In Texas, there is a way for prospective education majors to get their foot in the door to a real classroom to gain experience before they have completed all the exams and other program requirements for a standard teaching certificate. This process is called probationary teaching certification and is offered by many of the state's four-year colleges and universities. Probationary certification allows students to begin the internship job search while assuring prospective employers that they are on target to receive a full certificate in the near future.
An education major who waits until after spring graduation to begin the hunt for an internship might find himself out of luck. Positions are competitive and new educators need to start nailing down a job well before their graduation date, if possible. The trouble is that a school district is going to ask to see a copy of an official teaching certificate, which you may not have qualified for yet. That's where the probationary certificate comes in.
The state of Texas created a program by which a student who secures an internship mandated by his program requirements, but who has not yet passed all exams for a standard teaching certificate, can apply online for what is called a probationary certificate. Good for one year, this temporary license assures any school district that the intern is on track to finish all education and testing requirements for a full certificate.
The probationary certificate gives the teaching candidate a year to finish up requirements, though that can be extended to two and in rare occasions -- three -- years. It will eventually expire and the student must qualify for a standard certificate in order to continue teaching. State law prevents the temporary certificate from being extended beyond three years.
Eligibility for a probationary teaching certificate is established by administrators of the education department at your college or university. They'll want to see that you are making satisfactory progress on your major and are on course to graduate in a timely fashion. At that point, they will provide you with an eligibility statement to include with your resume as you search for an internship.
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