Alternative Teacher Certification
Frequently Asked Questions


Find Answers to Common Questions

Thank you for your interest in Rice University’s Alternative Teacher Certification program. Below, you will find a list of our frequently asked questions.


What is an alternative teacher certification?

The alternative teacher certification is a nontraditional route that allows you to teach and participate in classroom instruction while simultaneously completing the requirements necessary to become an accredited teacher. Only TEA-approved programs may recommend individuals for certification.

What makes the Rice Alternative Teacher Certification program different from other teacher preparation programs?

Rice University's Alternative Teacher Certification is one of the only programs that provides a field-based, paid experience at a local school in session 2 and three of your experience. Because of our small class sizes, you receive high-touch, one-on-one support from Rice faculty and staff to ensure the successful transition into the field and passing the necessary exams to become a certified teacher in Texas. With a nearly 100% pass rate on exams, you are prepared to be a leader inside and outside of the classroom. Learn more about the Rice experience.

What are content hours?

Content credit hours are college credit hours in the subject area the candidate wants to teach. View content areas offered at Rice University in our Plan of Study. You can participate in a community college course approved by the Education team associated with the subject area you would like to teach, but classes must be approved by the education team. Please contact to learn more about your options.

What can I do if I do not meet the content hours or GPA prerequisites?

The minimum requirements for admission are State guidelines. A candidate who does not meet at least the minimum content hours or GPA requirements may take courses at another institution to fulfill the requirements. The candidate may apply for admission after the additional courses are completed. Rice Education does not offer courses in the content areas necessary to fulfill this requirement.

How do I pay for the program?

The program can be paid in three installments. Admitted candidates may check with the program for possible additional financial aid after admission. Learn more about resources available to you to pay for your Rice certificate education.

How do I become a Texas Teacher?

You must complete all program training, internship, examinations, and all other program and State requirements.

TExES (Texas Examinations of Educator Standards) Content Exam
You will have the opportunity to participate in a practice test in a monitored setting with Rice Education. Upon scoring a 90%, you are then eligible to participate in the TEA TExES Content Exam, delivered through Pearson.The cost of this exam is $116. Learn more here.

edTPA Exam
The edTPA Exam consists of three categories representing a cycle of effective teaching. Categories are Planning for Instruction and Assessment; Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning; and Assessing Student Learning. The cost of this exam is $311. Successful completion of the edTPA Exam is a scoreable portfolio that includes receiving no more than one condition code per task.

What is the preliminary background check?

A Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation (PCHE) is an evaluation of eligibility for a Texas educator certificate based on your self-reported criminal history. As a service to prospective candidates, TEA staff may perform an evaluation for a non-refundable fee of $50. The evaluation is voluntary and non-binding. For more information visit the website.

Are additional study materials available?

The Rice University Education Program covers the cost for 30-day access to exam preparation from 240 Tutoring. Rice Education expects teaching candidates to take the 240 Tutoring Practice in a simulated testing environment. If the teaching candidate does not meet the 90% practice exam standard, a Rice instructor will tutor and coach candidates before scheduling the next practice exam. Test preparation support continues until the teaching candidate is ready to be approved for the TExES exam.

Where will I be certified to teach?

Earning this certification allows you to teach anywhere in the state of Texas. For teachers who wish to work in a different state, you will need to determine if your certificate is valid (reciprocity) in an alternative state.

Additional Resources

Rice University State Exam Pass Rates

Rice University Title II Report

Rice University Effect of Supply and Demand

Rice University Grievance Policy