To teach in Texas, you must have a valid teaching certificate and renew it every five years. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), your educator license becomes inactive if you fail to renew it before the expiration date.
As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You should plan and ensure that you meet the requirements for certificate renewal before the expiration date.
Planning ahead helps you avoid last-minute rush and anxiety associated with the renewal process. It also allows you to take advantage of conferences, training, and other professional development opportunities presented during the renewal period.
This article delves into the requirements of renewing your teacher certificate in Texas, the costs, and all the relevant information and guidelines to guarantee your certificate renewal before the expiration date.
What Is Texas Teacher Certification?
The Texas Teacher Certification program is state-approved and trusted by teachers and school districts in preparing teachers for an initial teaching certificate. To qualify to enroll for a teacher certification program, you should have a baccalaureate degree and a GPA of at least 2.5.
The path to certification as a teacher in Texas involves the following steps:
- Enrolling in a teacher preparation program
- Undergoing a school internship
- Writing your teacher certification examination
- Getting certified and getting a job in teaching
The teacher certification process in Texas is similar to other states. To get licensed in Texas, you must complete an educator preparation program approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), including a teacher certification examination.
The Texas teachers’ examination evaluates the educators’ pedagogical and content area knowledge on the required tests for their certification.
Texas has two unique sets of examinations:
- The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES)
- Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT)
Once you have completed the teacher preparation program, you should send your application for certification to the Texas Education Agency using the online platform TEA Login (TEAL).
Other documents that you are required to attach include:
- All transcripts
- Evidence of completion of a teacher preparation program from a state-approved institution
- Passing scores for your teacher certification examination
- Evidence of background clearance and criminal history review
- Submission of your state application for certification
- Evidence of payment of the non-refundable processing fee
The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES)
The Texas Examination of Educator Standards(TExES) is a teacher examination in Texas meant to measure aspiring teachers’ knowledge and determine their teaching readiness using an established criterion.
TExES examines teachers in more than 60 specialties, including Core subjects: mathematics, computer science, health, physical science, and English language arts.
To teach in Texas, you must also take and pass one content examination. But getting certified in multiple specialties gives you a competitive advantage over other candidates.
Clusters of the TExES examinations are divided according to the grade level you intend to teach. For instance, if you want to teach at the elementary level, register to take the CORE subjects EC-6. The test at this level consists of 267 multiple-choice questions that range from Early Childhood to grade 6.
To be certified to teach at a middle school in Texas, register for the CORE Subjects 4-8 exam. The test has 200 multiple-choice questions aligned with grades 4-8 curriculum.
These TExES tests are computer-administered and begin with a 15 to 20-minute tutorial, after which each test lasts 5 hours.
You must score at least 240 points out of a maximum of 300 points on each test to record a passing score. TEA allows you to retake the test if you fail your first attempt. However, you have to wait for 45 days before your subsequent attempts. Prepare adequately to pass the tests on the first attempt, saving you time and money.
Also, you can register for your TExES examination online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Most TExES examinations, such as the Core Subjects EC-6 and Core Subjects 4-8, cost $116. Subtests, such as test codes 801-809, cost $58.
Also, once you have registered for a test, your registration is valid for only 170 days after the issue date, after which it expires without the option of a refund.
Renewing Texas Teacher’s Certification
Your standard educator certificate must be renewed every five years. The Texas Education Agency sends you a reminder for renewal on the email address in your educator account six months before the expiration date.
But even if a reminder is not sent, you must meet the renewal requirement failure to which your certificate becomes inactive.
Remember: TEA no longer mails paper certificates. You should be able to check the status of your virtual, official certificate on the TEA database. To locate your certificate, you should enter your first and last names. Your current and certificate history will be available by clicking on the link at the top of the certificate.
You must have continuing professional education (CPE) to renew your standard certificate.
You must have written documentation of all your Continuing Professional Education (CPE) activities to renew your certificate.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is the ongoing training that educators undertake to update their knowledge and skills in their teaching careers.
You are expected to take classes, attend workshops, or participate in other training to stay up-to-date with teaching practices and educational technology.
You must keep written documentation of your CPE activities, including the provider name, ID number, date, details of the CPE activity, and the number of clock hours claimed.
For classroom teachers:
- You must complete 150 CPE hours for renewal
- No more than 150 CPE hours are required even if you hold multiple classroom certificate areas
For educators who hold administrative and/or student services certificates:
- You must complete 200 CPE hours
- No more than 200 CPE hours are required even if you hold multiple certificates, such as classroom, administrative, and student services certificates.
Steps to Renewing Your Teacher’s Certification
You can easily apply for your standard teacher certificate renewal online. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for your certificate renewal:
1- Access your educator account by logging into your TEAL account.
2- Click View My Educator Certification Account in TEAL to log into your Educator Certification Online System (ECOS) account.
3- In ECOS, verify that your profile information is correct. Once confirmed, click Continue at the bottom of the page.
