Upon admission to the Houston corps, the Teach For America – Houston team carefully reviews a corps member's transcripts and determines up to two areas in which the corps member will be asked to seek teacher certification. To become certified to teach in these designated areas, the corps member must demonstrate that she or he is "highly qualified" to teach. To do this, the typical corps member must take a certification exam called the TExES. Unfortunately, because of state regulations, if the corps member does not earn a passing score on the relevant TExES exam(s), she or he will not be allowed to teach in Teach For America – Houston placement schools.
Each Houston corps member who does not arrive in Houston already certified to teach is also required to enroll in an alternative certification program (ACP). Participation in an ACP, which typically requires coursework over the duration of a corps member's first year in the classroom, will likely cost somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000 (most programs allow corps members to pay in monthly installments via credit card or payroll deduction). Teach For America – Houston requires each not previously-certified corps member to fully complete his or her designated ACP requirements in a timely and professional manner in order to remain in good standing with the Houston corps.