Becoming a Teacher in Texas

Things to Know about Becoming a Teacher in Texas

Are you thinking about becoming a teacher in Texas? Below is some information we want to be sure you have as you consider this exciting and rewarding career path. 

Teacher Certification

Teacher certifications, or licenses, are essential credentials that educators must hold in order to teach in American public schools. Initial certification is the process of getting a license to be a teacher in a K-12 classroom. The grades and subject areas educators are licensed to teach are tied to the type of certification you earn (e.g. elementary, 4-8th grade content specific, 7-12th grade content specific). Advanced certification refers an additional license to be a specialist in a school (reading specialist, librarian, principal). 

In order to become a certified teacher in Texas, you must: 

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Complete a TEA approved educator preparation program.
  3. Pass required certification exams including the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) exam and all certification related content exams. 
  4. Submit a Texas state certification application after all certification requirements are met.
  5. Complete fingerprinting as part of a national criminal background check.

To explore the initial certification areas and requirements in Texas, visit TEA's Initial Certification website, especially information about Becoming a Classroom Teacher in Texas.  

Common Texas Teaching Acronyms

Texas Education Agency (TEA)

Texas Education Agency (TEA) oversees education in state of Texas including certification and standards for students, teachers. Visit the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website to find out more information about TEA and Teaching in Texas.

Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs)

Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) are programs approved by TEA to prepare and recommend educators for initial and advanced licensure. EPPs provide various paths to certification. Visit the TEA Educator Preparation website for information about choosing an EPP to ensure the program of your choice is in good accreditation standing with TEAperformance indicators of EPPs; and to view the Educator Preparation Data dashboards.   

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do. The State Board of Education (SBOE) has legislative authority to adopt the TEKS for each subject of the required curriculum. Find out more on the TEA Curriculum Standards website.  

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)

The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) is the state annual student assessment program designed to measure the extent to which students have learned and are able to apply the knowledge and skills in the TEKS. 

Annual assessments are conducted in the following grades and subjects: 

  • reading and mathematics, grades 3–8
  • writing at grades 4 and 7 (no longer administered as of 2021-2022)
  • science at grades 5 and 8
  • social studies at grade 8
  • end-of-course (EOC) assessments for English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology and U.S History.

Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS)

Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) is designed to provide constant, formative feedback to educators to support them in improving their practice. Find out more about the T-TESS rubric domains, process, and guidelines on the T-TESS website or the TEA Educator Evaluation and Support System website

T-TESS includes three components: 

  • Goal-setting and professional development plan
  • Evaluation cycle (including: pre-conference, observation, post-conference)
  • Student growth measures

Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS)

Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS) is designed to help principals improve as instructional leaders and support their professional growth. Find out more about the T-PESS rubric domains, process, and guidelines on the T-PESS website or the TEA Educator Evaluation and Support System website

T-PESS focuses on four priorities: 

  • Personify continuous growth and improvement
  • Guide self-reflection
  • Inform professional development
  • Improve leadership qualities

Requirements and Responsibilities for Becoming a Texas Teacher

Content Knowledge

Content Knowledge - refers to the body of information that teachers teach and that students are expected to learn in a given subject or content area, such as English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies. Content knowledge generally refers to the facts, concepts, theories, and principles that are taught and learned, rather than to related skills—such as reading, writing, or researching—that students also learn in academic courses. 

Adhere to Approved Educator Standards 

Adhere to Approved Educator Standards -The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) creates standards for beginning educators. These standards are focused upon the TEKS. They reflect current research on the developmental stages and needs of children from Early Childhood (EC) through Grade 12. 

Abide by the Texas Educators' Code of Ethics 

Abide by the Texas Educators' Code of Ethics  - these are the rules for standard practices and ethical conduct toward students, professional colleagues, school officials, parents, and members of the community. 

Additional Trainings Required for Educator Certification

Additional Trainings Required for Educator Certification - Texas Administrative Code requires a person seeking an initial certificate receive instruction regarding mental health, substance abuse, and youth suicide as part of the training required to obtain that certificate. 

Criminal History and Issuance of Standard Certification

Does A Criminal History Prevent Me from Being Certified?

Possibly.  It depends on the type of offense and seriousness of the crime. Review the TEA FAQs

Can I Request a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation?

If you have reason to believe that you may be ineligible for educator certification due to a conviction or deferred adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor offense, you may request a Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation by TEA.

Understanding Educator Work Opportunities and Salaries. 

Teacher Supply and Demand

The ability to work as an educator in a specific grade level and content area is often impacted by current teacher supply and demand, most often referred to as teacher shortages, which focuses on areas of need. The U.S Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage View Report shows past and projected teacher shortage information to help you plan for being marketable at the conclusion of your certification program. 

Region 4 Jobs

Texas is divided into 20 Regional Education Service Centers (ESCs). The Houston/Galveston area is in Region 4, and includes these surrounding school districts. Visit the Region 4 District Jobs page,  TEA's Education Service Center Information website, or your preferred school district website to find current educator job opportunities across Texas. District salaries scales may be found on individual district sites. 



  • College of Education Office of Educator Certification

    Phone: 281-283-3618

  • College of Education Advising Center

    Phone: 281-283-3600

    Bayou Building 1231
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 188
    Houston, TX 77058-1002