Texas Alternative Certification Programs
(found programs from 112 schools)
Like everything else in Texas, alternative certification is BIG. The state leads the nation in the number of certificates issued through alternative routes - over 13,000 in 2008-2009 alone, according to the National Center for Alternative Certification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reports that 40 percent of the state's new teachers enter classrooms through alternative routes.
The biggest hurdle on your way to alternative certification in Texas may be deciding which teacher preparation program to choose. The TEA lists dozens of state-approved, non-profit and for-profit Alternative Certification Programs (ACPs). Cost and requirements vary from one program to another. Many can be completed in one year. Some programs allow you to teach as a paid intern while others require you to complete an unpaid teacher practicum. All alternative certification candidates must have a bachelor's degree or higher to qualify. The TEAs website offers a live chat option with a certification expert to help you sort through your options.
The following are options in Texas' two largest cities:
ACT Houston is a private program with lots of flexibility that has been providing a fast track to teacher certification since 2003. Participants choose a preparation program - evenings or weekends - that best suits their schedule. They also complete 30 hours of field-based experiences. Finally, participants choose either a paid, two-semester teaching internship or an unpaid 14-week teaching practicum.
The San Antonio Teacher Orientation and Preparation Program (TOPP) is available through Education Service Center 20. The program consists of three cycles: content preparation, pre-employment and employment. The first cycle consists of content area and pedagogy courses. The second cycle includes summer training and online courses. In the employment cycle, participants complete an internship.
Learning Outcomes for Texas Alternative Teacher Certification Programs
As you work through an alternative certification program in Texas, you can plan on gaining a wide range of new teaching skills. Many programs stress the need to develop strong teacher-student communication skills and learn how to connect with students of varying needs and abilities. In addition, instructors may help you learn how to reflect on your teaching skills, assess your successes and shortcomings, and use this information to create a more effective learning environment throughout the year. To reach this goal, programs may require students to take in feedback from instructors and use it constructively.
Courses Focused on Making a Real Difference
Since curriculum development is a crucial part of any educator's career, a Texas alternative certification program will likely include curriculum creation strategies that future teachers can use to address different subjects and topics within the classroom. Part of building a strong alternative certification curriculum is understanding each class and the individual needs present within that class, which is why student assessment is an important skill that is addressed in quality programs. Assessment techniques taught may include presentations, written exams, verbal exams, and group projects. In addressing these learning outcomes, Texas teacher certification students may learn how to make a strong classroom environment that cultivates learning and mutual respect. The combination of all of these skills can help you prepare to pass the Texas Educator Certification exam.
Schools in Texas:
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