We have organized frequently asked questions by topic. Click on each section below to reveal the questions and answers.
What is the difference between going through an alternative certification program and a traditional University program?
- Alternative certification is a route to teacher certification that was approved in the 1980’s. There are two important ways that it is different from a traditional university based teacher certification program. One important difference is that alternative certification is a post-baccalaureate program. This means that everyone who participates in an alternative certification program already has earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a university.
Another important difference is that alternative certification uses a field based model for teacher preparation. This means that instead of completing a semester of student teaching as is done in a university program, teacher interns in an alternative certification program teach as a full time teacher of record for a full school year under their program’s supervision. During this school year, teacher interns are provided with additional training and are observed regularly in their classroom and given individual feedback. The job of the program is to support the new teacher during the first year of teaching and to assure that the knowledge provided in class sessions translates into skills in the school classroom.
Is my certificate different if I go through an alternative certification program?
- No, you will earn the same standard teaching certificate that teachers going through a traditional program earn. Alternative certification is an alternative route to certification, not a different type of certification.
Do principals really hire people who go through an alternative certification program?
- Yes, over half of current Texas teachers are certified through alternative routes to certification.
How do I know if Region 13 is the right program for me?
- Choosing a certification program is a big decision. We urge you to do your research and ask lots of questions. You should compare training times, online vs. face to face, fees, classroom support, and many other topics. You can use the information on our website and our Comparison Chart to find out more about our programs. A recorded information session is also available for view at any time.
Are the requirements different for each of the programs?
- While some requirements are common across all of our programs, please see our Comparison Chart to find out any unique program requirements.
Do I need to have a specific number of hours of coursework in a certain content to qualify for the program? What if I don’t have the required number of hours in my content area? Can I still apply?
- In general, our program requires interns applying for a single content area (most secondary areas) to have a total of 24 college hours in that content with at least 12 of those hours being upper division (junior or senior level). For generalist certifications or special education, a more general content background is required. Please see our certification requirements documents for each certification area.
- We occasionally accept interns with less than 24 hours in their content area but there must be an overriding factor (such as previous experience working with students) for this to be allowed. If an applicant does not have the required coursework hours, he or she may submit a passing score on a TExES Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) in their certification area in lieu of transcript hours. For test information, visit http://www.tx.nesinc.com/Home.aspx and register for the PACT Test:
Is there a grade point average (GPA) requirement for this program? Am I automatically excluded if I don’t meet this requirement?
- The GPA requirement for our program is 2.5 overall. If an applicant does not meet this requirement, he or she may also qualify with a GPA of 2.75 in the last 60 hours of coursework.
***Please Note: Due to recent changes in the Texas Administrative Code, any applicant who does not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement (either overall or in the last 60 hours) must provide a passing score on a TExES Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) in the area of teaching certification to be considered for admission.
If I haven’t graduated with my degree at this time, may I still submit an application and be considered for this program?
- Applicants may submit an online application; however, applicants will not be eligible for program admission unless all entry requirements are met. In some instances, candidates may be conditionally admitted while they are completing coursework to obtain their bachelor’s degree. A written letter of request for conditional admission must be submitted to the program office following the submission of the online application. Candidates who are conditionally admitted, and who do not complete the requirements, are not eligible for a refund of initial program fees and will be required to exit the program at that time.
Are there any technology requirements for program participation?
- Yes, the ECP integrates technology into the preparation program both for communication and course delivery. Some instruction is delivered via the Internet. All program participants must own or have daily access to a personal computer, printer and Internet connection.
- Minimum system requirements:
- Multimedia PC with any high-speed connection (e.g. Cable Broadband or DSL)
- Windows Vista or higher; 800 MHz processor, or better; 512 MB RAM; Monitor resolution at 1024 x 768; 500 MB or greater of free hard disk space; 24-bit sound card; 4 MB VRAM with True Color (24-bit or 32-bit)
- MacOS X 10.3 Panther; 800 MHz processor, or better; 512 MB of RAM; Monitor resolution at 1024 x 768; 500 MB or greater of free hard disk space; 24-bit sound card Virtual memory turned on and allocated to at least 128 MB
- Browser Plug-ins: Most recent versions of Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and QuickTime
- Web browsers: Most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Chrome
- Microsoft Office 2007 or higher
What do I do if my transcripts are from a country outside the U.S.?
- All transcripts from universities outside of the United States must have an official U.S. evaluation showing degree and grade equivalency. Contact Foreign Credentials Service of America at 512-459-8428 about foreign transcript evaluations. Applicants with a degree from outside of the United States must take the TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scoring a minimum of 24- Speaking; 22- Listening; 22- Reading and 21- Writing. If you have a degree from a country where English is the official language, a TOEFL score is NOT required. See approved list.
