How Do You Get SPED Certified in Texas?
You’ve come to the right place if you want to learn how to become a special education teacher in Texas.
Special education is increasingly gaining importance in the Texas academic landscape. As students with different learning abilities join mainstream classrooms, they need sincere personalized attention. To cater to special education needs across grades and age levels, aspiring teachers can take coursework and standardized tests. These lead to the special education certificate and you become licensed to teach.
Let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about the special education certificate:
How long does it take to get the special education certificate?
Preparing for the certification begins right at college. Usually, it takes four years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. The first step is acquiring an undergraduate degree in special education. This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to teach children with disabilities, autism, and related disorders. Here you will also learn about the disabilities themselves along with child development and early intervention among other things. Find a university that is recognized by state-approved accrediting bodies for your degree to be valid.
If you do not possess an undergraduate degree, find out colleges near you that offer one in special education. While you can still apply to an EPP in your final year, acceptance to the program is subject to your passing the degree course. In addition, you need a GPA of 2.5 to qualify. While most school districts are happy with a Bachelor’s degree, a few others mandate a Master’s with a focus on Special Education at either undergraduate or graduate levels.
If you are from outside Texas but want to teach in state schools, you need to submit copies of your academic credentials – certificates, transcripts, courses, and proof of professional experience, if applicable, to the Texas Education Agency.
The need for Special Education teachers is spiraling out of control with 1 in 8 children being diagnosed with learning or other disability. As of now, there are more than forty thousand Special Education teachers working in Texas schools.
How long does it take to get an Alternative Teaching Certificate in Texas?
Any graduate in special education or a related field is eligible to apply for an alternative teaching certificate. It usually takes 12 calendar months or 2 back-to-back semesters to finish. At present, close to fifty percent of all Texas teachers have received their licenses through the alternative certification route.
Throughout the course aspiring special educators are trained on special education models, organization of the classroom, cognitive developments of disabled students, assessment of disabilities and early intervention, teaching strategies, assisting autistic students to achieve academic goals, inclusiveness, creating a safe environment for disabled learners and so on. The Alternative Certification route makes an aspiring teacher aware of the theoretical as well as the practical aspect of teaching.
Aspiring teachers who ask how to become a special education teacher in Texas should definitely contact the nearest Program to discuss their enrollment eligibility. An EPP (Educator Preparation Program) is the mandatory next step if you are a university graduate. The EPP trains you to be a classroom teacher with a classroom teaching practicum. It also trains you for your licensing exam – TExES.
Is the TExES special ED test hard?
The text is not the most difficult of educator licensing exams but it is no walk in the park. There are 100 questions and 240 points are required to secure a Pass. You may write the test a total of 5 times. Your Program will help you understand the test pattern and make you aware of the question types. Some Programs help test takers get ahead of others through mock-ups.
So what is asked in the TExES Special Education?
All teaching aspirants have to take 2 tests – the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) and the Content Area Test. The TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility EC 12 is an online test and lasts for 5 hours. The second test, the TExES Special Education EC – 12, is specific for future special education teachers. There are 150 questions to be attempted within 5 hours and they test whether you are a right fit for a class of disabled children. There are four major areas of testing –
- how to identify and understand a child with disabilities
- how to help disabled learners achieve learning goals
- how to assist in their development
- what is the role of a special educator
After you pass these tests, you may be awarded the teaching certificate, provided you meet all the licensing requirements. If you have doubts about your eligibility, you should discuss with your Program to avoid last minute glitches. The final step is fingerprinting. As you secure a license, you are asked for a mandatory criminal background check. Post clearance, you are free to apply to Texas schools and teach your subject at your chosen grade level.
Sometimes it might get confusing as to which tests or certifications are the best fit for Special Education teachers and so enlisting the help of an approved EPP works to your advantage.
What can I teach with a special education certification in Texas?
By now you must have learned how to become a special education teacher in Texas. The only thing remaining is what you are expected to teach to students who need a special form of guidance.
- As a special educator, you are tasked with helping a special child adjust to a mainstream classroom and modifying teaching-learning materials to help them develop socially, cognitively, emotionally, and physically.
- Most Special education teachers incorporate sensory aids, a combination of audio-visual media, phonics, and drills to help disabled learners acquire learning better.
- You are also responsible for creating academic plans for each special child in your grade after due consultation with parents, subject teachers, counselors, social workers, and the school administration.
- As part of your professional responsibility, you are required to be patient, motivated, and reflective and maintain complete student records.
If you feel you have the necessary aptitude and drive to work with disabled learners, get in touch with the nearest EPP today.