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How to Become a Teacher in Houston

Wondering how to get certified to teach in Houston? Bookmark this page or download the full PDF Guide.

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To get certified to teach in Texas:

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?

To become an educator in Texas, you'll earn a teaching certificate that lets you teach a specific set of grades and subjects in the academic field. To find the right teacher certification pathway for you, choose the statement below that fits you best.

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 Certifications 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

Ready to find your Texas teacher certification area? This search tool can help.

A screenshot of the Texas Teaching Certification Areas tool shows some of the certification areas available for Texas teachers (Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; American Sign Language; Arabic; and Art), as well as the grades each certification covers.

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.

Find Your Certification Area

More Information on Texas Teacher Certification Areas

Use this section for more in-depth information on certification requirements, and to see specific certification areas and the subjects they cover.

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

Once you've decided on your teaching certification area, you're ready to start your journey to become an educator in Texas.
  1. 1

    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.

    Paying for your program can feel like a lot. That's where our financial aid guide comes in: get our favorite tips to find grants, scholarships, loan forgiveness opportunities and other strategies to cover your costs.

  2. 2

    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

    Need a little support to prepare your teaching program applications? Our teacher prep program application guide has all the info you need to ace your exams, request your transcripts, write a top-notch essay and more.

    TEACH Houston can help you reduce your teaching program application costs! We’ll reimburse up to $100 for any expenses required for you to apply to a teaching program (like application fees, transcript fees and more). Get the details on our Fee Reimbursements page.

  3. 3

    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. 

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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!

People Also Ask...

Learn more about Houston teaching certificate programs

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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.

Create a Free Account

Sign up for access to everything we offer, right from your dashboard.

  1. Learn about your certification options.
  2. Explore teacher training programs.
  3. Get support for teaching tests.
  4. Apply for financial aid.
  5. 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.

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  1. Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers, Texas Education Agency. 
  2. Additional Certifications, Texas Education Agency. 
  3. Educator Initiatives, Texas Education Agency. 
  4. Bilingual Education Certification Pathways, Texas Education Agency.  
  5. Milton, Jessica, "How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program," American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, December 16, 2013,
  6. National Criminal History Checks-FAQs, Texas Education Agency.
  7. Gnedko-Berry, Natalya, "Exploring the potential of teacher residencies,” Institute of Educational Sciences, April 12, 2018.