Over 320,000 teachers work in public schools across this southwestern state, according to the Texas Education Agency. If you're a Texas native or a transplant to the region considering the ranks of public and private educators at the elementary level, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. During your undergraduate education, fulfilling all of the state's requirements for soon-to-be licensed teachers is a must.
Certification as an elementary educator in the state of Texas requires teachers to complete at least a bachelor's degree at an approved college or university. The Texas Education Agency maintains a list of approved Texas Educator Preparation Programs for future grade school-level teachers to choose from. Completing a state-approved program is a top requirement for Texas teachers to earn the professional certification that is an absolute for working in all public, and most private, schools.
At the bachelor's level you'll need to get a Pre-K through grade six generalist certification to teach all of the elementary school grades. If you have a more specific interest in one content area, you may also opt for a bachelor's degree in teaching the middle grades four through eight. While this degree technically provides teachers with the certification to work in middle schools, fourth and fifth -- and in some cases, sixth -- grade teachers also work in elementary educational environments. Unlike the Pre-K through sixth grade generalist, the fourth through eight grade designation allows educators to teach specific courses, with certifications in language arts and social studies or math and science.
Your future students aren't the only ones who have to sit for classroom instruction. getting a bachelor's degree in elementary education in Texas means passing classes in areas relating to developmental studies, human learning, teaching and grade-level content. For example, Texas A&M's Pre-K through grade six certification degree includes courses in child development, professional teacher development and subject content areas such as reading, mathematics and social studies. Likewise, the University of Texas requires early childhood through grade six education students to complete courses in development-oriented areas as well as teaching specific subjects such as math or social studies.
All elementary education majors, in approved Texas certification programs, must complete student teaching or field experience requirements. For example, the Texas A&M Pre-K through sixth grade generalist program requires students to go through three levels of direct practice experience courses. The first level includes engaging in assistant types of duties during a junior field experience course. Following this field work, students must take a senior methods hands-on course. This experience allows students to work with and assist a teacher in a real classroom, helping to teach classes. For the final piece of the fieldwork puzzle, pre-service teachers take a more active role in teaching and evaluating students in the elementary classroom.
- Texas Education Agency: Teachers
- Texas Education Agency: Educator Certification
- Educator Certification Online System: Approved Programs
- Texas A&M University: Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, Undergraduate Degree Programs
- University of Texas: Early Childhood - 6th Grade Generalist w/ ESL Major
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.