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Teacher Certification Programs for Undergraduate Students

The following describes undergraduate programs for students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree concurrently with teacher certification:

Standards

Certificate programs have been designed to meet the standards for teacher certification set by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). UTSA is approved to recommend individuals for these certificates if the individual has met all of the COEHD Fitness to Teach Policy standards, and has successfully completed all academic requirements for the certificate sought.

The State of Texas utilizes the “approved program” concept in its system of teacher certification. The State:

  • establishes the regulations and standards by which teachers are certified (the requirements are independent of college or university degree requirements);
  • approves colleges and universities to recommend students for teacher certificates in areas where programs have been found to be in conformity with State standards and are on file with the State; and
  • issues the teacher certificate directly to the student, upon recommendation by an approved college or university.

Applying to the Teacher Certification Program

Students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree together with certification and who meet the requirements for admission to the Teacher Certification Program can apply online for admission to the Teacher Certification Program. Requirements and application materials are located on the COEHD Web page (http://education.utsa.edu/). Students must be accepted into the Teacher Certification Program in order to register for courses restricted to teacher certification students.

Applying for the Teacher Certificate

Upon successful completion of the bachelor’s degree, the certification program, required examinations, and student teaching (or an approved substitution for student teaching), students must apply for their certificate online at the SBEC Web site: www.tea.state.tx.us.

Additional eligibility requirements for recommendation for the teacher certificate include a 2.50 cumulative grade point average on a 4.00 scale, good standing status at UTSA (not on academic probation), and the recommendation of the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD).

Upon completion of processing by the COEHD Advising and Certification Center and by SBEC, the teacher certificate will be sent directly to the student.

Student Fitness to Teach Policy

The College of Education and Human Development has a responsibility to the educational community to ensure that individuals whom UTSA recommends to the State of Texas for teaching certification are fit to join the teaching profession. All teacher candidates in the UTSA Teacher Certification Program (TCP) are expected to demonstrate that they are prepared to teach children and youth. This preparation results from the combination of successful completion of University coursework and the demonstration of important human characteristics and dispositions that all teachers should possess. Consult the COEHD Web site at http://education.utsa.edu/ for a copy of the Fitness to Teach Policy. UTSA and the COEHD reserve the right to recommend or not recommend teacher candidates for certification. If, for whatever reason, it is determined that a student does not qualify to be recommended for a teaching certificate, the student may graduate with an IDS only degree upon completion of their degree only requirements.

Criminal Record Check

A criminal background check is a requirement for admission to the Teacher Certification Program. In addition, during each semester in which field-based courses are taken, students will be required to submit to a Criminal Record Check. For further information about criminal record check procedures, consult the COEHD Web page. Criminal record checks are conducted by the individual school districts when field work in schools is a course requirement.

Teaching Certificates for Persons with Criminal Background

In accordance with state law, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) may suspend or revoke a teacher certificate or refuse to issue a teacher certificate for a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for a crime that is directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the teaching profession (Texas Occupation Code, Section 53.021).

Certification in States Other than Texas

Once certified in Texas, teachers who move out of state may consult the NASDTEC Interstate Contract Web site at www.nasdtec.org to determine if Texas has reciprocity with the state of relocation. If the state in question requires an out-of-state document to be completed, it should be forwarded to the UTSA Certification Officer in the COEHD Advising and Certification Center.

Students moving out of state before having completed all requirements for teacher certification in Texas will be required to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program once relocated.

Policies

Appeals

  • Appeal of Certification Requirements

    Students wishing to appeal admission requirements to the UTSA Teacher Certification Program, prerequisite requirements, and/or coursework requirements should obtain instructions in the COEHD Advising and Certification Center on filing an appeal with the COEHD Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee is composed of COEHD faculty representatives and meets once per semester. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

  • Appeal of Non-recommendation

    If a student does not meet certification requirements, the UTSA Certification Officer notifies the student that he or she will not be recommended for certification. The student has the right to submit an appeal to the COEHD Advising and Certification Center. A COEHD Appeals Committee reviews the appeal materials and makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Teacher Education. The Associate Dean for Teacher Education makes a final decision on the appeal and so notifies the student.

