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Get Certified to Teach in Texas
We can help you become a teacher in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Get Certified to Teach in Texas
We can help you become a teacher in Dallas-Fort Worth.

To get certified to teach in Texas:

Note: We do our best to keep all information updated, but because certification requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with your teacher preparation program and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) before applying.

Which statement fits you best?

In Texas, teachers are awarded certification that allows them to teach a specific set of grades and subjects.

If you know what you’d like to teach—the grade level and subject matter—your next steps are to:

  • Identify your certification area (next section).
  • Select a teacher preparation program that offers your desired certification area.
  • Apply to your teacher preparation program.

Note: Each certification area requires its own set of exams. Don't forget to keep an eye on their deadlines!

  • I already know what subject/grade I want to teach.

    If you know what you’d like to teach—the grade level and subject matter—your next steps are to:

    • Identify your certification area (next section).
    • Select a teacher preparation program that offers your desired certification area.
    • Apply to your teacher preparation program.

    Note: Each certification area requires its own set of exams. Don't forget to keep an eye on their deadlines!

  • I'm open to teaching different subjects and grades.

    If you're open to teaching different subject areas and grade levels, get a feel for what certifications are available by browsing the next section.

    Pro Tip: You can narrow down which grade levels and subject areas to teach by considering state-designated shortage subjects, or a school that serves students from a low-income community, where the need for teachers is greatest. Your employment prospects will be strong, since there’s extra demand for these subjects, and you'll know you're making a difference.

    According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), for the 2017-2018 school year, high-needs subject areas were:

    • Bilingual / English as a Second Language
    • Career & Technical Education
    • Computer Science / Technology Applications
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Special Education

Choosing a Certification Area

Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a certification area. We've compiled all of them below.

Pro Tip: You can obtain endorsement certifications in different subjects throughout your teaching career. You don’t have to get all your certifications at once.

In some cases, you may have multiple certification options to choose from. For example, if you want to teach fourth, fifth or sixth grade, you could get a certification for grades PK-6 and/or (b) a certification for grades 4-8.

These are the most common certification areas in Texas, per the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC):

  • Core Subjects and Generalist

    These certifications allow you to teach multiple subjects at the elementary and middle school levels.

    Certification Area Subjects
    Core Subjects: Early Childhood - Grade 6 • Art
    • English Language Arts / Reading
    • Health
    • Mathematics
    • Music
    • Physical Education
    • Science
    • Social Studies
    • Technology Applications
    • Theater
    Core Subjects: Grades 4-8 • English Language Arts / Reading
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Core Subjects (Single)

    This certification allows you to teach one or more single core subject area(s) at the middle school and high school levels.

    Subject Area Certification Area, (Grades) Subjects
    English Language Arts and Reading English Language Arts and Reading (7-12) All ELA/Reading courses, except journalism and speech
    Journalism (7-12) All journalism courses
    Speech (7-12) All speech courses
    Social Studies History (7-12) • All social studies courses (7-8)
    • All history courses (9-12)
    Social Studies (7-12) • All social studies courses (7-12)
    • All economics courses (9-12)
    Mathematics and Science Chemistry (7-12) • All science courses (7-8)
    • All chemistry courses (9-12)
    Life Sciences (7-12) • All science courses (7-8)
    • Biology, environmental systems, environmental science, and aquatic science courses (9-12)
    Mathematics (7-12) All mathematics courses
    Mathematics / Physical Science / Engineering (6-12) • All mathematics courses (6-12)
    • All science courses (6-8)
    • All physics and chemistry courses (9-12)
    Physical Sciences (6-12) • All science courses (7-8)
    • All physics and chemistry courses (9-12)
    Physics / Mathematics (7-12) • All mathematics courses (7-12)
    • All science courses (7-8)
    • All physics courses (9-12)
    Science (7-12) All science courses
  • Enrichment Subjects (Single)

    This certification allows you to teach a single enrichment subject area in pre-K through high school classrooms.

    Subject Area Certification Area, (Grades) Subjects
    Fine Arts Art (EC-12) All art curriculum
    Dance (6-12) All dance courses
    Music (EC-12) All music curriculum
      Theater (EC-12) • All theater curriculum (PK-12)
    • Musical theater (9-12)
    Health Health (EC-12) All health curriculum
    Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Junior ROTC (6-12) All Junior ROTC courses
    Note: Instructor certificate issued by a military branch also required.
    Languages other than English American Sign Language (EC-12) All courses in certified language
    Arabic (EC-12)
    Chinese (EC-12)
    French (EC-12)
    German (EC-12)
    Hindi (EC-12)
    Italian (EC-12)
    Japanese (EC-12)
    Korean (EC-12)
    Latin (EC-12)
    Portuguese (EC-12)
    Russian (EC-12)
    Spanish (EC-12)
    Turkish (EC-12)
    Urdu (EC-12)
    Vietnamese (EC-12)
    Physical Education Physical Education (EC-12) All physical education curriculum
    Technology Applications and Computer Science Computer Science (8-12) • Computer Science I, II and III (8-12)
    • Digital Forensics, Robotics Programming and Design, Fundamentals of Computer Science, Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles, Game Programming and Design, Mobile Application Development (9-12)
    Technology Applications (EC-12) All technology applications curriculum, except for Computer Science I and II
  • Academic Specialty

    In Texas, specialty teaching areas require “supplemental” certifications, meaning you must first get a “base” initial certificate for grade/subject area, and then complete additional coursework and/or testing to receive the supplemental certification. 

