By Ellen Wilson

Blue Teacher Standing In Front Of A Blank Chalkboard And Using A Pointer Stick While Teaching A Single Student Clipart Illustration ImageSo, you want to teach in the Lone Star state. It’s a good time to be looking at this career in Texas; the Texas Education Agency reports that shortages in certain subject areas mean your services are needed.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 53,000 new jobs for high school teachers and 188,000 for grade school teachers over the next decade.

What are the requirements to teach in rodeo country? And what can you expect to earn?

To become a teacher in Texas, you’ll begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in the subject area you want to teach; unlike some states in the U.S., there is not a specific teacher education program for Texas. Instead, you’ll complete an education preparation program.

In many cases, if you earn your degree in Texas, you can do this at the same school where you earn your bachelor’s. If you earn your degree elsewhere, see the Texas list of approved programs on the state’s website.

After you’re approved by the education prep program, you’ll take a teacher certification exam. Completing the test will certify you to teach your chosen subject area for specific grade levels. Once you’re certified, you’ll register with the state and undergo a background check and fingerprinting.

Only then, will you be eligible for teaching jobs in your chosen subject area and grade levels.

Teaching is a rewarding career, most teachers agree, but you’ll get your greatest satisfaction from helping your students get a good start in life.

What does a teacher earn in Texas? Like in many states, teacher salary in Texas begins at a state-mandated minimum base scale that increases based on years of experience. The minimum base rate for new teachers is $27,320 a year. When you have 20 years of experience in Texas under your belt, your minimum base rate will be $44,270. But those are just the minimums.

Pay varies by district, but most districts use supplements, based on your certification and education level, among other factors, to increase that base. If your certification is in a subject area or area of specialization that is in particular demand, you’ll earn more. And if you have education beyond your bachelor’s degree, you’ll earn more. If you teach in an area where there are shortages, you may earn more, as well.

Where you teach is a factor that will affect your pay. For example, beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree in Lubbock earn a minimum of $37,750 per year, while those with the same experience and education earn $45,100 in Dallas.

Smaller districts in rural areas can’t afford to pay as well, but you’ll also find the cost of living significantly lower in these areas.

Some Texas legislators, like state senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, are pushing for education reforms that include better pay for teachers to keep the economy of Texas strong.

They understand that attracting the kind of teacher candidates who can excite children about learning and give them the kinds of educational advantages they’ll need to compete in an economy based on new technologies, they’ll need to pay them well. So, teaching in the Lone Star state may become more attractive in the years to come.