Texas Teachers of Tomorrow is the largest alternative certification program in Texas and is 100% online and self-paced. They started in 2005, and since then, they've helped more than 70,000 teachers get into the classroom. They offer five different enrollment paths and even offer a 14-week Fast Track to certification option. They offer many services to their enrolled candidates, such as:
Online Study Community
Additionally, they work closely with districts to ensure their enrolled and qualified candidates are at the top of the hiring pile. They are fully accredited by AAQEP and have a 74% retention rate, a 95% candidate enrollment rate, and 93% of candidates are hired in less than one year. Development support is also available to update skills throughout a career. The enrollment cost is $295, and the program price is $4,350 (only due once hired on a full-time teacher's salary), making it one of the more affordable options. Texas Teachers is a great program, and we believe it is the best for teacher certification. Bonus: Teachers of Tomorrow candidates receive a discount on all teacher preparation exams from The Learning Liaisons and Teachers of Today!
Founded in 2001, ECAP is a family-owned ACP with a well-known reputation in Texas. They have an online program with an in-person option that’s recognized among districts in Texas, which gives candidates more freedom in the certification path they take. They also have options for people who don’t hold a university degree, such as people working in the automotive industry, cosmetology, or culinary arts. This helps potential teachers of all kinds get on track to getting their dream teaching jobs. They also offer resources like downloadable guides, resume templates, and job fair promotions for districts. They have a $250 enrollment fee and a $4,250 program fee, which brings the total cost to $4,500. This is also a smaller program so you might have a limited network when it comes time to get hired. Overall, this program is well-rounded and offers candidates great tools they need to get certified!
Founded in 2001, ECAP is a family-owned ACP with a well-known reputation in Texas. They have an online program with an in-person option that's recognized among districts in Texas, which gives candidates more freedom in the certification path they take. They also have options for people who don't hold a university degree, such as people working in the automotive industry, cosmetology, or culinary arts. This helps potential teachers of all kinds get on track to getting their dream teaching jobs.
They also offer resources like downloadable guides, resume templates, and job fair promotions for districts. They have a $250 enrollment fee and a $4,250 program fee, which brings the total cost to $4,500. This is also a smaller program, so you might have a limited network when it comes time to get hired. Overall, this program is well-rounded and offers candidates the tools they need to get certified!
TeachWorthy is trusted to provide passionate, high-caliber teachers. TeachWorthy is focused only in Texas and has recently rebranded itself to focus on demonstrating subject matter knowledge. As a smaller ACP in Texas, there's strong customer service but not as many resources or district connections as the others!
This program offers one payment option. The enrollment fee is $195, with a total program cost of $4,155. This might not be ideal for you if you need help finding a job, but they have great customer service. TeachWorthy is a good choice if you need a lot of support.
Urban Teachers was founded in 2009 in Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland, and they expanded to Dallas, Texas in 2016. They started out to serve the highest-need districts in the nation and since then, they have certified over 1,900 teachers across the three states. The overall program is rigorous. The candidates receive a master’s degree from the John Hopkins School of Education while also becoming certified to teach at the same time. The program takes about three years and the candidates are provided continuous support throughout the program. This is great if you’re wanting to get a graduate degree while also being in the classroom.
However, there are some downsides. One of these downsides is that this program is extremely selective. Urban Teachers accept only about 30% of their applicants because they want to make sure they produce the most qualified teachers. The other downside is that while they do offer some financial aid options, this is the most expensive program on our list with their tuition coming in at $45,000 with $495 in exam fees for certification. This can be a lot of time and money spent when you could be in the classroom faster and with more money in your pockets while doing another program. Overall, this program has a lot of benefits and if the idea of a master’s degree and a teaching certification excites you, then it’s a great match! But if you’re not looking to pay university tuition, this is not the program for you.
iteachTEXAS is the partly online ACP in Texas. Founded in 2003, iteach has expanded to a few other states in the United States. It's a self-paced, online program, and they have some resources such as a resume builder and program catalogs per state. They communicate mostly via email, which is not always ideal.
The company was just recently purchased, which may change the customer service. This program offers two different payment options. If you choose to pay monthly, the enrollment fee is $99, with a monthly fee of $99, which adds up to a total of $4,000. This is not highly recommended as you have to pay upfront. If you choose to opt out of monthly payments, the enrollment fee is $250, with a total program cost of $4,500.
The University of Houston-Victoria has long offered the traditional route to teaching. However, they also have programs for those with a bachelor's degree that is not in education who want to teach.
Their Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification requires a $30 service fee upfront and begins with an internship or student-teaching experience. The exact coursework will be determined by specialization, but there is a minimum of 12 semester hours to complete.
Specializations are numerous, including:
Early childhood-6th grade core subjects
4th-8th grade core subjects
Special Education certificate, early childhood – 12th grade
English, 7-12 grade
Mathematics, 7-12 grade
Science, 7-12 grade
UHV's tuition is 212.94 per credit hour. The second option is the Victoria Online Initial Certification for Educators (VOICE). The online program allows candidates the option of student teaching or working for a year in a teaching internship. The format allows for accelerated certification, depending on your pace.
