Alternative Certification Program

Houston Christian University’s Alternative Certification Program (ACP) is an alternate route to attaining initial teacher certification in Texas. The ACP program has been approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as complying with the US Department of Education’s rules concerning criteria for an acceptable alternative route to certification program under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The program provides the opportunity for a student with a bachelor’s degree who meets all of the HCU admissions requirements for the ACP program to be employed as a full-time teacher in area school districts while completing the required coursework for the program.

Once the student has completed the 21 hours of required coursework, the student may apply those hours toward HCU’s  Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. The MEd degree requires a minimum of 36 hours.

Alternative Certification Program Concentration Areas

Students in the Alternative Certification Program may select one of the following certification areas:

Early Childhood-Grade 6   
EC-6 Core Subjects
EC-6 Bilingual
Grades 7-12
English, Language Arts, & Reading 7-12
Mathematics 7-12
Social Studies 7-12
History 7-12
Life Science 7-12
Science 7-12
Grades EC-12
Physical Education EC-12
Art EC-12
Music EC-12
Spanish EC-12

Alternative Certification Program Coursework Requirements

What will I experience at HCU?

  • Faculty of professionals
  • Small classes where you’re known as an individual
  • Supervision and support by a University professional
  • Pass rate for the PPR certification exam is 100%
  • Hiring rate for HCU teacher education students from undergraduate, graduate and Alternative Certification Program programs close to 100%
  • Recent rehire or retention rates of Alternative Certification Program teachers after their first year has been 100%

Program Overview

The Alternative Certification Program is a total of 21 hours. Three hours are internship and 18 hours are graduate-level professional education coursework designed to prepare students for positions as teachers.
In addition to being accepted into the University Alternative Certification Program, a student must be accepted into the Graduate Teacher Education Program, which requires a 2.5 GPA undergraduate or 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of University coursework.

HCU offers certification programs in the following areas. (All certifications require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university as well as the following coursework requirements):

  • Elementary Education (Early Childhood-Grade 6)
  • Bilingual Elementary Education (Early Childhood-Grade 6 Bilingual) for Spanish speakers
  • Grades 4-8 (Social Studies, or English Language Arts and Reading)
  • Grades 7-12 (English Language Arts, Composite Social Studies, History, Speech and Journalism)
  • All-Level grades EC-12 (Physical Education, Art, Spanish, or Music)
    • At least 12 hours of university coursework in these certifications
  • Grades 4-8 (Math and Science)
  • Grades 7-12 (Math and Science)
    • At least 15 hours of university coursework in these certifications

The six required courses (18 hours) vary by certification area. These courses allow students to learn effective teaching strategies, understand learning theories and discipline management systems, experience fieldwork, and establish a firm foundation for success as a teacher. Students must also complete a one-year supervised internship as a full-time teacher in a public, charter, or accredited private school. This is a paid teaching position which the student is responsible for securing.

Additional information on the Alternative Certification Program Internship process

How do I become certified?

Candidates who are admitted to the program and pass the content area (TExES) in their certification field will be eligible for employment at a school district as a teacher. Once employed, HCU will approve students for probationary certification. When the student completes the required coursework, passes the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Texas Certification Exam (TExES), and successfully completes a supervised year of employment as a teacher in a school, he or she is eligible for recommendation for the standard teacher certificate.

Where can I go from here?

Once a student has completed the 18 hours of required coursework, he or she may apply those hours toward the requirements for one of the master’s degrees offered by the HCU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

For additional information about the Alternative Certification Program, contact the Graduate School.