To teach in Texas, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate.
On this page, we’ll go over each step you’ll need to get there, plus answer some commonly asked questions about certification. Let’s dive in!
Are you certified to teach outside of Texas? Head to our FAQs for more information about your next steps.
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Texas
Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
Texas accepts degrees from many colleges and universities, but you should confirm that yours is regionally accredited. Ideally, your bachelor’s degree will be in a field closely related to the subject you want to teach. (If it’s not, that’s okay! Learn more in our FAQs).
Keep in mind that you can earn your bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate at the same time — so if you're an undergraduate, skip to Step 2.
Are you an international student or do you have a degree from outside the U.S.? You’ll need to provide some extra documentation. Learn more in our FAQs!
Decide what you want to teach, and choose the teaching certificate you want to earn
The teaching certificate you earn will depend on the subject and grade level you want to teach. At any level, getting certified in a shortage area provides more job opportunities.
Apply to teaching programs and enroll
Make sure to find a program that offers your chosen certification area! You can look for certification programs with the TeachDFW Program Explorer.
If you don’t have a bachelor's degree:
Many programs combine a teaching certificate with a bachelor’s degree, so you can get certified while you finish your undergraduate coursework.
If you have vocational experience, you may also be able to teach a Career & Technical Education subject without a degree. Check out our FAQs to learn more.
If you have a bachelor’s degree:
If you have a bachelor's degree, you can choose from a few different pathways, including:
- Certification-only programs
- Master's degree and certification programs
- Alternative certification programs (Learn more.)
Need a little support to prepare your teaching program applications? Our program application guide explains how to request transcripts, learn about testing, ask for a recommendation letter and more.
Wondering how to pay for your program? We can help! TeachDFW offers $1,000 scholarships for future educators. You can also find scholarships and financial resources through our Finances Guide and Financial Aid Explorer.
Pass Texas certification exams
As a future teacher, you’ll need to pass the TExES (a.k.a. Texas Examinations of Educator Standards). This test is meant to show you know your stuff well enough to teach it.
You’ll usually take the TExES around the time that you finish your teaching program. (Your program may need to give approval before you can take the test.)
Complete fingerprinting for a background check
Finally, to get your teaching certificate in Texas, you'll need to complete a fingerprint check for $49 (you can make the initial payment through your online application portal). The Texas Education Agency will evaluate any criminal history on a case-by-case basis. (2)
Submit a state application
Almost there! Once you’ve completed your teaching program and passed your exams, it’s time to formally apply for your teaching certificate.
How do I apply for my Texas teaching certificate?
First, confirm with your program that you’re eligible to apply for your certificate. Once you get confirmation, you’ll create an account through the Texas Education Agency’s online portal. Get instructions to create an account and apply for your certificate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about teaching certificate programs
Find more in-depth information on teaching certification pathways, including the types of programs available and how to evaluate whether a program is right for you.
Sign up for access to everything we offer, right from your dashboard.
- Learn about your certification options.
- Explore teacher training programs.
- Get support for teaching tests.
- Apply for financial aid.
- Chat with certification experts via live chat, small group sessions or 1-on-1 meetings.
It’s all FREE and brought to you by the Texas Education Agency and our statewide partners.
- Opper, Isaac M. “Teachers Matter: Understanding Teachers’ Impact on Student Achievement.” 2019 report. RAND Corporation. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR4312.html
- National Criminal History Checks - FAQs. Texas Education Agency. https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/investigations/national-criminal-history-checks-faqs
- Becoming a Classroom Teacher in Texas. Texas Education Agency. https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/certification/initial-certification/becoming-a-classroom-teacher-in-texas
- Educator Pay and Student Spending: How Does Your State Rank? National Education Association. April 26, 2022. https://www.nea.org/resource-library/educator-pay-and-student-spending-how-does-your-state-rank