How and Why to Become a Teacher in Texas

In this uncertain economy, many people are looking for a new career. College students carefully select majors that will make them more likely to secure a stable job upon graduation. Some degrees that in the past were quite lucrative are no longer in high demand, causing many people to re-evaluate their career choice.

Becoming a teacher in Texas offers many benefits. First of all, working with students and shaping tomorrow’s leaders is very rewarding in itself. Teachers take pride in their work and know they are making a difference in their students’ lives. In addition, their schedule is more family friendly than most careers and includes more days off than a typical job.

As far as compensation goes, the average teacher salary in Texas is $56,116 per year as of August 27, 2023. The Texas Workforce Commission has predicted teaching to be one of the fastest growing jobs in the next five to ten years. Recent data also indicates that the unemployment rate for new teachers is significantly lower than the overall unemployment rate. With more students enrolled in Texas schools, the demand for teachers continues to rise. In addition to a competitive salary, teachers also receive health care benefits, and can make additional money by earning a master’s degree, teaching in a critical needs area that offers a stipend, or securing a coaching position that includes a stipend. Teaching summer school is another option to make some additional income.

In Texas, the path to becoming a teacher is not as complex as one might think. Of course, there is the traditional route that many students follow by earning their degree in education and completing student teaching, passing their exams, and fulfilling all requirements. For people that already have a degree, going back to college to earn an education degree is usually not appealing. Fortunately, alternative certification programs offer people a convenient option to become certified teachers. Candidates for alternative certification must have a four year (bachelor’s) degree, or be in their last semester of college, in order to enroll in an educator preparation program. While enrolled in an educator preparation program, they do coursework, observation hours, and pass their state exams. After completing all requirements, including their field experience (either their one year teaching job or 14 week clinical teaching assignment), they earn their Standard Certificate. This is the same certificate college students earn after completing their education degree, passing their exams, and completing their student teaching assignment.

Alternative certification appeals to so many people because instead of taking years to complete, candidates can be certified in as little as one or two semesters. There are even online programs allowing you to complete your curriculum requirements from the convenience and comfort of your own home. Recent reports indicate that approximately one third of all new teachers hired in Texas completed an alternative certification program. This demonstrates that districts often hire candidates from various backgrounds, and do not solely focus on applicants with a degree in education. In fact, alternative certification candidates can offer real world experience in various careers and backgrounds that often teachers who took the traditional route cannot. Considering the benefits of teaching and the relative ease of transitioning to the career, it is easy to understand why alternative certification is popular in Texas.