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Traditional Certification Programs

Traditional Program Certification Pathway

There are over 75 colleges and universities across Texas that offer traditional certification programs. University Programs offer a route to teacher certification that simultaneously allows the teacher candidate to obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher.

How to Decide the Right Subject Area and Grade Level

Once you have determined that the Traditional Program route is right for you, you will need to consider which subject area and grade level you would like to teach. With over 50 certification areas to choose from, finding the right subject area might feel daunting for new teacher candidates. It’s important to choose the right subject area for yourself. If you are unsure of what subject area to teach in, we suggest looking at our resources on "How to Choose the Right Subject Area".

Not all subjects are taught in every preparation program, and your decision could also be compounded by geographic restrictions, school availability in your area, or subject needs in your local districts. Feel free to look at the Texas Education Agency’s dashboard to see if your subject matter is available in your location:

View TEA Subject Matter Availability by Location


There are many subject areas that are in high demand due to teacher shortages in those content areas. These shortages vary from district to district and could lead to elevated opportunities for teacher candidates when applying for their first teaching job. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Student Loans online tool helps find shortage areas in your district:

View Teach for Texas Shortage Areas

How to Enroll in an Educator Preparation Program

Once you know the subject area and grade level you would like to pursue for your certification, you are ready to find an Educator Preparation Program. The Texas Education Agency provides a dashboard that lists accredited Educator Preparation Programs. 

Every program will have different requirements for their students to obtain a teaching certificate. Many of these requirements are state-mandated, but some may reflect the standards of the university. We highly recommend choosing several programs to review and speaking with their program coordinator, so that you understand what is expected from you from start to finish.

Find an Educator Preparation Program

Review Commended Educator Preparation Programs

What to Expect from Your Traditional Program

When applying to a university for an education degree, you will need to apply to the specific college through which you will earn your bachelor’s degree as well as the Educator Preparation Program. Often you will need to be accepted in the university/college prior to applying to the Educator Preparation Program.

Degree requirements will vary with each university and subject matter. Be sure to speak with your Program Coordinator about degree requirements, as well as how they work with your Educator Preparation Program.

Your program will include at least 20 semester credit hours of coursework and training that will provide you with the necessary skills to manage your classroom as well as prepare and teach your lessons.

Clinical Teaching Experience

As part of your program requirements, you will be placed in a classroom to work alongside a lead teacher, who acts as a mentor throughout the duration of your Clinical Teaching. You can expect a minimum of 14 weeks in your residency as a Clinical Teacher, though there are many programs that extend this duration in order to further prepare teacher candidates for the classroom.

Prior to beginning your Clinical Teaching, you must complete 2 semester credit hours of field-based experience and 10 semester credit hours of coursework and/or training.

Most Traditional Programs will provide you with a teaching placement.

Clinical teachers are not employed by the district where they teach and do not usually receive a salary or benefits, nor do they require intern or probationary certificates.

Before taking any exams, your program must authorize you for registration.

You will need to pass the TExES content area test for your subject area(s).

You will also need to pass the edTPA performance-based assessment (during the 2020-2023 pilot) or the TExES pedagogical and professional responsibilities (PPR) exam. If you are unsure whether to choose the edTPA or the PPR, and your program offers either one to you, we recommend reviewing our resources on the edTPA pilot.

Once you have completed all the coursework, teaching experiences, and examination requirements as outlined in your certification plan, then you are ready to apply for a standard certificate. You will need to confirm with your program that you are ready, and once your program recommends you for certification, you will be able to apply online.

All Texas teachers are required to complete a criminal background check and fingerprinting.

Once the Texas Education Agency approves your application, you will be certified and eligible to teach in a Texas classroom!

Still not sure this is the right program pathway? Head back to step one to learn more about other options.

View Program Pathways