Frequently Asked Questions
- What steps do I need to take to become a teacher?
Your path to becoming a teacher is dependent upon a few factors: how sure you are that you want to be a teacher (it's okay if you’re not sure); how much and what type of education you have; what state you are in and what subject you want to teach.
By answering a few questions, you can receive a customized roadmap to becoming a teacher, made just for you and your current interest level and circumstances.
- Should I earn a master's degree?
In general, you should develop yourself professionally as much as you can. If you are looking to complete an educator preparation program, enrolling in one that culminates in a master's degree is a good idea because a master’s degree can sometimes enable you to earn a higher salary.
If you already have a professional license and are already teaching, you can still pursue a master's degree while teaching full-time (by taking classes at night and on the weekends).
Check out TEACH for Houston’s Programs page to learn more about the programs that award master's degrees.
- What are the professional teaching certification requirements in Texas?
In Texas, you’re required to have a bachelor's degree and a minimum number of units of college-level coursework in the subject area you plan to teach; complete a Texas-approved accredited educator preparation program (either as part of your undergraduate course work or through a post-baccalaureate EPP after earning your bachelor's degree); and pass Texas-required professional licensure exams (known as the PACT or TExES).
Visit Getting Certified to learn more.
- If I get a degree in one subject but want to teach another, can I?
The short answer is yes—as long as you can pass a state test in the content area you want to teach, you are likely eligible for a teacher preparation program and certification in that subject.
The longer answer depends on the amount of coursework and experience you have in the subject you want to teach.
You will typically show you’re eligible to teach a subject based on:
- Significant coursework in your subject. This usually means you have at least 15 undergraduate credits in your teaching field, even if you do not have a degree in that field.
- Passing scores on a content area assessment. In all cases, you must pass a rigorous test covering the content you want to teach before you receive a teaching certification.
If you do not have significant coursework in the subject you want to teach, you may still be eligible for many teacher preparation programs based on passing the content area test prior to applying for the program. During your program, you may need to take additional subject matter courses as well. Check out our Eligibility Guide for more information.
- What are the different types of educator preparation programs?
There are four primary pathways to certification:
- Undergraduate certification: Complete your educator preparation program as part of earning your bachelor’s degree, reducing total cost and time.
- Post-graduate, traditional certification: Complete your educator preparation program as part of earning a master's degree or choose to participate in a post-baccalaureate certification-only program.
- Post-graduate, alternative certification: A program that often allows you to start teaching (and earning a salary) as an “intern” on a probationary certification while you finish your post-graduate coursework.
- Post-graduate, residency model: A program that typically pairs a full-year classroom apprenticeship (where you work alongside a mentor teacher) with master’s degree coursework.
Learn more about educator preparation programs in Houston on the Programs page.
- How do I choose an educator preparation program that is right for me?
When choosing an educator preparation program, consider whether it gives you hands-on teaching experience, prepares you to work with a diverse population of students, offers mentorship and coaching, and is committed to continuous improvement. See the program considerations on the Programs page for more questions to ask when choosing a program.
- How do I afford an educator preparation program? What financial aid is available?
Since educator preparation programs range in price, you can choose the one that best fits your budget. You can also access grants, scholarships, loans and loan forgiveness programs.
- What kind of salary will I earn as a teacher?
If you’re looking for a comprehensive compensation package, teaching in Houston could be a good fit for you. You can earn up to $65,000, and some districts even offer financial assistance to teachers certified in shortage area subjects. Visit Salary & Benefits to learn more.
- Will I like teaching?
Many people find teaching to be the most fulfilling, rewarding job they could have. Researchers on career/job satisfaction find that people most thrive in jobs with autonomy, mastery and purpose, which you will find in abundance in teaching.
But teaching is not for everyone. If you want a job that is both creative and analytical, if you want a job that you can feel truly passionate about, if you have drive and curiosity to challenge yourself and grow, and if you have worked with children before and enjoy it, then these are great signs that you might be drawn to teaching.
To delve deeper into whether you would like teaching, find out more about what the job is like in Houston. You may also want to schedule an appointment for a 1-on-1 conversation with a current educator. You can also try out teaching by doing a summer internship or an extracurricular activity, or by taking an introductory course at your college campus.
- What is teaching like on a day-to-day basis?
Great question! Teaching is a complex act, which means that you do a wide variety of sophisticated things throughout your day and year. Read about 19 practices that are inherent in the work of teaching. Beyond that, the best way to learn more about teaching on a day-to-day basis is to sign up for Talk to a Teacher, where you get to have a 1-on-1 conversation with a current educator.
- How are schools changing and innovating? How is the job of teaching changing?
Schools are changing rapidly to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century. Our student population is more diverse; our world is globalizing; and technology and jobs are changing. Teachers are innovating to develop new curriculum, new teaching tools and techniques, and new ways for organizing and structuring the school-day. Check out the surprising ways teaching is changing in the 21st century to delve into these topics.
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