4- On the main menu list to the left, select Applications, Then click on Renew a Standard Certificate.
5- Submit the online renewal applications and pay the fee using the prompts.
To set up your TEAL and ECOS accounts, check on the ECOS for Educator page. If you need help accessing your existing TEAL account, submit a help desk request for account access.
Certification Renewal Costs
If you don’t renew your teaching certificate, it is placed in inactive status. To reinstate it, you will pay an additional fee of $40 and meet the CPE requirements for renewal.
If you have defaulted on your student loan and/or child support obligations, your teaching certificate will be revoked.
Once revoked, you must pay an additional $50 to reinstate it after making payments and fulfilling your CPE requirements.
Approved Topics for Certificate Renewal
The Texas Education Agency sets standards for beginning educators and continuing educator certificate renewal every five years.
These educator standards are based on the Texas essential knowledge and skills required for statewide public school curriculum. Continuing professional education is essential for your certificate renewal every five years.
The Texas Education Agency may revoke your teaching license if you fail to meet the CPE hours requirement. You receive CPE credit points for participating in specialized training in teaching, enhancing your skills and knowledge for better curriculum instruction and learner management.
Texas requires that at least 80% of your CPE hours for certificate renewal be directly linked with the certificate being renewed and focus on the standards required for issuing the certificate. Some of the approved content areas include:
- Content area knowledge: Math, humanities, history, business, English, and chemistry.
- Professional ethics: Such as Business ethics.
- Professional development: Child development, classroom management, diversity & special needs of student populations, technology integration into educational practices, ensuring that students read on or above grade level, diagnosing and removing obstacles to student achievement.
The Texas Education Agency requires that a classroom teacher must attain at least 37.5 hours of CPE training that directly relates to the following topics:
- Collecting and analyzing information aimed at improving your effectiveness in the classroom.
- Identifying early indicators in a learner at risk of dropping out of school.
- Integration of digital technology into educational activities.
- Inclusion, diversity, and special needs learner populations.
- Identification, diagnosis, and removal of obstacles to learner achievement.
- Child development.
- Understanding and maintaining healthy relationships and boundaries between educators and learners.
Other professional development activities that can earn you CPE hours for certificate renewal include:
- Suicide prevention training
- Enrolling in educational courses on technology that enhance your digital literacy and grow your skills in integrating digital technology.
How to Gain CPE Hours
Texas state expects all Texas teachers to embrace lifelong learning and participate in activities that promote their professional development. You should continually update your knowledge of content, best practices, research, and technological interactions relevant to your educator role.
Your continuing education activities should be related to the certificate you hope to renew, including the content area and skills, professional ethics, and standards of conduct.
Here are several ways you can gain CPE hours:
- Attend professional development activities such as workshops, conferences, and in-service or staff development sessions from an approved registered provider.
- Independently study content-area knowledge and skills within 10% of the required clock hours.
- You can undertake undergraduate and graduate coursework in an accredited institution of higher learning.
- You can provide professional guidance as a mentor to another educator, not to exceed 30% of the required clock hours.
For each CPE activity, keep written and verified documentation. The TEA Tracking Worksheet is very reliable in helping you track your CPE activities for professional development.
Although you won’t be expected to submit this with your renewal application, it is important to have it available if your certification records are chosen for an audit.
Status of Your Renewal Texas Teacher’s Certification
You must be in good standing for your certificate to be approved for renewal. The Texas Education Agency obtains information from other state agencies about your criminal history, student loans, and child support obligations.
According to the Texas Family Code, your certificate will be withdrawn if you are in child support arrears.
Also, you should not have defaulted on a guaranteed student loan as reported by the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation or a judgment debt for a student loan owed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (unless you have made repayment arrangements).
Once you have met all the requirements above, you will have a higher chance of having your teacher’s certification approved.
Renew Your Texas Teacher’s Certification
Your standard educator license in Texas must be renewed every five years, failure to which it is set to inactive.
The Texas Education Agency sends you a reminder on your email address six months before the expiration. Even without the reminder, you can check the status of your license on the Agency’s database by keying in your first and last names.
Plan well and ensure your certificate is renewed before the expiration date. Once it expires, you must pay an extra $40 to reinstate it.
To have your license renewed, you should also be in good standing since TEA will collaborate with other government agencies to check your criminal history, your student loan status, and your child’s upkeep payment status.
In case of arrears on the student loan or child upkeep default, you must pay an extra $50 for reinstatement after making payment arrangements.
Continuing Professional Education is also a requirement for your educator license renewal by TEA. You can attain CPE hours by attending workshops, taking classes, and participating in other workshops that keep your skills and knowledge in the teaching field current.
Planning well, attaining your CPE requirement, and organizing your renewal documentation are necessary.
If you’re approaching the renewal period for your Texas teacher certification, Teachers of Tomorrow will help you prepare and guide you through a seamless renewal of your teaching license.