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30 minutes

Teacher prep program application requirements

Understand the requirements to apply for a teaching program.

So you want to apply to a teaching program—that’s great news!—and you’re figuring out what you need to enroll. 

When you apply, program staff will look at a few different pieces to make sure you’re eligible, including: 

  • Your academic history. 
  • Your related field experience (a.k.a. work experience). 
  • Your test scores (there may be ways around this one! More on that later). 
  • Your essay.
  • Letters of recommendation.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at each of these pieces.

If you have any questions about your teaching program applications, reach out to a TeachDFW coach or program admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.

Jump to:

Your academic history

When you submit your application, you’ll need to show your transcripts and any previous degrees.

What transcripts do I need?  

With your transcripts, teaching programs want to see your GPA and what courses you’ve already taken. That includes transcripts for any college classes you took in high school!

You may be able to upload unofficial transcripts for the initial application, but you will need to formally request your official transcripts before (or shortly after) you’re admitted.

To request your transcripts:

Contact the transcript office or records office of the schools you attended.

Follow their procedures to request your transcripts. You can often find the procedures on the school’s website, or try calling or emailing.

Budget at least three to five days for processing.

Some schools will send transcripts by mail; others may have electronic copies.

In your request, be sure to include:

  • Your name. If your name has changed since you attended school, be sure to let them know your name as it appeared when you attended the school.
  • Your student ID number, if you have it.
  • How many copies of your transcript you need.
  • Your signature.

Sometimes you’ll need to pay a fee to order an official transcript. Not to worry. TeachDFW offers up to $100 in fee reimbursements for this kind of expense. Visit our Fee Reimbursements page to learn more.

Do I need a degree?

You don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree when you start a teaching program, but you’ll need one before you can become a certified teacher. Many programs let you earn your bachelor’s and certification at the same time. To learn more, look at the statement below that best fits your situation.

Practical experience

In addition to your academic history, admissions staff will also look at your work experience so far, including any experience you’ve had working in education. 

What kind of experience do I need?

Most teaching programs will require you to have a certain amount of meaningful experience working in education. 

Ideally, you’ll already have experience working with the age group and subject area that you want to teach, but other education experience can work too. Maybe you’ve worked in an after-school program or as a classroom paraprofessional. Maybe you’ve been a camp counselor or an instructor for a weekend program, like Saturday school or Sunday school. Those all count! 

How much practical experience do I need?

The exact number of experience hours you’ll need will vary from program to program (45 is a common number of required hours). Ask your program about their specific requirements.  

Whatever your experience, you’ll want to highlight your achievements and responsibilities. Check out our resume guide and template for ideas and advice on creating a top-notch resume. 

Test scores

If you’re starting a bachelor’s degree along with your teaching certification, you may need to submit test scores, like the SAT or ACT, with your application. 

If you have a bachelor’s degree already, your teaching program may also require scores from the Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT). You can learn more about the PACT and Texas testing requirements in our testing guide

Do I really need to share test scores?

Not necessarily! Many programs have gone test-optional, or have opportunities to waive their testing requirement.

In order to skip testing, you’ll likely need to show certain coursework or a minimum GPA. You may also need to provide additional essay responses or letters of recommendation. Check with your specific program to see what alternatives to testing they accept. 

Even if you don’t think you qualify for test-waiving, you should still check. Program staff can help you identify courses that will satisfy their test waiver requirements. You won’t know unless you ask!

How do I get my test scores? 

Like your transcripts, you can usually submit unofficial copies of your scores with your application. 

To get your hands on official copies, head over to the testing website to order them. We’ve gathered the links to make it easier for you! 

If you’re taking the PACT, your scores will automatically get sent to your program.

Other application materials

Finally, you’ll probably need to submit an essay or personal statement and at least one letter of recommendation. 

If there’s anything in your academic or work history that you’re worried about, these can be good places to address those. 


In most applications, you’ll need to either write a personal statement about your interest in the program, or answer a series of essay-style questions. This is your chance to share a little more about your background and interests to show why you’re a good fit.

For many people, the essay can feel like the most stressful part of the application process. But there are resources to make it easier! 

Check out our essay guide for advice and a template to get started. 

Letters of recommendation

You’ll need to include at least one letter of recommendation from a former teacher or supervisor in your application. Letters of recommendation can show off your strengths in a way that’s hard to do for yourself.

To get a stellar letter of recommendation, it’s important to follow some basic asking etiquette. We’ve got you covered there too—take a look at our letter of rec guide and template for more.

International applicant requirements

If you earned your bachelor’s degree outside the U.S., you’ll probably need to provide additional paperwork to show that you’re ready for your program. Click on the statement that best fits you to learn more.

Want to keep exploring?

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Applications have a lot of steps, and we’re here to support you with all of them. 

Check out more FREE tools to simplify the process. 

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