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Teacher Certification For English Students

Students taking upper-level English courses who wish to seek teacher certification have several options:

  • You can earn certification while pursuing your undergraduate degree.
  • You can earn your degree first and then seek certification through an alternative certification program (ACP).
  • You can earn certification while seeking a master’s degree that includes an alternative certification track.

First, what are the basic requirements for becoming a teacher in Texas?

  • You must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Texas institutions do not offer a degree in education. Every teacher must have an academic major, as well as teacher training courses. The only exemption from the degree requirement is for individuals seeking Career and Technology certification to teach certain courses, such as welding or computer-aided drafting.
  • You must complete teacher training through an approved program. These programs are offered through colleges and universities, school districts, regional service centers, community colleges, and other entities.
  • You must successfully complete the appropriate teacher certification tests for the subject and grade level you wish to teach. For a list of the certification tests and information on which tests are required, click here.

How do you choose the teacher training program that is best for you?

Programs for those who do not yet have a college degree.
Colleges and universities offer programs for training teachers. You will receive a degree in an academic major, as well as the training you would need to be an effective teacher. For a list of colleges and universities that offer teacher training as part of an undergraduate degree program, click here.

Programs for those who already have a college degree (alternative certification and post-baccalaureate programs).
These programs, which include accelerated routes into teaching, offer training on how to be an effective teacher, as well as additional courses you might need in the subject area you wish to teach. Many of these programs can be completed in a year, during which time you may have a paid teaching position in a public school classroom. For a list of these programs, click here.

What are some local options for earning your teaching certification?

The Master of Arts in Teaching at UHD

The UHD Department of Urban Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching that includes teacher certification. For information on this degree, its requirements, and application for admission, consult the department website:

Alternative Certification

Various Alternative Certification Programs (ACP) exist in the Houston area. The UHD Department of Urban Education has such a program, as does Houston Independent School District (HISD), other local school districts, and the Region IV Office of the Texas Education Agency. Other ACP programs can be found housed at community colleges and private (for profit) agencies.

The typical ACP enrolls students with bachelor’s degrees and offers them several months of instruction before they are placed in a classroom. ACP students teach for one year, under supervision, and are eligible to take an examination at the end of that year to earn their teacher certification.

Here are some websites with further information on Alternative Certification:

UHD Urban Education

Houston ISD

Education Service Center, Region IV

What resources are available to help you pay for a teacher training program?

Listed below are programs and grants that are specifically designed to help individuals become teachers. Click on the program for additional information.

  • Teach for Texas - Texas offers loan repayment assistance to help teachers if those individuals agree to teach in Texas public schools for a specified period of time.
  • Certified Educational Aide Exemption Program - Texas offers tuition exemptions for some educational aides seeking to become certified teachers.
  • Teach for America - This program offers cash awards that can be applied to past student loans or future educational costs for recent college graduates who commit to teaching in urban and rural public schools for two years.
  • Troops to Teachers - This program offers guidance and support for military veterans who wish to make the transition from active duty into the teaching profession.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness - The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act, signed into law last year, authorizes up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for eligible, highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers. To be eligible, teachers (with no outstanding loan balances before Oct.1, 1998, and who have borrowed before Oct. 1, 2005) must be highly qualified, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act; must have taught full-time, for five consecutive years, in a Title I school; and must have taught secondary math or science or elementary or secondary special education to students with disabilities.
  • Grow-your-own programs - High school students interested in teaching should contact their school district. Some Texas school districts offer "grow-your-own" programs that provide financial aid to students who agree to return to their school district as teachers after graduation from college.
  • Other financial aid - The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board administers a variety of grants for attending college. You may also qualify for other financial aid, student loans, or scholarships. Contact the teacher training program you wish to attend for additional information.
  • G.I. Bill Benefits - for test fees - The Texas Workforce Commission has approved SBEC under the provisions of Section 3689, Title 38, United States Code to allow veterans and other eligible persons to receive reimbursement for the cost of certification tests. This approval has been made effective, retroactively, as of March 1, 2001. The veteran or other eligible person must submit two forms to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Office, in Muskogee, OK. The two forms are: Application for Licensing and Certification Testing Fee Reimbursement (LACAS 1 Adobe Acrobat Reader Download Link Graphic) and either the VA Form 22-1990—Application for VA Education Benefits (for Veterans) or VA Form 22-5490—Application for Survivor's and Dependents Educational Assistance. For additional information or to obtain these forms, contact the Texas Workforce Commission Veterans Education office at (512) 463-3168 or at
  • G.I. Bill Benefits - for preparation program costs/fees - Veterans Education Benefits (GI Bill) can be used for both university and alternative teacher certification programs. The program must request and receive approval from the Texas Workforce Commission Veterans Affairs Office in order for veterans to receive benefits while participating in a certification program. Once approved, the program will assign a staff person to process the required forms to request VA funding. The amount of money paid to eligible veterans will vary, depending on the type of GI Bill that they have and the type of program in which they are participating. If veterans have remaining GI Bill eligibility, they should ask the program director or university VA office for details on applying for benefits.

What level of certification will I need?

  • If you intend to teach elementary school language arts, your certification will be as an E-4 (early childhood to fourth grade).
  • If you are aiming at the upper grades of elementary school or at middle school, your certification will be as a Generalist or a 4-8 Single Subject Specialist in English Language Arts and Reading.
  • If you intend to teach secondary school, your certification will be as a Specialist 8-12 in English Language Arts and Reading.
  • Further discussion of the criteria for teaching certificates in Texas is available at the website of the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC):

    For further information on teacher certification in Texas, see the website of the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC):


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    Last updated or reviewed on 7/15/11

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