Educator Preparation Program

UTRGV offers a rigorous university-based teacher certification curriculum developed to produce exemplary teacher leaders for the Rio Grande Valley, the nation and beyond.

In coordination with undergraduate academic programs, field experiences and clinical teaching leading to teacher certification are planned and delivered through the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) have approved the content and procedures of these curricula. Students pursuing degrees with teacher certification are encouraged to initiate and maintain contact with the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability in order to stay informed of certification changes, updates and requirements.

Information on bachelor’s degrees that include preparation for initial teacher certification is available through the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability website.

Formal Admission to Teacher Education Programs

Upon admission to the University, undergraduate students should meet with an academic advisor in order to follow a certified degree track, indicating to the advisor that the student is seeking teacher certification. During the sophomore year, students must prepare to apply for formal admission to the Teacher Education Program(s).

Students must then apply for admission to the Teacher Education Program at the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability. All admission requirements are in accordance to Texas Administrative Code rules §227.10 and the HEA Title II accountability requirements. All applicants must meet the current certification requirements in effect at the time of application, regardless of the catalog year of degree plan. Visit the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability website for current admission requirements.  

Candidates with Military Service and/or Experience in Education

In accordance with 19 TAC 228.35 (a)(5), UTRGV’s College of Education may accept military service, training, or education toward the fulfillment of program requirements. Military service, training, or education must be directly related to the certificate being sought and may not take the place of certification examinations. Service, training, or education may not count as part of an internship, clinical teaching, or practicum requirements and must be provided by an approved Educator Preparation Program or accredited institution of higher education within.

Criminal History Acknowledgement

As required by Texas HB1508, applicants need to be aware of the following:

In order to receive certification in Texas, you must pass a criminal history background check. If you have been convicted of an offense that is considered not appropriate for an educator, you could be ineligible to earn this certification from the state of Texas.

You have a right to request a preliminary criminal history evaluation letter from the Texas Education Agency prior to admission into this program. The Texas Education Agency currently charges a $50 fee for this criminal history evaluation.

Criminal Background Check of Applicants 

Teacher Education Program(s) require field based experiences in the public schools. This requires that a student be able to clear a criminal background check conducted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley during formal admission and during the program by school districts. It is the responsibility of the student to determine if their criminal history background will present a problem before applying for admission to the teacher education program.

Note that students with a criminal history may encounter difficulty in completing any field-based requirements and therefore, may not be able to complete the program. Students who refuse to submit to a background check or who do not pass the background check may be dismissed from the program. 

 Questions about criminal history background checks can be referred to the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability.  There will be a processing fee for criminal background check. 

Clinical Teaching

Clinical teaching is a full-day, full-time, school-based six-semester hour practicum supervised by an experienced certified teacher and a university supervisor. Clinical teaching is the culminating experience in your professional development and provides you the opportunity for acquisition and demonstration of instructional competence as a beginning professional educator. The practical experiences and reflection gained during this semester will prepare you for your role as an effective educator. The overarching goal of the Clinical Teaching Program is to immerse teacher candidates in classroom experiences as they transition into the role of a professional teacher by developing high levels of competence through supervised teaching experience.

For full clinical teaching program requirements visit the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability website.

TexEs Approval and Initial Certification

All teacher candidates must pass certain state certification exams (TExES) to be a teacher in the state of Texas. Test preparation will help candidates pass the exams with less stress and expense.  The Educator Preparation Program has designed several supports for your test preparation; in order to ensure that every student is prepared to take their exams, approval for each exam will be granted once candidates have completed the test preparation. 

All candidates seeking State of Texas certification must meet appropriate and relevant Texas Administrative Rules (TAC) and adhere to current CEP standards and policies to ensure that educators have the appropriate credentials for serving K-12 students as teachers. Upon meeting all the program completion requirements including graduation, teacher candidates must apply for teacher certification. Additional information regarding the process for applying may be found at the Office of Educator Preparation and Accountability website.

For initial certification testing and certification approvals, the Teaching & Learning Department, the Bilingual and Literacy Studies Department and the Human Development and School Services collaboratively develop policies for administration of TExES Representative exams, TExES Core Subjects (EC-6), TExES Early Childhood (PK-3), TExES Science of Teaching Reading and the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Approval, academic interventions, and certification requirements. Other TExES exam approvals are policies developed by respective academic departments.

UTRGV Initial Certification Policy


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley College of Education & P-16 Integration Leadership Team has established the following policy with input from the Advisory Committee. All teacher candidates defined as “program finishers” fulfilling all the Educator Preparation Program (EPP) requirements including clinical teaching and confirmation of a degree, must fulfill State Certification testing requirements in order to be eligible for recommendation of certification to the State of Texas.

 Program finisher(s) must request recommendation for teacher certification immediately upon conferred degree by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). If testing requirements remain pending after completing program requirements, candidates should initiate test approval request with department chair and/or program coordinator so that a preparation plan can be created. The EPP can make test approval contingent on a candidate completing additional coursework and/or training if a candidate is seeking test approval in an area where the standards have changed, test changed since the candidate completed the program, or if the candidate has returned to the EPP for test approval five or more years following academic year of completion (TAC 228.40(d)).   

Change in State Standards and Teacher Certification:

 Subsequent to completion of degree and request for approval to take State Certification exam; the current TEA regulations will be adhered to. Therefore candidates may be required to fulfill additional requirements not present at time of initial completion of degree.

Transfer Requirements:

 If a teacher candidate does not complete all required testing requirements to be recommended for certification and opts to pursue a different area of certification/track for teacher certification, the student must complete a Transfer Form. The Transfer Form is necessary for eligibility into another EPP. The completion of a Transfer Form indemnifies UTRGV EPP against responsibility for the former student’s teacher certification recommendation and reporting requirements.