Course Substitutions

UTSA certification programs have been carefully designed to meet State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) standards and to prepare UTSA students to pass the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES). It is, therefore, in the student’s best interest to follow the approved certification program. Course substitutions in the teacher education program are granted only in extenuating circumstances and only if appropriate substitutions are available. All requests for substitutions must be filed in writing with the COEHD Advising and Certification Center before the individual registers for the course. Requested course submissions must match the required course in content, level, and grade requirements. Course substitution approvals rest within each department. Department decisions are final.

Restricted Education Courses

Restricted Education courses have strict prerequisites as specified by COEHD faculty. In order to register for a restricted course, a student must apply for advisor authorization. The COEHD Advising and Certification Center accepts applications for advisor authorization from approximately three weeks before registration begins until the registration process is complete. Restricted Professional Development courses are subject to change depending on state-mandated requirements. Students should consult an academic advisor about restricted courses in their program.

Waivers

Individuals who wish to request a waiver of course requirements should first contact the COEHD Advising and Certification Center to determine if the requirement is a UTSA or a State Board for Educator Certification requirement. Individuals who wish to request a waiver of a UTSA requirement must file a written request with the COEHD Advising and Certification Center. Waivers cannot be granted for the requirements mandated by the State Board for Educator Certification.

Requirements for Admission to the Teacher Certification Program

Consult the UTSA Information Bulletin (http://utsa.edu/infoguide/) and the COEHD Web site (http://education.utsa.edu/) for additional admission requirements to the UTSA Teacher Certification Program.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is an extremely important component of the certification program. The primary purpose of student teaching is to apply what has been learned in university courses to the professional setting (i.e., an actual classroom). It is expected that the student teaching component of the certification program will be completed through UTSA.

Admission to Student Teaching

Admission to the professional semester of student teaching must be requested by formal application during the semester before the student plans to student teach. A meeting will be held early in the semester to disseminate application information. The deadline for the application for students who plan to student teach in the Fall Semester is February 15. For students planning to student teach in the Spring Semester, the deadline for the application is October 1. Acceptance into the student teaching program is contingent upon completion of the following requirements:

  1. Admission to the UTSA Teacher Certification Program; consult the current UTSA Information Bulletin (http://utsa.edu/infoguide/) for admission requirements.
  2. A 2.5 cumulative grade point average on all college work attempted.
  3. Completion of the Professional Education coursework (please refer to course descriptions for specific grade requirements for your program’s student teaching course).
  4. Students seeking supplementary certification in English as a Second Language should consult an advisor regarding additional course requirements.
  5. Presentation of a negative tuberculosis report, as specified by the school district, from a licensed physician, valid at the time of registration for student teaching.
  6. Approval of the Director of Student Teaching.

NOTE: The Professional Semester is a full-time commitment. The student teaching semester is 15 weeks with time divided between school campuses and UTSA. A student teacher must follow the same schedule as his or her cooperating teacher in the public schools for a full semester of consecutive, full-day, full-time student teaching; therefore, it is not possible to register for other courses that meet in the daytime hours. Since performance in the student teaching semester is a key factor used by school districts in evaluating an applicant’s potential as a teacher, it is recommended that the individual not attempt to work during the student teaching semester. There is no special provision for financial support of student teachers.

Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES)

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards are state-mandated examinations whose purpose is to ensure that educators possess the necessary content and professional knowledge to teach in Texas public schools. Individuals seeking certification in the State of Texas must pass the required tests before they can be recommended for a teacher certificate and/or endorsement.

TExES tests are criterion-referenced. This means that they are designed to measure an individual’s knowledge in relation to an established standard of competence rather than in relation to the performance of other individuals.

Further information on required TExES tests can be obtained in the COEHD Advising and Certification Center, the Office of the TExES Coordinator, or from the UTSA COEHD Web site: http://education.utsa.edu/.


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