06.26.2024

How to Become a Teacher in Houston: A Complete Guide

How to Become a Teacher in Houston: A Complete Guide

Dreaming of becoming a teacher in Houston? Great choice. Not only will you be making around $58,000 a year, but you will contribute to creating an educated society.

You can become a teacher in Houston straight out of college. But you need to clear a few tests and acquire relevant teaching certifications. In this article, learn the exact process you need to go through to become a teacher in Houston, Texas.

Educational Qualification to Becoming a Teacher in Houston

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The first step in becoming a teacher in Houston requires you to complete the formal education required by the Texas Education Agency or TEA. The exact requirement varies based on the subject and the age group you intend to teach.

At the bare minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in Texas. You need to major in the subject which you wish to take up as a teacher. Many aspiring teachers ask if a Diploma is sufficient to teach in Houston. The answer is no. Bachelor’s degree is the minimum qualification.

Likewise, a Master’s degree will not mandatorily help you get a job, especially in private charter schools. Moreover, a master’s degree can be helpful if you’re interested in pursuing leadership roles in education, such as becoming a school principal or curriculum coordinator.

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Houston

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Once you’ve fulfilled the formal education requirements, you can proceed to becoming a teacher in Houston. Here are the steps you need to proceed with:

1. Create a TEA account

The TEA uses an online portal to keep track of all applicants applying for teacher positions. It’s kind of like your teacher ID card in the digital world. However, the utility of the account goes beyond applying for teaching jobs. Your TEA account allows you to view your teaching certificates electronically. You can check if your certificates are active, their expiry dates, and any areas they cover (like specific grade levels or subjects).

Teaching certificates in Texas typically need to be renewed periodically. You can initiate the renewal process and manage your renewals through your TEA account.

Moreover, The TEA provides a wealth of resources for educators, including lesson plans, teaching standards, and professional development opportunities. Your TEA account might be your gateway to access these resources.

So, create a TEA account to get started.

 

2. Complete the Educator Preparation Program

A bachelor’s degree will equip you with subject matter knowledge. But you don’t know how to teach yet. So, TEA requires all aspiring teachers (except for those who already had it included in their bachelor’s degree program) to complete the Educator Preparation Program or EPP.

The Educator Preparation Program is your launchpad for a teaching career in Texas. It’s a program designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective educator, not just someone who knows their subject matter.

In the program, you’ll take courses on:

  • Instructional methods – These are various teaching strategies to cater to different learning styles and effectively deliver your subject matter.
  • Classroom management – Learn how to create a positive and productive learning environment for the students.
  • Curriculum development – Understand how to design and implement engaging lesson plans that align with state standards.
  • Technology integration – Explore effective ways to use technology for instruction and assessment.
  • Assessment and evaluation – Learn how to measure student learning and progress.
  • Special education – Gain knowledge on working with students with diverse needs.

There are two main ways to complete an EPP:

  • Traditional Route: This program is typically integrated into your bachelor’s degree in education (early childhood, elementary, or secondary education).
  • Alternative Certification Program (ACP): This option is for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education. Similar to TeacherBuilder.com, these programs are typically more intensive and may require additional coursework.

The length of an EPP program varies depending on the chosen route. Traditional routes are usually included in your 4-year bachelor’s degree, while ACPs can range from 1-2 years.

3. Complete Teacher’s Certification

The next step in becoming a teacher in Houston, TX, is completing the necessary certification exams. These exams are collectively known as Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) exams.

TExES exams assess your knowledge and skills specific to the grade level and subject area you aspire to teach. Also, they ensure that you have the necessary content expertise and pedagogical skills to be an effective educator.

The specific TExES exams you need depend on the age group and subject. For example, for Grade 6, you’ll take exams specific to early childhood or elementary education. These exams cover foundational skills in reading, math, science, social studies, and pedagogy.

There’s also the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) certification. This exam assesses your general teaching skills and knowledge of professional ethics for all high school teachers.

So check inside your TEA account for the exact teacher’s certification and complete them to proceed further.

4. Submit State Certification Application

Once you’ve gathered all the teaching certifications, you need to submit them for verification. This can be done in the TEA account you created earlier.

Once you have your TEA account, log in and navigate to the “Educator Certification” section. There, you will find a link to the online certification application system, often referred to as ECOS.

The ECOS application will guide you through various sections. Be prepared to provide details like your personal information, education background, EPP completion details, and TExES exam scores, among other details.

Before submitting, ensure all your information is accurate and complete to avoid rejection or delays. It may take up to 10 business days to process your application.

If you’re applying through an ACP (alternative certification program) after completing a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education, the process might involve additional steps specific to your ACP provider. Make sure to verify the application process with your chosen ACP program.

 

5. Pass a Background Check

The next step is a background check. More specifically, TEA will conduct a fingerprint-based criminal history background check to determine your suitability for teaching jobs.

You’ll be required to undergo fingerprinting at a designated IdentoGO or MorphoTrust location. These companies partner with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for this process. As you may know, your fingerprints are submitted electronically for a national criminal history check through the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You’ll typically pay a fee for the fingerprinting process, which is separate from the certification application fee.

If you do not have a record, you’re good to go. In other cases, you may have to go through additional steps as requested by TEA.

 

Search and Apply for Teacher’s Jobs

Kids on a lesson

After the background check and after you receive your official teaching certificate from the TEA, you’re eligible to apply for teaching jobs in Houston and throughout Texas.

Search on portals like Indeed and Monster and check for open positions. Submit your updated CV and a well-crafted cover letter. It may take some time to land a job, but you’ll surely find it sooner rather than later. The demand for teachers in the state is set to increase by 11% by 2028.

TeacherBuilder.com offers a TEA-approved Educator Preparation Program, offering you a swift, flexible, and budget-friendly online path to teaching certification. Best of luck on your exciting path to becoming an educator in Houston! Contact us today to learn more.

 

Disclaimer

This article does not contain legal, educational, or government advice. As regulations can change from time to time, readers are advised to check with their local education departments to receive up-to-date information.

Resources

Learn more about the tools you need to pass your teacher certification exam!

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