Alternative Teacher Certification Program
The Alternative Teacher Certification Program (ATCP) at Houston Community College is a state-approved comprehensive educator preparation program (or EPP) that trains individuals for Texas standard certification in elementary and secondary education.
An EPP provides the training necessary for individuals without experience in a college-level teacher training program or with a major in another field, such as biology or art, to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a classroom teacher.
The following items are needed to become a certified classroom teacher in Texas:
- Obtain or possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Complete an approved Educator Preparation Program (EPP)
- Transfer applicants must complete a one-page, double-spaced substantive essay outlining their request for transfer in the the HCC-ATCP program. The application will not be considered complete if the essay is not one-page and double-spaced, no more, no less. If accepted, the applicant must submit a transfer request form.
- Register, take and pass required state certification exams for the certificate sought
- Apply for state certification upon the EPP’s recommendation (Fingerprinting is required as part of a criminal background check)
- Obtain a Texas Classroom Teacher Standard Certificate awarded through TEA
- Students who entered the program from August 2023 forward, will be afforded 3 years to complete the program. This date is calculated based on the end date of their first ATCP class.
- Students who entered the program prior to August 2023 will have 3 years to complete the program. This date is calculated based on the end date of their first ATCP class.
- If a student has already been in the program for 3 years or greater, that student will have until January 31st, 2025, to be recommended for standard certification.
- Any situations that fall outside of that which is enumerated herein will be discussed with the student on a case-by-case basis and resolutions will be outlined on a student completer agreement.
Once certified, Texas Standard Certificates are renewable every five years, provided you have completed required continuing professional education (CPE) credits.
Don’t have a Bachelor’s degree? See Teacher Education for Associate of Arts in Teaching.
Have a Bachelor’s degree? Apply directly to the Alternative Teacher Certification Program.
Already a Certified Classroom Teacher? See Out-of-State Certified Educators, Out-of-Country Certified Educators, Renewing a Standard Certificate, Additional Certification by Exam, or Professional Development Hours.
The Alternative Teacher Certification Program (ATCP) at HCC is a state-approved comprehensive educator preparation program (EPP) that trains individuals for Texas standard certification in elementary and secondary education.
Online resourcesNew Student Orientation Virtual Information Session
- Texas Education Agency(TEA)/State Board for Educator Certification(SBEC)
- Texas Educator's Code of Ethics (Texas Administrative Code)
- TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills)
- THECB (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)
- TExES (Texas Examinations of Educator Standards)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
If a student is not satisfied with the complaint process or outcome, the student may file a complaint against the program with the Texas Education Agency. The official Texas Education Agency complaint process can be found http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Contact_Us/Complaints/
Same as HCC payment deadlines.
**tuition assessed per class
Contact program for more information
Varies according to certification area
|Cost not included in tuition
TEA Technology Fee
Upon enrollment - payable to Texas Education Agency
Other fees associated with completing the requirements for Teacher Certification by TEA (such as exams, background checks, finger printing, etc.) are outside of Program costs or expenses and are managed by other organizations. HCC ATCP keeps an updated requirements list with current costs and provides this information to students. However, HCC cannot guarantee that costs have not been changed recently by other organizations.
Background Check / Program Eligibility
Accord to the Texas Education Code chapter 227.1 (b):
Educator preparation programs (EPPs) shall inform all applicants that:
(1) pursuant to the Texas Education Code (TEC), §22.083, candidates must undergo a criminal history background check prior to employment as an educator; and
(2) pursuant to the TEC, §22.0835, candidates must undergo a criminal history background check prior to clinical teaching.
Accord to the Texas Education Code chapter 227.1 (d):
EPPs shall notify, in writing by mail, personal delivery, facsimile, email, or an electronic notification, each applicant to and enrollee in the EPP of the following regardless of whether the applicant or enrollee has been convicted of an offense:
(1) the potential ineligibility of an individual who has been convicted of an offense for issuance of a certificate on completion of the EPP;
(2) the current State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rules prescribed in §249.16 of this title (relating to Eligibility of Persons with Criminal History for a Certificate under Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 53, and Texas Education Code, Chapter 21); and
(3) the right to request a criminal history evaluation letter as provided in Chapter 227, Subchapter B, of this title (relating to Preliminary Evaluation of Certification Eligibility).
Texas Education Code 227
HCC Veteran Information
According to TAC 19 Section 228.35(1)(5)(A), each educator preparation program is required to develop and implement specific criteria and procedures that allow:
(a) Military service members or military veteran candidates to credit verified military service, training, or education toward the training, education, work experience or related requirements (other than certification examinations) for educator certification requirements, provided that the military service, training, or education is directly related to the certificate being sought.
Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, on the website at www.hccs.edu/support-services/veteran-affairs, or by phone at 713-718-8522.