Every Child Deserves a Champion – Find an EPP that Champions You

Find an EPP that Champions You

“Teaching and learning should bring joy. How powerful would our world be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks, who were not afraid to think, and who had a champion? Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be. Is this job tough? You betcha. Oh God, you betcha. But it is not impossible. We can do this. We’re educators. We’re born to make a difference.”

Dr. Rita F. Pierson (1951-2013), who spent forty years in various classroom and administrative roles in Texas beginning in 1972

When you’re considering transferring your past work experience or education into a rewarding career as one of Dr. Pierson’s education champions, you are often faced with the question: What do I do first?

Where to Start

Should you immediately try to secure a teaching position, or work toward your teaching certificate? When should you talk with an Educator Preparation Program (EPP)? What kind of preparation should you do on your own, and who can help? 

To further complicate the question, you may hear conflicting advice. Some say you can start teaching tomorrow; others might suggest that Texas is lowering expectations for teachers. A district might tell you to enter an alternative certification program to get a Statement of Eligibility (SOE). All of the conflicting advice could make the certification process feel tough or impossible.

Taking the First Step

As you consider taking the first step toward making that difference, the best place to go for advice is an Educator Preparation Program (EPP). In Texas Educator Preparation Programs are approved by SBEC to offer educator certification certificates. Through the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), the state holds all accredited EPPs to the same standards, and these programs’ knowledgeable staff members can guide you through the certification process. It is crucial to remember that the certification process is separate from the hiring process at a district.

Your ultimate goal, regardless of whether you are already teaching or beginning the certification process, is to gain your standard certification. The only way to do that is through an EPP. Once you are admitted into a program, you must then complete the requirements necessary for an SOE.

Next, you secure a teaching position where you teach for one year on your intern or probationary certificate. Only after completing a year in the classroom while teaching on the intern or probationary certificate can you receive your standard teaching certification.

5 Reasons to Start the Certification Process Early

One of the best pieces of advice a program can provide is to start the certification process in advance! Let’s explore five reasons why it’s important to start the certification process early:

  1. The admission process into an EPP can take time depending on your degree, transcripted hours, GPA, and admission screening. The process can take longer than getting hired at a district, as the TAC dictates an EPP’s admission requirements.
    • Important questions to ask a potential Educator Preparation Program: 
      • What does the application process look like?
      • When are the deadlines?
      • What is the schedule/timeline for certification?
  2. After admissions but before you have your certificate, you must pass specific content tests necessary for your certification. This could range from one to five tests, depending on the subject area. 
    • Important questions to ask a potential Educator Preparation Program: 
      • What specific tests will I need for my certification area?
      • Will you create a structured testing plan for me?
      • What happens if I am not successful on an exam?
  3. To gain test approval for a content test, you must receive preparation from the program and meet their testing criteria. 
    • Important questions to ask a potential Educator Preparation Program: 
      • What testing preparation do you provide? 
      • Is there an additional cost for preparation? 
      • What are your testing criteria for me to gain test approval?
  4. You must complete a minimum of 150 hours in coursework that allows you to demonstrate proficiency across instructional planning, instructional delivery, classroom management, and professionalism before you can begin your certificate.
    • An important question to ask a potential Educator Preparation Program: 
      • Is coursework online, hybrid, or face-to-face? 
    • Consider the type of learning environment that will best ensure you can learn and demonstrate the art and science of teaching.
  5. You must complete a minimum of 30 hours of field-based observations. This means time spent going into classrooms and observing certified teachers teaching, asking questions, and reflecting on the practices you observe. 
    • Important questions to ask a potential Educator Preparation Program: 
      • Do you organize field experience opportunities? 
      • How can I complete observation hours during the summer?

Continuing the Certification Process

The above list stresses the importance of starting the certification process early. This ensures that you have time to complete each and every step to prepare to begin teaching on your intern or probationary certificate.

As you continue to research the certification process, here are additional questions to ask a potential EPP:

  • What are the fees like while I am working towards my certificate and while teaching on my certificate? 
  • Do you offer any scholarships?
  • How will you support me in staying on track to meet the requirements?

Making the Transition to Teaching

If you are considering making the transition into teaching, we encourage you to ask questions, do your research, and find an Educator Preparation Program that can help you make a difference by being your champion through each step of the certification process. To reach a member of the Region 13 Education Services staff contact us at ecp@esc13.txed.net.

If you would like to learn more about the certification process and get a free copy of our Alternative Teacher Certification Checklist please visit our Step by Step Guide to Alternative Certification

There is additional information on our website or visit our blog for related articles.

Amy is the Coordinator for the Education Certification Program at ESC Region 13.


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  • Good afternoon. My name is Mabel González and I am currently working in a Child development Center as a Principal in Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. I have a Marketing degree from TEC DE MONTERREY and a Master´s degree in Psychopedagogy from the University of la Rioja (UNIR), I would like to know if I may be a candidate to be part of your teachers team and if so, what certification or course do I have to take?

    • Hello Mabel. Thank you for your comments!

      Some questions to consider are:
      1. Do you plan to relocate to Texas and if so when?
      You must complete a year teaching in a campus in Texas to gain your teaching certificate in Texas so determining where and when you plan to relocate would be helpful.
      2. What certification area you looking to become certified in? https://teach.esc13.net/path-to-certification/requirements
      Our classes are live here at the Region 13 ESC in Austin, we do have a few statewide programs but those are specifically for Career and Technical Education teachers and Accelerated Secondary teachers.

      Additional information for Out of State/Country can be found here: https://teach.esc13.net/frequently-asked-questions