Q: A distinguished community member is interested in teaching a CTE course in our Career Readiness Program. He would be a great addition to our team and asset for our high school students. Upon reviewing his credentials, however, we discovered that he does not have a bachelor’s degree. Are we able to hire him?
A: Yes, provided that the school board issues a teaching permit based on qualifications certified by the superintendent and the community member only teaches a career and technical education course.
The Texas Education Code generally requires state educators to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to become a certified teacher. An exception to this general rule exists, however, which allows school districts to issue teaching permits and employ individuals who have not yet obtained a teaching certificate under certain circumstances. See Tex. Educ. Code § 21.055(a). One such circumstance occurs when a school district seeks to employ a person who has not earned a bachelor’s degree to teach only career and technical education (CTE) classes. See Tex. Educ. Code § 21.055(d-1).
The Texas Education Code expressly provides that: “A school district board of trustees may issue a school district teaching permit to a person who will teach courses only in career and technical education based on qualifications certified by the superintendent of the school district.” Tex. Educ. Code § 21.055(d-1). The Code defines “qualifications” to include “demonstrated subject matter expertise.” A candidate’s formal training, education, and professional work experience may demonstrate whether he or she has subject matter expertise. “Holding an active professional relevant industry license, certification, or registration” might likewise illustrate expertise. The superintendent must also certify that the individual “has undergone a criminal background check and is capable of proper classroom management.”
A CTE instructor may teach career and educational courses immediately after the board issues the teaching permit. Tex. Educ. Code § 21.055(d-1). The board must, however, promptly notify the Commissioner of Education identifying the hire by name and including the employee’s qualifications and the course that the employee will teach. A sample School District Teaching Permit form is located online at: https://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Educators/Certification/School_District_Teaching_Permits/.