Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Path to Certification page for each ECP program.

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 ecp@esc13.txed.net

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.

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?

Per TAC 227.1.(b) Educator preparation programs should inform all applicants that: (1) Pursuant to the Texas Education Code (TEC), § 22.083, all candidates must undergo a criminal history background check prior to employment as an educator.

If you feel this is a concern and you have questions about eligibility for a Texas educator certificate, TEA staff may perform an evaluation for a non-refundable fee of $50. Visit the Texas Education Agency for more information regarding this procedures.

During the internship, will I be paid a salary?

Yes, once accepted into the ECP, and hired by a school district, participants 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. Participants are considered a teacher of record and an employee of the school district. As such, participants 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.

How do I pay for the program?

The application and registration fees are to be paid in full at the time of the due date. For the 17-month program, the pre-service fee can be paid in full with a $150 discount, or paid in 4 installments of $375, January through April. For the 12-month program, the pre-service fee is due in full prior to training. Once participants have reached the in-service portion of the program, the in-service fee will be prorated into 9 monthly payments starting with onset of the internship year. See the pricing page for more details.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

What if I have a degree from a foreign institution?

Candidates with a degree from a foreign institution must: provide transcripts evaluated by the Foreign Credentials Service of America showing the degree earned and grade equivalencies; and complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language TOEFL iBT 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.

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