Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Texas

Follow these steps to meet certification requirements as you work towards becoming a math teacher in Texas:

Complete a Degree in Mathematics that Includes a Math Teacher Prep Component
Pass the Required Math Content and General Competency Tests
Apply for Your Texas Teaching Certification in Math
Renew Your Texas Teaching Certificate

Math teachers are a vital part of the team of the more than 320,000 primary and secondary educators employed throughout Texas. The state’s math teachers are tasked with the monumental challenge of providing quality instruction each year to 4.7 million students who must develop their knowledge of mathematics in order to be competitive in the global job market of the 21st century.

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The Texas State Board for Educator Certification sets the benchmarks required for math teacher certification in the state. As you work towards meeting these standards on your way to becoming a certified math teacher, you will deal directly with the Texas Education Agency, the body responsible for issuing teaching certificates.



Step 1. Complete a Degree in Mathematics that Includes a Math Teacher Prep Component

The primary requirement to become a math teacher in Texas is a bachelor’s degree or higher in the field of mathematics. For new students, the most direct way to become a math teacher is by earning a B.S. or B.A. in mathematics while also completing an approved educator preparation program.

Candidates who have already obtained a degree in math can complete an educator preparation program as part of post-bachelor’s study, a master’s program in education, or through an alternative route that involves mentored on-the-job training.

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Following the traditional route of a bachelor’s degree in math with an approved educator preparation program, you will start out by studying pure mathematics in courses like:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Statistics and probability
  • Trigonometry
  • Calculus
  • Discrete mathematics

A traditional educator preparation program will be included in your degree program, and involve coursework that focuses on developing skills specific to teaching mathematics. The educator preparation component of your degree program will include courses related to:

  • Fundamentals of education and pedagogy
  • Psychology and history of education
  • Teaching students with disabilities
  • Teaching students from diverse backgrounds
  • Development of lesson plans in mathematics
  • Strategies for teaching mathematics

A traditional educator preparation program will culminate with a student teaching segment. This will involve an immersive experience in which you will be placed in a math classroom. During your student teaching experience, you will implement lesson plans and put your teaching education to use.

Your supervising math teacher will offer you valuable feedback throughout your student teaching experience.

Alternative Teacher Educator Program

If you already have at least a bachelor’s degree and decide to complete an alternative teacher educator program then you will also undertake a course of study focusing on general pedagogy and teaching mathematics.

However, instead of a student teaching segment you will start teaching immediately with the help of an experienced mentor who will assist you as you develop your skills on the job.

If you take this route toward certification you will also need to complete a PACT exam, detailed in Step 2.

Out-of-State Teachers

If you completed your math and teacher education in a different state or are already a certified teacher in another state, you will need to have your college transcripts reviewed by the Texas Education Agency. You can do this online using the same account you will use to complete an application. If you meet the requirements, you will be issued a temporary one-year teaching certificate.

You will need to complete any remaining testing requirements during this time, at which point you may be eligible to apply for a normal teaching certificate.



Step 2. Pass the Required Math Content and General Competency Tests

Testing is usually managed individually according to the policies of each educator preparation program. The Office of Educator Testing manages testing throughout the state.

Programs may or may not require the following tests, with the exception of the Mathematics Exam, which is a requirement for anyone who wants to become a math teacher in Texas:

  • Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) Exam
  • Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) Exam
  • Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT)
  • Mathematics Exam

Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA)

The THEA Exam may be required in general for admission to a college or university in Texas, and may also be required by your educator preparation program. It assesses your basic knowledge in three subject areas:

    • Reading – 40 multiple-choice questions based on seven reading selections. The exam evaluates your understanding of vocabulary, points of view, purpose, and other important aspects related to the subject of reading.
    • Mathematics – 50 multiple-choice questions based on four basic areas of mathematics:
      • Fundamental mathematics
      • Problem solving
      • Geometry
      • Algebra


  • Writing – comprised of two sections that evaluate your ability to communicate effectively in writing:
    • 40 questions measuring your ability to recognize effective writing
    • Composition of paragraphs totaling between 300-600 words that measures your writing effectiveness

Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) Exam

As you near the completion of your educator preparation program you will be cleared to take the PPR exam. This will assess the knowledge you have retained related to effective teaching and pedagogical development.

Your educator preparation program will provide you with the details you need to register for this exam.

Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT)

Each educator preparation program sets its own requirements for entry. The PACT exam may be required for entry into certain educator preparation programs. The PACT test assesses your basic abilities in key areas similar to the THEA exam.

If you already have at least a bachelor’s degree and are applying for admission to a traditional or alternative educator preparation program, you must pass the PACT exam.

If you are an undergraduate preparing for your initial teaching certification you will not take the PACT.

Mathematics Exam

The mathematics exam is administered in a partnership between Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Texas Education Agency. You can register for this exam online. There are two mathematics exams offered, and you will need to pass the one that corresponds to the grade levels you intend to teach:

  • Mathematics test #115 for grades 4-8
  • Mathematics test #235 for grades 7-12

You can consult a study guide for test #115 for grades 4-8. The test is comprised of 90 multiple-choice questions on the following topics

  • 21% – Patterns and algebra
  • 21% – Geometry and measurement
  • 16% – Number concepts
  • 16% – Probability and statistics
  • 16% – Mathematical instruction, assessment, and learning
  • 10% – Mathematical perspectives and processes

You can also consult a study guide for test #235 for grades 7-12. You will have five hours to complete this exam, which is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions covering these topics:

  • 33% – Patterns and algebra
  • 19% – Geometry and measurement
  • 14% – Number concepts
  • 14% – Probability and statistics
  • 10% – Mathematical perspectives and processes
  • 10% – Mathematical learning, instruction, and assessment



Step 3. Apply for Your Texas Teaching Certification in Math

Once you have completed your degree, educator preparation program, and testing requirements, you will be ready to apply for your initial teaching certification. This is done online and starts with the creation of an account on the Educator Certification Online System (ECOS). The certification you will apply for is known as a Standard Certificate and must be renewed every five years.

If you have opted to pursue an alternative educator preparation program, you will first need to apply for a Probationary Certificate and complete any outstanding requirements before you can apply for a Standard Certificate.

All applicants will also need to be fingerprinted and complete an extensive background investigation to verify they do not have a criminal record that would prevent employment.



Step 4. Renew Your Texas Teaching Certificate

You can renew your Standard Certificate online using the same ECOS account you used to initially apply for certification. To be eligible for renewal, you need to complete 150 hours of continuing professional education (CPE). Agencies providing this professional education must be approved. You can obtain this education by:

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  • Attending workshops and seminars
  • Completing college or university courses, such as those that would lead to a master’s degree
  • Completing approved online courses

If you choose to advance your education to a master’s degree in education or a mathematics field, you will open up more advanced career opportunities in administration. You can find resources about continuing professional education and employment opportunities through these professional associations:

Teacher salary advancement in Texas is determined by the amount of time you have been working as a math teacher:

  • 1 year – $28,130
  • 2 years – $28,720
  • 3 years – $29,310
  • 4 years – $30,560
  • 5 years – $31,810
  • 10 years – $37,340
  • 15 years – $41,490
  • 20 years – $44,620

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