What is teacher certification and how do I get certified?
Teacher certification is a way to ensure that teachers have been trained and accredited as professionals in their field. To teach in a public school in the State of Texas you must hold a valid teaching certificate. To gain teacher certification in Texas you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
- You must complete teacher training through an approved teacher certification program.
- You must successfully pass the appropriate teacher certification tests for the subject and grade level you wish to teach.
For a list of approved programs and more information on teacher certification in Texas please visit the Texas Education Agency (TEA)
How does certification work at UT-Austin?
There are four colleges at UT-Austin that deal with teacher certification: The College of Education, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Natural Sciences. Each college offers different certification programs depending on grade levels and subject area of interest. A list of available certifications and the corresponding colleges are below:
The College of Education
The College of Fine Arts
- Early Childhood to Sixth Grade (EC-6) Generalist (elementary)
- EC-6 Generalist with Bilingual Education (elementary)
- Kinesiology (all level)
- Special Education (all levels)
The College of Liberal Arts
- Art (all level)
- Music (all level)
- Theatre Arts (all level)
The College of Natural Sciences
- English (middle and secondary levels)
- History (secondary level)
- Languages Other Than English (all level)
- Social Studies (middle and secondary level)
- Math (middle and secondary levels)
- Sciences (middle and secondary levels)
What is the UTeach-Liberal Arts program?
UTeach-Liberal Arts is a teacher preparation program designed for College of Liberal Arts students who wish to become certified for secondary education in a liberal arts field. UTeach-LA offers an Undergraduate program for UT-Austin undergraduates, as well as a Post-Baccalaureate program for those who have already received a bachelor’s degree.
Is UTeach-Liberal Arts a major or a minor?
UTeach-Liberal Arts is not a major or minor, but rather a teacher certification program you participate in as an undergraduate or post-bac student. While pursuing your bachelor’s degree in your chosen liberal arts major you will complete teacher preparation courses for the UTeach-LA program. Much of the UTeach-LA coursework can count towards your major and/or minor depending on the coursework you have already completed.
Do my certification field and major have to match?
Yes. Your certification field and major do have to match in order to participate in the UTeach-LA program. The UTeach program seeks to prepare teachers who are not only well versed in teaching strategies, but also in their subject field. The State of Texas offers a variety of certification fields at the middle and secondary school levels and the UTeach-LA program currently provides the most applicable certification fields for core liberal arts subjects.
|Liberal Arts Major
||Certification Field and Grade Level
||English 4-8 or 7-12
||English 4-8 or 7-12
||History 7-12, Social Studies 4-8 or 7-12
||Social Studies 7-12
||Social Studies 7-12
||Social Studies 7-12
|Asian Cultures and Languages – Chinese
|Asian Cultures and Languages – Japanese
|Spanish – Language Teaching
As a UTeach-Liberal Arts student, what can I minor in?
You can minor in almost anything just like all other liberal arts students, but most of our UTeach-LA students minor in Education. As part of the UTeach-LA program you are expected to take a variety of courses in pedagogy, educational psychology, curriculum and instruction and applied learning and development, which are all part of an education minor. As a liberal arts student you would have no problems accruing the 12 hours (6 lower-division and 6 upper-division) needed to complete the minor in education within the liberal arts degree plan.
How long is the program, how many additional hours will it take, and when should I start?
The program is a two-year (4 long semesters) program that takes you through a variety of pedagogy, development, and content area coursework. You must have four long semesters available in order to participate in our program. UTeach-LA can add as little as twenty-seven hours of coursework or as much as fifty-four hours depending on your major and certification field. You can start the program as early as the second semester of your freshman year or during your sophomore year. If you enter any later (junior or senior) you must be willing to stay for additional semesters to complete the program.
The program is a one-and-a-half year (3 long semesters) program that takes you through a variety of pedagogy, development and content area coursework. Some post-bac students elect to take two years to complete the program, which is acceptable. The program could be as few as twenty-seven hours or as much as fifty-four hours depending on your certification field. We admit post-bac students for both Fall and Spring semesters, so beginning the program depends on you and your needs.
What is the Post-Baccalaureate program?
The UTeach-LA Post-Baccalaureate program is a teacher certification program designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree. We work with students to certify them in a liberal arts field at a middle or secondary level. Our traditional post-bac program takes three long semesters to complete.
Will the Post-Bac program allow me to participate in a graduate program at the same time?
This depends on your graduate program. We have had a variety of students participate in graduate programs and UTeach-LA simultaneously and be very successful. You would have to work closely with your graduate advisor and UTeach-LA advisor to take the appropriate coursework in each semester.
I have a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in my certification field. Can I still participate in the UTeach-LA program?
Yes, you may participate as a post-baccalaureate student. A close examination of the postbac requirements for the certification field of your interest is necessary to ensure a timely completion of the program.
What does the program cost?
The program cost is the cost of undergraduate tuition at UT-Austin. For current tuition costs, please refer to the Tuition Dollars and Sense
section of the UT-Austin website.
Can I certify in more than one subject and/or grade level?
Yes. However most UT-Austin students participate in only one teacher certification program. Each certification program at UT has extensive coursework and requirements. For most students, participating in more than one program would be excessive. The State of Texas only requires that you participate in one approved certification program. After completing your chosen program and obtaining your initial certification, you will be eligible to take any other certification exam offered by the State. You can apply for additional exams through the State Board for Educator Certification. As long as you pass the exam(s), you will be certified in that additional subject and/or grade level. You do NOT need to complete an additional teacher-training program to obtain additional certifications. For more information on additional certifications see the Teacher Certification
page on the College of Education website.
Can I certify in ESL (English as a Second Language) through UTeach-Liberal Arts?
ESL is a supplemental certificate, which is added to an existing teacher certification. UT-Austin’s College of Education offers specific courses to help you prepare for the TExES exam in ESL. UTeach-LA students can participate in these ESL certification courses. For more information on these courses and the ESL supplemental certificate, please contact an advisor in the College of Education at (512) 471-3223. The UTeach-LA course UTL f320: Teaching English as a Second Language also covers most of the basic content that students would need in order to be prepared for the TExES exam in ESL.
Are there other certification programs available around the state?
Yes. UTeach-Liberal Arts is one of many approved teacher-training programs throughout the state. Specific coursework and requirements will vary per program. A complete list of Approved Programs
can be found at the State Board for Educator Certification website.
What if I want to teach in another state or country?
Each state within the US, and each country, has different requirements for teacher certification. Many states recognize other states’ certificates. However, depending on the state, additional exams, courses, and/or degrees may be required before certification is granted. Certification information for other states and countries can be found by contacting the education agency in the particular state or country you are researching. For educators wishing to certify in Texas who have already tested in another state, please review the comparable Out-of-State Tests
on the TEA website. For more information on state-by-state teacher certification within the US please visit the Certification Map
website. There are also various organizations and companies that independently train and prepare individuals to teach abroad. Certification is not always required. For more information on teaching English abroad please visit www.tefl.com