Certification options include:
Early childhood-grade 6, core subjects
Grades 4-8, core subjects
Grades 7-12 in one subject (math, science, history, or English)
Early childhood-12 in Physical Education or Spanish
Candidates who can complete VOICE within 3 semesters pay $3,750 for the program.
South Texas Transition to Teaching is located in McAllen and is the only teacher preparation program physically located in the southern portion of the state. Its most popular certification is in Core Subjects EC-6, followed by Special Education EC-12.
Their 2023 enrollment fee is $325 and includes two sessions for the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR EC-12) preparation class. It is $300 for two sessions per content preparation class. The internship fee is not charged until the candidate is hired, although specific prices are only quoted over the phone.
The pre-internship requirements can be done at a candidate's own pace. Once the internship has begun, the candidate has one year to complete the additional coursework and pass the necessary exams. Extensions can be given, but the second year costs $2,050 and $2,550 for the third. However, most candidates report completing the program in a year.
Candidates often report affordability as their reason for choosing the program, typically spending between $1,000 to $4,000. However, the services provided are limited.
Lone Star College has an Alternative Teacher Program for those who already have their bachelor's in addition to the traditional route. The coursework takes five to six months and is followed by a yearlong internship or a semester of clinical teaching.
The internship requires candidates to secure a teaching position where they will be supervised through the ATC Program. The advantage of this route is that candidates are paid with full benefits for their in-classroom work.
Clinical teaching is faster, taking only a semester, making it one of the shortest routes to becoming certified. Candidates are matched with a mentor and their classroom and have the support of an LSC-ATCP supervisor. The disadvantage of this route is that it is unpaid and too time-intensive to work another job while undergoing the training.
Lone Star's fees are by credit hours. In-district only pay $103 per hour, out-of-district Texas residents pay $231, and $290 for those out-of-state. A typical year's tuition and fees for 12 credit hours costs $1,236 for those living in-district. Thus, it's an affordable option for those meeting in-district requirements.
Lone Star has 7 locations throughout the state. They also have an online school that offers teacher certification tracks for those who can't attend in-person classes or need a flexible schedule.
Teach US Texas is a flexible, online certification program that is broken up into 10 blocks. The coursework is typically completed in 3-4 months. Your fieldwork can be completed in three ways:
14-week full-day clinical teaching
28-week half-day clinical teaching
The program certification areas include:
Core subjects EC-6
Core subjects 4-8
English Language Arts and Reading 7-12
Application is free, but there is a $295 enrollment fee. Tuition is $4,995, in addition to the enrollment fee. There are various flexible payment plans. However, there is a 25% discount for those who can pay in full.
Web-Centric Alternative Certification Program (WCACP) was founded in 2005, and its program is entirely online. The application process is free; you'll find out if you qualify within 24 hours.
The initial costs for the program are only $149, and you work your way through the curriculum at your own pace through your private portal. Study material is also available for preparing for the content exams.
The remaining $3,750 is only due once candidates begin their internship/field experience. Thus, the advantage of this program is that if candidates realize teaching is not for them while doing the coursework, they're out of pocket for under 150 bucks.
They have two field experience options for certification. The first is their fast-track option: a 14-week non-paid teaching internship in a classroom.
The longer route is the 1-year internship, where candidates find a post and work for a whole year, paid. Candidates must secure the position on their own and will have to undergo the same application and interview process as a qualified teacher.
While the online coursework is flexible and can be done at your own pace, it is focused on getting your certificate. The program is not geared towards job-hunting, such as resume reviews, interview tips, or job fairs.
How to Choose the Right Teacher Certification Program in Texas?
The classes required to become a teacher differ between states and what grade and subjects you wish to teach. Not every teacher preparation program offers the full breadth of the subject areas taught in Texas. So, if you know what you want to teach, ensure the teacher preparation program fits your goal.
Candidates uncertain about which grade and subject they want to teach might want to consider choosing an area where Texas is experiencing a shortage. The TEA keeps a list of all declared shortage areas.
Cost and Pricing
Cost and pricing vary widely across teacher certification programs. Some are affordable, and others can leave you with a burdensome debt.
In addition, the programs offer different pricing plans. Some, such as Texas Teacher of Tomorrow, only charge an enrollment fee to begin the coursework and unlock access to teacher resources. The program fees are not charged until a candidate has secured a teaching position and is working. However, not all follow this model.
Lastly, look out for hidden fees, such as charging to apply.
Teacher certification programs operate on different philosophies and ethos. Ensure the one you choose fits your life. Some will demand in-person attendance to classes and seminars and are run on a set schedule. Others, such as Texas Teachers of Tomorrow, offer online courses and webinars that can be done at your own pace at a time that works for you.
Preparation and Support
Teacher certification programs do not offer the same level of preparation and support. Consider how well the program is equipped to serve its candidates throughout the entire process, including the course work, testing preparation, resume building, interview advice, job hunting tools, networking, and mentoring and coaching while doing your fieldwork.