Note: when registering for the TOEFL, please choose the Region 13 Institution Code - B271
How do I know which Region 13 program to apply to?
- Please use our Comparison Chart to note differences between programs. This will help you in making your decision. Please note that not all certification areas are included in every program
How do I apply to the Region 13 Educator Certification Program?
- The Region 13 ECP uses an online application process. The application process can be initiated from the Application page for each ECP program on the website.
Is there an application deadline?
- Yes, please refer to the chart on each individual program's Application page for details on dates and requirements.
Do I have to submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities that I have attended?
Yes, SBEC/TEA rules require that we have an official copy of ALL transcripts from ALL colleges or universities that you have attended. Even if you have a graduate degree, we must have official copies of all of your undergraduate transcripts.
What meets the requirement for an “official transcript”? Can it be an electronic transcript?
- A paper copy of an official transcript must be received by the ECP office in an unopened envelope sealed by the university or college.
- If the university or college uses an electronic transcript system such as Transcripts Network or eSCRIP-SAFE, this would be acceptable. The university must send an email with login or download instructions for the transcript to the ECP registrar. Login or download instructions should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
If I’ve taken the Praxis exam, do I still have to take the TExES exam for certification?
- You may submit a Praxis exam score to take the place of any missing coursework hours for your certification area. The Praxis exam may be used for program admission only. You will still have to take and pass the appropriate TExES exam in order to earn your Texas certification.
Once I complete the application process and meet the academic requirements, am I automatically enrolled in the program?
- No, submitting an application begins the process of admission to the ECP. Applications and transcripts will be reviewed for eligibility. All candidate information is reviewed and selections are made based on program capacity and strength of the candidate in relation to the pool of other applicants. Please refer to the individual program's Application page for details on requirements.
When will I be notified if I am accepted into the program?
- Notification letters will be emailed to all applicants to let them know of their acceptance status. Please see the chart on the Application page for each program for notification dates.
What is the Limited Admission Cycle?
- The Limited Admission Cycle is additional application cycle that will open in January based on program needs for additional teachers in selected certification areas. Certification areas that will open for this cycle will be determined after the fall application cycle closes.
How is the Limited Admission Cycle different from the fall cycle?
- For this cycle, applicants will not begin the program in time to participate in the full facilitated online content courses (depending on content area) that applicants who are accepted in the fall application cycle participate in. Instead, applicants who miss the fall application cycle deadline and begin the program during the Limited Admission Cycle may be asked to provide a passing score on the TExES content exam appropriate to their area of certification as a requirement for admission. Accepted applicants in this cycle will begin the face-to-face pedagogy classes in mid-May. Classes for Limited Admission Cycle candidates will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturdays. The purpose of the Limited Admission Cycle is to provide additional time for interested participants to be admitted to the ECP to be ready to teach for the coming school year and to provide the ECP with additional qualified candidates to meet hiring needs of local school districts.
Can I be certified in two different content areas at the same time? Can I add a second area later?
- You will need to choose a single content certification area for your initial certification year. Once you have earned your standard certificate, you may add additional certification areas through testing in most cases.
What if I currently or have ever been the subject of an arrest that has resulted in deferred adjudication, probation or conviction?
- The Texas Education Agency rule requires that every individual applying to a Texas certification program be subject to a criminal record check. Submission of an application authorizes the Region 13, Educator Certification Program (ECP) to obtain any existing criminal history records pertaining to you, the applicant. Failure to disclose information may result in dismissal from the program.
During the internship, am I paid a salary?
- Yes, once accepted into the ECP, and hired by a school district, interns are paid a first-year teacher's salary. As with any employment, it is the employee's responsibility to inquire with the employing school district as to salary and benefits. Interns are considered a teacher of record and an employee of the school district. As such, interns are subject to all rules and responsibilities as outlined in local school board policy. Once interns earn their certification, the internship year counts as their first year of service.
When will I begin receiving my salary?
- Teachers, in general, are paid on a monthly basis on the last working day of the month. Check your hiring district for details
What kind of salary can I expect to earn?
- All school districts pay a minimum state base salary. Please check with individual districts about their respective salary scales and benefit packages.
Is there financial aid available for the programs?
- A variety of financial aid options are available to ECP interns, including scholarships for select certification areas. The following is a list of those options.
- Scholarships for Specific Certification Areas. The ECP anticipates there will be scholarship funds available for specific certification areas such as those classified as Critical Needs Areas, to offset a portion of the program costs during the internship year. Individual programs offer different scholarship amounts, so please refer to the individual program's Fees page for details.
