To get certified to teach in Texas:
- Determine what you want to teach.
- Choose the right certification area.
- Review your pathway to certification.
- Get answers to frequently asked questions about teaching in Houston.
- Learn how to choose the right teaching program for you.
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 educator preparation program and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) before applying.
What Educator Certification Path Fits You?
If you know what you’d like to teach in school—the grade level and subject matter—your next steps are to:
Identify your teacher certification area (next section).
Select an educator preparation program that offers your desired certificate.
Apply to your educator preparation program to learn how to work with a student in school.
Not sure if you’re eligible for the Texas teaching course program you want are looking for? Check out our Teaching Program Application Requirements Guide to learn all about what you’ll need for your school program applications.
To narrow down which grade level and subject area to teach, consider state-designated shortage subjects, or a school that serves students from a low-income student community, where the need for educators 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 in the school campus.
What Texas Teacher Licenses Can I Earn?
Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select your certification area. We've compiled all of the Texas certification areas below.
You can earn additional certifications in different subjects throughout your teaching career in Texas. You don’t have to get all your certifications at once. (2)
In some cases, you may have multiple certification options to choose from. For example, if you are looking to teach older elementary or middle school students, you could get certified to teach either PK-6th grade or 4th-8th grade.
Teachers who get certified to teach in high-need subjects or who teach in high-need schools are also eligible for extra financial incentives and bonuses, such as student loan forgiveness programs and other financial aids.
To encourage top educators to take on some of the most crucial school teaching assignments, the federal and state government make student loan forgiveness programs available to those who teach in low-income areas or in critical shortage subject areas.
— Texas Education Agency (3)
Explore Texas Teacher Certification Options
To use this tool:
- Select the grade and subject you're interested in teaching, and the chart will update to show you what certifications you need.
- Hover to explore additional notes and details.
For additional information on educator certification options, and to see similar certifications grouped together, expand the tabs in the section below.
Future candidates should decide what preparation program is right for them by asking the most salient question: Does a particular course prepare future educators to meet the challenges of PK-12 classrooms and positively impact student achievement?
— American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (5)
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Texas
Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
Texas accepts degrees from a large number of colleges and universities, but you should confirm that yours is accredited by one of the Texas-approved accreditation agencies.
If you have a bachelor’s degree from outside of the U.S., your educator preparation program must decide that your degree is equivalent to a Texas accredited program. To meet this requirement, you may need to submit education documentation to a foreign credential evaluation service for review.
Graduate from an approved Texas teacher certification program
You can meet this requirement as part of your undergraduate coursework (for example, if you earn a bachelor's degree in education).
If you already have a bachelor's degree, you can attend a post-baccalaureate educator preparation program. This could be a master’s degree and certification, certification-only or an alternative certification program (also known as a residency). Learn more about teacher training programs at the TEACH for Houston About Programs page.
Ready to start looking for teaching programs? Browse undergraduate and post-baccalaureate teaching programs with TEACH for Houston Program Explorer. You can also check out the Texas Education Agency’s full database of all Texas-approved educator preparation programs.
Pass Texas certification exams
To get certified, you’ll have to pass one or more exams to evaluate your knowledge of teaching and your subject area. Depending on your teaching program, you may need to pass your subject area exam before you apply, or you might end up taking it after you enroll.
The TEACH for Houston's State Testing Guide can help you prepare for your teaching exams in Texas! Get information on what the exams cover, find out how to register and get study tools and tips.
Submit a state application
After you've graduated and passed your certification tests, it's time to formally apply for your teaching certificate. First confirm with your program that you are eligible to apply, and use any supports they can provide in the process.
Download the Texas Education Agency's instruction resource to create an account and apply for your teaching certificate through the online portal.
Complete fingerprinting for a criminal 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. (6)
You may have heard rumors about teacher pay, but Houston schools offer competitive starting salaries, plus comprehensive benefits for all educators. As a first-year teacher in Houston ISD, you’ll make at least $56,000 a year, and more with additional credentials like a master’s degree!
Learn more about Houston teaching certificate programs
Looking to keep exploring? The About Programs page has 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. Click below to take the next step.
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- Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers, Texas Education Agency.
- Additional Certifications, Texas Education Agency.
- Educator Initiatives, Texas Education Agency.
- Bilingual Education Certification Pathways, Texas Education Agency.
- Milton, Jessica, "How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program," American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, December 16, 2013,
- National Criminal History Checks-FAQs, Texas Education Agency.
- Gnedko-Berry, Natalya, "Exploring the potential of teacher residencies,” Institute of Educational Sciences, April 12, 2018.