Living and Teaching In the Lone Star State

By Ellen Wilson

If you love kids and you’re interested in an adventure in the U.S., you might consider living and teaching in the Lone Star state.

The Texas Education Agency reports that shortages in the field mean teachers in certain subject areas are in high demand and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for 53,000 high school teachers and 188,000 grade school teachers by the year 2022.

Becoming a teacher in the Lone Star state is different than becoming an educator in many other areas of the U.S. Because there is no specific teacher education program in the state, you’ll first need a bachelor’s degree in your chosen subject area.

Then, you’ll go through an education preparation program. If you’re earning a degree in Texas, you can often fulfill this requirement at the same school. If you earned your bachelor’s degree elsewhere, find out more about the education prep program at the state’s website.

After you’ve completed the program, you’ll take a certification test in your subject area, for a particular range of grade levels. When you’ve passed the certification exam, you must still complete another step to become eligible to teach.

As in many other U.S. states, educators in the Lone Star state must complete a state registration process that includes a background check and fingerprinting. When you’re approved for registration, you’re eligible for entry-level teaching positions in Texas.

A teacher in Texas is paid a base minimum salary, mandated by the state legislature. The state legislates a base rate that is keyed to years of experience teaching in Texas. Certified teachers with no experience must be paid a minimum of $27,320. The rate rises as you gain experience so that, when you have 20 years’ teaching experience, your minimum salary will be $44,270.

In most districts, this base is supplemented, usually based on your certification and education, so that you earn a more competitive salary. For example, teachers who hold a master’s degree earn more and those with education beyond the master’s level earn even greater supplements. If your area of certification is one in high demand, you may also earn more.

The supplemented rate varies from district to district. For example, if you’re a first-year teacher in Dallas, you’ll earn $45,100, while a beginning teacher in Lubbock will earn $37,750. Newly-minted teachers in Fort Worth earn $50,544, while in Planto, they earn $49, 442.

In rural districts and smaller districts, you’ll earn less, but you’ll also find the cost of living to be much less than in larger Texas districts.

In any case, salaries for teachers in Texas, like those in many U.S. states, don’t equate to those earned by people in other fields who have similar education.

Legislators in the state recognize that attracting quality candidates to teach children who’ll be entering a very different world, by the time they graduate, probably means they should pay a higher salary. Some state lawmakers are pushing for education reforms that include better pay for teachers, so base rates are likely to increase in the next few years.