Receiving teacher certification status in Texas is not just a simple matter of finishing a degree plan.
Students can either receive certification through enrollment in the university while working on their degree, or by attending an alternate program after completing their bachelor’s degree.
Those taking the university path must pass the Texas Examination for Educator Standards (TExES) and Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET), as well as other requirements. Those enrolled in the alternative program must pass the content version of the TExES test.
The Region Six Education Center is one location in the Huntsville area that offers an opportunity for Texas students to acquire a teacher certificate. The organization features the Teacher Preparation and Certification Program, which is accredited through the State Board for Educator Certification, the legal body responsible for setting educator certification standards in Texas.
TPCP specialist Joe Martin is one of the people responsible for coordinating the students enrolled in the program. The TPCP offers an alternate certification plan for students who are not seeking certification through the university route.
“The big difference between the university route and the alternative route is the students in the university are taking their undergraduate degree, whereas in the alternate certification programs, these are geared toward people who have already received a bachelor’s degree,” Martin said.
Students who seek the university route to certification must work as a student teacher in order to receive their degree, while students who take the alternate courses must have a teacher internship.
Both the student teacher program and teacher internship require students to work as teachers in a classroom. However, there are differences between the two programs.
“There’s a lot of similarities, since both students are closely supervised,” Martin said. “But the big difference is that if you’re in an alternate program, you are a teacher of record, so you are accountable for the class, and you’re paid like any teacher on campus.
“If you’re a student teacher, you have a supervising teacher assigned to you, and you are not paid,” Martin said.
The TPCP lasts about 17 months, and the latest group will be certified in May. Martin said 48 students will be graduating from the program, and that an average of 50 students become teachers each year through the program. Region Six currently covers 53 school districts and is one of 20 regions in Texas.
Students who wish to be certified through the university must have an overall grade point average of 2.5 and a GPA of 2.5 in their area of specialization as well.
SHSU Certification Officer Molly Doughtie added that they must also receive a 250 in math, a 250 in reading and a 240 in writing on the Texas Academic Skills Program test.
“Students must send in a copy of their original transcripts, TASP test results, a $15 fee if they’re graduating from Sam and $30 from elsewhere, and a short letter requesting evaluation based on specialization,” Doughtie said.
Doughtie said the specialization is based on which level of education the student is hoping to teach, such as elementary or secondary education, and also which subjects they wish to teach.
When all the proper information is received, Doughtie directs the student toward which classes in which he or she needs to enroll.
“At that time, they apply for class,” Doughtie said. “There is a one time $20 fee for graduate studies, then they fill out an application, a $30 fee for a criminal background check, and if they meet all requirements, they can be admitted.”
While enrolled in the program, the students must work as student teachers for two years on a deficiency plan. Since certification is a requirement to teach in Texas, student teachers must have a probationary teacher certificate from the SBEC in order to be in charge of a class.
Once the student has completed the program, they must take the Certification Examination on the SBEC Web site at http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/. Once the student has passed the test, he or she will become a certified teacher in the state of Texas.