To move up in the teaching world, most high-level positions require higher level education. Many teachers have aspirations of becoming a principal. How you become a principal in Texas is multi-step process that can take years to complete, but once you are finished, you end up with the satisfaction of running the ins and outs of a school, managing and helping teachers become successful, and helping students reach their full potential.
Texas principal requirements start with a valid teaching certification. Then, Texas requires you to be a teacher for at least two years, but specific districts could require more years of teaching before pursuing becoming a principal. During your teaching years, taking on more leadership roles could give you some of the leadership experience that principals need. Once you have taught for at least two years, Texas principal requirements dictate that you will need a master's degree that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Some districts encourage teachers to seek out their master's degree, and some even offer incentives, like full or partial tuition reimbursement, for such programs.
The next step in becoming a principal is completing an approved principal educator program. Each region in Texas has its own list of approved programs from accredited universities and include programs for post-baccalaureate and alternative/accelerated to fit your schedule. Once all of these steps are complete, the last task is passing the principal TEXES test.
Even though Texas has very specific principal requirements, many districts have their own special requirements for candidates looking for a principal job. In many districts, to become a principal, you might have to be an assistant principal first. This can give you the experience of running some of the school functions as an administrator. Also, if you're looking to become a principal in a fast-growing district, gaining an assistant principal position for a brand new school can give you the experience of setting the ground work for a successful school.
Districts can sometimes look for other leadership roles and positions while considering you as a principal candidate. Taking on a leadership role while you are still a teacher, such as a team leader or a department head, can build your resume when looking to eventually become a principal. Another leadership role that you might consider is working in administration as a curriculum coordinator. These are leaders who control various content, such as math and English, and help department heads in schools with their curriculum and the teaching of TEKs within a district. It's a way to manage multiple people at various schools, which can give you the management experience needed for running a school as a principal.
Becoming a principal is not a short journey. It can take a couple of years between getting your master's degree, gaining the leadership experience needed, and preparing for the principal test. Once you become a principal, you will be able to shape a school to be a positive learning environment for teachers and students to thrive.
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