    Check with the programs you’re interested in to understand how they prepare teachers in these certification areas and to get additional details around timing and process.

    Subject Area Certification Area, (Grades) Subjects
    Bilingual Education Bilingual Supplemental Certificate Any bilingual or English as a Second Language program at the same grade levels and in the content area(s) of your base certificate.
    English as a Second Language English as a Second Language Supplemental Certificate • Any English as a Second Language program at the same grade levels and in the content area(s) of your base certificate.
    • The English component of a dual language immersion/one-way or two-way bilingual program model (PK-6).
    Gifted and Talented Education Gifted and Talented Supplemental Certificate Any Gifted and Talented program at the same grade levels and in the content area(s) of your base certificate.
    Special Education Special Education (EC-12) Any Special Education instructional program for eligible students aged 3-21. However, if providing content instruction in a special education setting, an additional valid certificate in that subject and grade level is also required.
    Special Education Supplemental Certificate Any Special Education instructional program at the same grade levels and in the content area(s) of your base certificate.
  • Career and Technical Education

    These certifications allow you to teach career and technical education subject areas at the middle school and high school levels.

    Subject Area Certification Area, (Grades) Subjects
    Career and Technical Education Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (6-12) All agricultural science and technology courses
    Business and Finance (6-12) All business and finance courses
    Family and Consumer Sciences, Composite (6-12) All family and consumer sciences courses
    Health Science (6-12) Health science courses in approved skill areas

    Note: 2 years of full-time paid experience and current licensure by a nationally recognized accrediting agency as a health sciences practitioner are required for this certification area.
    Hospitality, Nutrition, and Food Sciences (8-12) Culinary Arts, Food Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness, Retailing and e-tailing courses
    Human Development and Family Studies (8-12) Human Growth and Development, Human Services, Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness, Counseling and Mental Health, Dollars and Sense, Education and Training courses
    Marketing (6-12) All marketing courses

    Note: 2 years of full-time paid experience is also required for this certification area.
    Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (6-12) All science, technology, engineering, and math cluster courses
    Technology Education (6-12) All technology education courses
    Trade and Industrial Education (6-12) Trade and Industrial courses in approved skill area.

    Note: At least 2 years of full-time paid experience and passage of a recognized test or measurement in that occupational area are required for this certification. With 5 years' paid experience, a high school diploma may be sufficient.

Not a fan of hunting through text tables?

Try this viz on for size!

  • Select the grade(s) and/or subject(s) you're interested in teaching, and the chart will update to show you what certifications you need.
  • Hover to explore additional notes and details. 

Your Pathway to Teaching

With requirements under your belt, you're ready to start your journey to becoming a teacher in Texas. How long until you're in front of a classroom?
  1. Gain admission into an accredited university and earn a bachelor’s degree.

    Texas accepts degrees from a large number of universities, but you should confirm that yours is accredited by one of the Texas-approved accreditation agencies.

    Note: If you have a bachelor’s degree from outside of the U.S., it is possible to meet this requirement if the educator preparation program you apply to deems your degree from a foreign credential evaluation service equivalent to an accredited program.

  2. Gain admission into and graduate from an approved Texas teacher preparation program.

    You can meet this requirement either as part of your undergraduate coursework (e.g. earning a BA in Education) or by applying to and graduating from a post-baccalaureate educator preparation program after earning your BA degree.

    • See Choosing Your Training to learn more about these options.

    • Or, browse programs now with the DFW Program Explorer.

    • Already have your sights set on a specific program? Apply now using our checklist app to stay on top of deadlines.

    Note: Teacher preparation programs (TPPs) are also referred to as educator preparation programs (EPPs).

  3. Pass Texas certification exams.

    You’ll have to pass one or more exams that evaluate your knowledge of teaching and the subject area(s) you wish to teach. Depending on your education preparation pathway, passing this test might be an eligibility requirement to apply to a program, or you might end up taking it after enrolling. Tests usually cost $131 each, and you are allowed up to five attempts to pass.

    Pro Tip: You may see these exams referred to as the Pre-Admissions Content Test (PACT) and the Texas Examinations for Educator Standards (TExES), but they are exactly the same. The different names just refer to when you take the exam: If it’s prior to admission, it’s referred to as the PACT, but otherwise it’s called the TExES. See Texas Educator Certification Testing for more details.

  4. Submit a state application.

    After you meet the three requirements above, it’s time for you to formally apply for your teaching certificate. First confirm with your educator preparation program that you are eligible to apply and utilize any supports they can provide in the process.

    Pro Tip: Download this resource from the TEA for instructions on creating an account and applying through the online portal.

  5. Complete fingerprinting for a criminal background check.

    You are required to complete a fingerprint check for $49 (initial payment through the TEA online application portal), and any criminal history you have will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the TEA.

Start an Interactive Checklist

Now that you know the steps, use our free app to keep track of application deadlines and best practices.

Just select your program to get reminders and pointers.

Create Your Checklist

Additional Resources

Looking to dive a little deeper?
  • About Post-Graduate "Alt Cert"

    Dig into the details about the post-graduate alternative certification route. Learn More

    Learn More
  • About the Residency Model

    Read the National Center for Teacher Residencies's resource on the residency model in general, as well as residency programs available in Texas. Learn More

    Learn More
  • Texas-Approved TPP Database

    Access a full database from the Texas Education Agency of all Texas-approved teacher preparation programs. Explore

    Explore
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