How to Become a Computer Science Teacher in Texas
Are you aspiring to become a Computer Science (CS) teacher in Texas?
It is an excellent choice, as the state has many rewarding job opportunities for CS teachers. We have all witnessed the rapid growth in digital technologies in the past few years. That growth has led to an increasing demand for teachers and educators in computer science. So if you have a passion for technology and a desire to make a lasting impact on young minds, then a career as a CS teacher in Texas might be the perfect fit for you.
Of course, just like in other states, Texas also has some specific requirements and criteria you must fulfill to obtain a valid teacher certification and license. If you’re not too sure about the process of becoming a certified teacher in the state, we are here to help.
In this article, we will explain the complete process of becoming a CS teacher, from education qualifications to all the necessary certifications.
Steps to Becoming a CS Teacher in Texas
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to becoming a teacher in any field is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. You also need to major in a subject related to the field you wish to teach. That means that in order to become a CS teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a computer-related major, such as:
- Computer Science
- Information Technology/Information Systems
- Information Science
- Computer Engineering
Your university should also be accredited by an institution recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) or the US Department of Education. You can find more info about recognized accreditors here.
Step 2: Complete a TEA Approved Educator Preparation Program
Along with a bachelor’s degree, you must complete an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). These programs are conducted by various educational institutions and agencies. You can find a list of TEA-approved EPPs for computer science here.
EPP is specifically designed to prepare individuals for a teaching career by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to be effective educators in their chosen subjects. The curriculum of the program involves both coursework and practical fieldwork.
The coursework includes a variety of subjects, such as:
- Subject-specific pedagogy (computer science in this case)
- Teaching methodologies
- Classroom management
- Educational technology
- Assessment strategies
- Educational psychology
- Specialized teaching instructions for dyslexic students
The fieldwork includes student teaching and internship for some hands-on practical experience, usually carried out under the mentorship of a senior educator.
Completing this program will teach you the necessary foundational knowledge and practical skills to become a competent computer science teacher.
Step 3: Pass the Computer Certification Exam
The next requirement for aspiring computer science teachers is to pass two certification exams:
1. TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC-12 (PPR)
Exam Code: 160
Individuals who wish to obtain a teaching certificate in any subject must pass the TExES PPR exam. This exam assesses if you have the required skills and knowledge to become an efficient educator. It is a computer-administered test (CAT) that consists of 100 multiple-choice questions divided into four domains:
- Domain 1: Designing Instruction and Assessment to Promote Student Learning
- Domain 2: Creating a Positive, Productive Classroom Environment
- Domain 3: Implementing Effective, Responsive Instruction and Assessment
- Domain 4: Fulfilling Professional Roles and Responsibilities
You will have 5 hours to complete the examination and must score at least 240 to pass the exam.
2. TExES Computer Science 8-12
Exam Code: 241
This is another certification exam specifically required to become a CS teacher. This exam will test your skills and knowledge in computer science. It is also a computer-administered test with 100 multiple-choice questions divided into four domains:
- Domain 1: Technology Applications Core
- Domain 2: Program Design and Development
- Domain 3: Programming Language Topics
- Domain 4: Specialized Topics
Once again, you will have 5 hours to complete the exam and must score at least 240 to pass.
You can register for these certification exams on the official website of the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program.
Step 4: Submit a State Application
If you have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, have completed the educator training program for computer science, and passed both the TExES PRR (160) and TExES Computer Science 8-12 (241) exams, you will be eligible to submit an application for teacher certification to the TEA.
Consult your educator training program, and they will inform you if you’ve met all the criteria to qualify for teacher certification. If they give the green light, you must create an educator account on the Texas Education Agency Login (TEAL) portal. Then proceed to fill out and submit the online application. You will also have to submit the necessary documents to TEA, which mainly include the following:
- Education transcripts
- Bachelor’s degree certificate
- Verification of completing the educator training program
- Test results of both the TExES exams
Now you must wait for the TEA to review your application and documents.
Step 5: Fingerprint and Criminal Background Check
If the TEA approves your application, there’s only one last step to become a certified CS teacher. And that is to provide your fingerprint for a criminal background check. If your criminal record is clear, you will soon receive your teacher’s license and can begin your journey as a CS teacher in Texas.
What to Do After Being Certified? – Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
When you receive your initial teacher’s certification, remember that it will be valid for only five years. You will have to renew the certificate before it expires. However, the TEA has one criterion for renewal of teacher certificates: to complete a minimum of 150 CPE hours.
CPE stands for Continuing Professional Education, which refers to educational activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, and expertise of educators in their respective fields. These activities include attending seminars, workshops, conferences, or webinars, or completing online courses relevant to their profession.
So as a CS teacher, you will have to regularly participate in various professional development programs and activities that enhance and refine your knowledge in the field of computer science. This is not just a mandatory measure for renewing your certificate. It will also help you stay updated with new technologies and continuously grow and improve as a CS teacher.
Finding CS Teaching Jobs in Texas
After being certified as a CS teacher, you will be ready to find and apply for teaching jobs in Texas. Here are some effective tips that you can implement to help you get that dream job:
- Have a polished resume ready
Make sure to highlight all your certifications and any special expertise you possess in computer science. Also, list any skills or experience that can showcase your ability to deal with children and young learners.
- Play the numbers game
You may be eager to get a job in a particular school or institution, but you can’t just apply for one opening. The more places you apply to, the higher your chances of getting hired somewhere. Job portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are great platforms for finding jobs, including CS teacher vacancies. But we also recommend regularly checking the Texas Workforce Commission website for the latest job openings.
- Expand your network within the education community
Attend career fairs, education conferences and professional development events focused on computer science education. Connect with fellow educators, administrators, and professionals in the field. Join online communities or forums related to CS teaching to connect with others and gather insights.
The main process of becoming a certified CS teacher in Texas is pretty straightforward:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree with any computer-related major.
- Complete an educator preparation program.
- Pass the TExES PRR (160) and TExES Computer Science 8-12 (241) exams.
- Submit your teacher certification application to TEA.
- Complete criminal background check.
After certification, you must keep expanding your skills and knowledge by participating in various professional development programs and activities. This will also help you achieve the CPE hours needed to renew your teaching certification after five years. Finally, we also recommend that you visit the official TEA website for the most up-to-date information regarding the certification and licensing for CS teachers. Ready to begin? Apply to Teacher Builder for FREE to join a computer science certification program that is fast, efficient, flexible and fully online!
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.