- College Access Loan Program: The College Access Loan Program provides alternative educational loans to Texas students enrolled in an alternative certification program who are unable to meet the cost of attendance. The CAL may be used to cover part or all of the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC); students do not have to demonstrate financial need. This loan program is part of the Hinson-Hazlewood College Student Loan Program administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) More information.
- A+ Federal Credit Union: This credit union offers a low-interest loan that can be used to help defray the cost of the certification process. Students do not have to demonstrate financial need. Download the brochure or visit A+ online.
- Troops to Teachers: This federally funded program is designed to assist military personnel and veterans transition to a new career as public school teachers in "high-needs" schools and districts. Through a network of national, state, and regional offices, participants receive guidance and counseling in various routes and programs leading to teacher certification. In some cases, Troops to Teachers provides financial assistance to eligible veterans..
Who provides the program instruction?
- The ECP faculty, Region 13 Education Service Center staff members, Master teachers and other contracted instructors provide classes in a variety of relevant education topics.
Will the program require much of a time commitment?
- Yes, the Educator Certification Program is an intense, high quality program. In addition to the pre-service training (12-18 hours per week), interns will be expected to attend, on the average, at least 12 - 15 hours of training each month during the school year. The program is designed for highly committed candidates who are able to excel in a fast-paced training environment.
When are classes held? Are they face to face or online?
- About 1/3 of ECP classes are held online. About 2/3 of ECP classes are held face to face. Face to face classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 pm and on Saturdays from 9-4. This schedule allows ECP interns to continue working at their current job while attending training classes before the teaching year begins.
What if I have to miss some classes?
- Attendance at all ECP class sessions is required. The ECP allows a maximum of two absences throughout the entire time in the program. When a participant misses a class session, he/she must make up the content in that session with similar instructional content. It must be approved by the program specialist in advance of attending the make-up session. Class attendance takes precedence over campus or district instructions, meetings, or activities.
- At the point in which the participant misses more than the two allotted absences, the staff advisory meets to discuss the absences and makes the decision concerning continuation in the program.
Where are classes held?
- All classes are held at the Region 13 Education Service Center, 5701 Springdale Road, Austin, TX.
Does Region 13 place interns with school districts?
- After acceptance into the Region 13 ECP, each applicant is responsible for securing his/her own employment in a Region 13 public school district, charter school or Texas Education Agency accredited private school. Intern employment information is shared with all Region 13 school districts.
- Eligibility for the District Referral Program cycle, requires that applicants be hired by a school district and referred to the program by that hiring principal or district.
- It is not unusual for school districts to delay hiring personnel until late summer. In response to this, the majority of the pre-service training is offered evenings and Saturdays so that prospective interns can retain existing employment as long as possible.
How do I find out about available teaching jobs?
- Visit the School Directory on the Region 13 web site for more information about public school districts in Region 13. Each school website will have a Human Resources section. Available jobs are listed on these pages.
What school districts are located in Region 13?
- Visit the School Directory on the Region 13 web site for more information about public school districts in Region 13. With program approval, interns may pursue employment outside of Region 13. There is a $500.00 additional charge for employment in districts outside of Region 13 to defray staff travel expense. For Career and Technical Education areas of certification we also offer statewide sites. Visit CTE Program page for a complete listing of statewide sites.
What percentage of your interns are hired by local school districts?
- This is a difficult question to answer. The Region 13 ECP program basis acceptance numbers each school year on anticipated hiring needs of our area school districts. It is impossible to gauge this with 100% accuracy. For the 12-13 school year over 95% of our participants were hired. For the 13-14 school year 99% of our applicants were hired. It is important to note that this percentage varies from year to year and it is the responsibility of the intern to seek employment for the internship year.
What if I can’t find a job? Are there options for me?
- Interns who are not able to obtain a teaching position by October 1 of the appropriate school year are offered several options. These will be discussed with you by your cohort specialist at the appropriate time.
If I’m certified in another state, do I need to go through the Region 13 program?
- You may not need to. Please contact the Texas Education Agency for a review of your credentials. In most cases you will not need to go through a certification program. Information regarding Texas certification for educators coming from other states can be found at: TEA Out-of-State Certified Educators
If I’m certified in another country, do I need to go through the Region 13 program?
- You may not need to. Please contact the Texas Education Agency for a review of your credentials. In most cases you will not need to go through a certification program. Information regarding Texas certification for educators coming from other countries can be found at: TEA Out-of-Country Certified Educators