How best might I get certified to teach in Texas?
May 25, 2005 6:00 PM   Subscribe

I already have my BA and I am investigating my options for getting my teacher certification in Texas. Either a local program in Houston or a long-distance learning program would be fine. I've been looking at the programs where you take night/weekend classes and either teach full-time or sub during the day, for example ACT Houston and ITEACH Texas. Can anyone vouch for these kinds of programs? I can't figure out what this one actually does.
posted by Elagabalus to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Well, it printed more on the main page than I had intended. Sorry if that is a breach of Meta-etiquette. The instructions on the posting screen are messed up, I think.
posted by Elagabalus at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2005

How to become a teacher in Texas: ... Programs for those who already have a college degree --> see this page
posted by fourstar at 6:50 PM on May 25, 2005

I've looked there already. That's where I found the above-mentioned programs. There seems to be a wide variety of alternatives, from the traditional to the sort-of-sketchy. I suppose these alternative programs are as valid as any other or else the TEA wouldn't list them on their page. But everyone I know who is certified did it the good old-fashioned way with the student-teaching and all that. Anyone done one of the "alternative" programs before?
posted by Elagabalus at 9:15 PM on May 25, 2005

My boyfriend here in Houston is getting his certification through HISD, and seems pleased with it.
posted by emyd at 9:24 PM on May 25, 2005

I became certified the traditional way in Texas just last year, and there were many times I wished I had done alternate certification. (Especially since my old uni recently developed a completely online program for those seeking secondary certification. Also, all the people with nothing but BAs seemed to be grabbing the few local teaching jobs left while those of us who "played by the rules" were stuck throwing our apps everywhere.) But if nothing else, working while student teaching absolutely sucks.

That said, keep in mind that alternate certification can cut down your out-of-state job options. I'm currently teaching in Las Vegas, possibly the most desperate district in the country (certainly one of the fastest growing), and they stilll won't hire you for most subjects if you didn't go through traditional student teaching.

Also, some countries (Australia springs to mind) will not consider those who received alternate certification.

So, if you ever plan on leaving Texas, you might think about this. (Not that some TX districts aren't biased against non-traditionals, too.) Otherwise, I don't know much about the programs mentioned - only that these limits/prejudices definitely exist and seem to be downplayed by those who push the alternate programs.
posted by Liffey at 11:37 PM on May 25, 2005

I asked a related question a year ago. In that thread, alphanerd recommended alternative certification as something that worked for him:

To do it you'll need to take the Praxis II in the area that you want to teach, and it looks like in Ohio you may need to take two education classes. It can be a pain in the neck, but your M.A., your previous teaching experience, and your work in the corporate world will probably make you enticing to school districts and it's pretty secure after you get tenure.

My sister is also trying to get alternative certification here in Ohio. She's struggling with the Praxis exam, but keeping at it. I ended up staying in the corporate game, mostly because I don't think my (now expanded) family could survive on a teacher's salary.
posted by Otis at 5:27 AM on May 26, 2005

Maybe I am missing something, but as mentioned in one of the above links...why not Teach for America? They have programs in Houston and Rio Grande Valley.
posted by crapulent at 8:47 AM on May 26, 2005

I did TFA in Houston, and it was a great way to become a teacher. It is definitely a more extensive program than ACP or other emergency certifications, but worth looking into. You go to Summer Institute (teacher bootcamp) and have a cohort of peers and staff members support. It's definitely more than job training. There's a huge social component. After two years, you get $9,450 for pay back student loans or put toward further educatin. You go through ACP, with some variations, and are certified along with everyone else. The application process is competive and long and must be started a year in advance, and there's no guarantee that you'll be placed in Houston (but if you make a pretty good case, you shouldn't have a problem).

ACP through HISD is a good option, as is Region Four (which allows you to teach in HISD and in the surronding districts). I've known people who've gone through both.

Another option would be to look at the better charter schools like YES, KIPP. Most charter schools are pretty mismanaged and terrible, but these two are tops. They provide a better working (and learning) environment than HISD schools and do not require certification.

I was a teacher in Houston, and know many teachers in Houston. Feel free to e-mail me (in profile) if you have any questions.
posted by lalalana at 10:11 AM on May 26, 2005

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