Certification can be obtained in one year through an alternative certification program (non-university based program).
Becoming Certified to Teach
Corps members who are not already certified gain certification during their first year of teaching through ACT-RGV, a state-approved alternative certification program. Passage of all required T.E.x.E.S. content exams are required prior to summer pre-service training for certification program admission. During the course of the year, corps members complete at least 300 hours of professional development through Teach For America and the alternative certification programs. Contingent on meeting all requirements, you will complete certification in one year.
Certification requires approximately $425 in upfront fees and testing costs. You will receive your Texas Teaching Licensure from our partner for a cost of about $4,700. You will be charged for your tuition costs by our partner in ten installments starting in September. Our program is not university-based and therefore not eligible for AmeriCorps Awards.
While corps members cannot get a master's degree as part of certification, many corps members begin a graduate program in their second year of teaching. Popular programs include the local University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley or the Johns Hopkins University online program for Teach For America. If eligible, corps members may use the AmeriCorps education award to pay for graduate programs and many corps members complete a master’s degree by the end of the third year teaching.
The summer before you begin teaching, Teach For America hosts several different segments of training. Here are some details about this year’s training.
- Independent Preparation: In the spring, we will share preparation for you to complete independently via a virtual platform to prepare for your summer training.
- Pre-Service: Training begins virtually in late May focusing on orienting you to Teach For America's mission and work in the Rio Grande Valley and laying the groundwork of the foundation skills and dispositions you will need as a beginning teacher. The training continues in-person in the region in June with several weeks of teaching in partnership with a local school district in the Rio Grande Valley.
- District In-Service: All school districts hold new teacher training and district in-service days anywhere from two to four weeks prior to the start of the school year. We coordinate with districts to ensure that these days do not overlap with Teach For America requirements.
During the school year, your support will consist of whole group training, differentiated training, and one-on-one coaching.
- Leadership Summit: We hold two Saturday summits throughout the year to provide training on developing your disposition as a teacher, content pedagogy, professional learning communities, and DEI spaces.
- Differentiated Spaces: A variety of online modules are available to provide support as needed.
- Coaching: All corps members are assigned a director of Teacher Leadership Development. This staff member will observe and meet with you to provide customized support in your development as a teacher and leader.