texas Education Agency website lists all the state-approved programs available. The admission criteria to the ACPs differ depending on the program. But generally, if your undergraduate GPA is less than 2.5 or if you have not completed 12 credit hours in the subject area in which you seek certification, you will have to take an exam. This admission exam is called the Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT). Note that some institutions might administer the PACT for all candidates irrespective of their academic history.

Step 3: Complete all the ACP Requirements

Once you are enrolled in the program, you have to finish all the coursework and test requirements as the program demands. During the program, you will be placed in a local school for a teaching internship under a mentor or you can work full-time as a teacher. Take care to do the internship or work at the grade level and subject area in which you want certification. During the program, you'll have to apply for a probationary certificate, which is valid for one year. You'll then have to complete all the program requirements and other certification requirements within this one year. In some cases, it is allowed to raise the probationary period for up to two years.

Step 4: Pass the Certification Tests

Qualifying for the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) tests administered by Pearson is mandatory for teaching certification in Texas. The TExES offers individual tests for the subject areas in which you seek certification. The TExEs tests are computer-based and consist of multiple-choice questions, some tests might contain open-ended or oral questions. If you are seeking certification in bilingual languages or foreign languages, then you can take the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test instead of the TExES.

Step 5: Apply for the Standard Certificate

After you complete all the above requirements, you can apply for the standard certificate. The application can be completed online. First, you have to create an account in the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS) website administered by the Texas Education Agency. You will also have to set up an account in the Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) gateway. Once you do this, you can apply for the certificate and verify your application online.

Step 6: Complete the Background Check

Fingerprinting and background check is mandatory for all certificate applicants, whether it is a probationary certificate or a standard certificate. When you apply for the certificate, you will have to pay for the fingerprinting process. You can submit your fingerprints either electronically or through fingerprint cards. The fee for fingerprint submission is $50.25. The DPS and FBI will carry out a background check after the submission of your fingerprints.

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