Teacher Alternative Certification
Teacher alternative certification programs are designed for people who do not possess teacher certification or formal training to enter the classroom. If you are considering a career in teaching but aren't certified, the following information will help you understand the process and research your options.
AM I ELIGIBLE TO TEACH IN TEXAS?
To teach in Texas you must possess a Bachelor's degree, complete teacher training through an approved program and pass the appropriate teacher certification tests for the subject and grade level in which you wish to teach. Read more about How to Become a Teacher in Texas to explore your potential and options.
Alternative teacher certification programs vary dramatically in their requirements, scope, complexity and the level of support they offer to candidates in their programs. However, these programs generally prepare and train future teachers to develop curriculum, present in the classroom, aid in student development and understand education administration. These programs also help prepare candidates for the exams required to teach by the state of Texas. Certification programs differ in length of study, but most programs require a year to complete.
Explore the route to becoming an educator in Texas through alternative certification provided by the Texas Education Agency.
CERTIFICATION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Certification program requirements vary widely, the following information is provided as a general guide only.
Student Program Eligibility
- Bachelor's degree
- minimum GPA
- Eligible to work in the U.S.
- Coursework for the subject area of choice (this requirement varies greatly)
- Pass criminal background check
Teaching Certification Exams
Some programs require candidates to have strong background knowledge in the targeted teaching subject area, generally in the form of pre-existing academic studies. However, all programs require candidates to pass the appropriate Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) test to evaluate content knowledge.
The state also administers other teaching related exams related to particular types of teaching careers - ask your program advisor if any of these are required for your teaching goal. These tests include the Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET), Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT), Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES), Texas Oral Proficiency Test (TOPT), and Texas Assessment of Sign Communication [(TASC) and (TASC-ASL). These tests assess the prospective educator's knowledge of academic content and teaching, including understanding of learners.
Before you begin researching the variety of programs available around the state, or across the country, you should strongly consider what is most important to you in a program and for a future teaching career. Consider what areas of study and grade levels you would like to teach - what do you feel passionate about sharing with others? Decide where you want to start your teaching career - in Texas or another state? If you decide to teach in another state, please keep in mind that each state has its own requirements and you should complete a certification program in that particular state. Visit the state board of education's website of the state you're interested in to explore approved certification programs.
Once you have a good idea about what it is you want to teach, and where - you should next consider what you're looking for in a program. Are you interested in a UT, other university, nonprofit or privately run program? How much do you plan to spend on the program and how long do you have to dedicate to your certification? Here are a few questions to consider when reviewing the best program for you.
- What is the full cost of the program - what is included in the fee; will you need to pay for exams separately or are these fees included in the tuition; does the program offer paid teaching practica, scholarships, fellowships and/or financial aid?
- How long is the program - is it full-time; can you work while studying; how many months should you expect to dedicate to the program from start to fully certified?
- What is the success rate - what is the percent of students who start the program and successfully complete the program, and are certified?
- What is the placement rate - what is the percent of students who complete the program and are successfully hired in a teaching position; where are they teaching now; are they teaching in the grade/subject for which they studied?
- What are the grade levels and subjects offered by the program - will this program help you get certified for your ideal teaching job?
The Texas Board of Education has assessed and approved a large number of programs across the state. You can explore the full list of approved programs online, however below is a sample of programs from UT Austin and from Region 13 (Austin area).
- UTeach Liberal Arts: A professional middle and high school teacher preparation program for The University of Texas at Austin undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students planning to teach English, languages other than English, or social studies. Our four-semester program aims to transform secondary school teacher certification from the ground up with a balanced practical and theoretical approach to teacher preparation.
- UT College of Education Teacher Certification Program: A post-baccalaureate program offering early childhood to sixth grade, middle grades, secondary and all-level certification
- A+ Texas Teachers
- Austin Community College
- Educators of Excellence ACP
- Huston-Tillotson University
- Region 13 Education Service Center
- Southwestern University
- Texas Teaching Fellows
- Training via E-Learning: T.E.A.C.H.
Would you like to discuss your plans with a coach? Meet with a career coach to discuss your plans, goals and career objectives. Your coach can help you strategically approach your certification program application, compose a compelling resume and practice your interview skills. Set up an appointment with a career coach by calling 512-471-7900.