Alternative Teacher Certification Program

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:

  1. Obtain or possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  2. Complete an approved Educator Preparation Program (EPP)
  3. Register, take and pass required state certification exams for the certificate sought
  4. Apply for state certification upon the EPP’s recommendation (Fingerprinting is required as part of a criminal background check)
  5. Obtain a Texas Classroom Teacher Standard Certificate awarded through TEA


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, or Additional Certification by Exam.

Degrees and Certificates

Learn more about the Degrees and Certificates offered by this program by visiting the HCC Catalog.

Visit the HCC Catalog Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Houston Community College — Alternative Teacher Certification Program is accredited by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) oversees all aspects of the preparation and certification as well as standards of conduct of public school educators. The Texas Education Agency is the state agency that oversees primary and secondary public education. TEA provides staff support to the SBEC board.

For additional information regarding EPP accreditation ratings, pass rates, and annual performance reports, please visit Consumer Information.

For information on Supply and Demand for teachers in Texas, please read the following report from the Texas Education Agency.  

To view HCC’s Performance Over Time Reports, please click this link and scroll down the page until you see “Accountability System for Educator Preparation Annual Reports” with the latest reporting years.  Please also see our recent status reports.

To file a complaint, refer to the Student Handbook for the complaints process. If the 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 at at the bottom of the page.

HCC's ATCP is considered an alternative certification program. It is designed primarily to prepare students for employment as an educator at the primary or secondary level. The program is offered as a “non-credit” program; therefore, no semester credit hours are awarded. Completion of the program requires 1-2 years. Students receive a recommendation for their Texas Standard Classroom Certificate upon successful completion of all program requirements.

Training includes:

  • 277 contact hours of coursework
  • 30 contact hours of field-based observation
  • 42 contact hours of test preparation
  • One academic year (2 consecutive semesters) of supervised internship as a teacher-of-record under a probationary certificate at a public, charter, or any school accredited by Texas Education Agency (TEA).


  • Core Subjects (EC-6)


Middle School

  • Core Subjects (4-8)
  • English Language Arts & Reading/Social Studies (4-8)
  • Mathematics (4-8)
  • Science (4-8)
  • Social Studies (4-8)


High School/Secondary Grade Levels

  • Life Science (7-12)
  • Mathematics (7-12)  
  • Physical Science (6-12)
  • Science (7-12)
  • English Language Arts & Reading (7-12)


All Levels

  • Special Education (EC-12)
  • Physical Education (EC-12)


Supplemental (Not stand-alone certificates)

  • Bilingual Education Supplemental-Spanish 
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Supplemental 

Even though you think you might not qualify, applying for financial aid and/or scholarships may help determine what resources are available to assist you with your educational goals.

Please see the Continuing Education Financial Aid Website for any available scholarships or grants approved for the Alternative Teacher Certification Program.

Individuals may qualify for the following:

  • HCC Foundation Workforce Scholarship
  • Troops to Teachers
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
  • Applicants must be seeking Mathematics, Science, Special Education, or Bilingual Certification for WIOA funds. An Individual Referral/Cost Obligation Form will only be issued to students that have been admitted into the program. It is recommended students apply to Workforce Solutions' scholarship at least 30-45 days prior to the term start date but earlier if possible.

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 resources

New Student Orientation Combined Shape Created with Sketch. Virtual Information Session Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Additional Resources

Program Plan

 The Program offers a route to certification that allows you to teach while completing the requirements.


Clock Hours

School Weeks

ACP 4103

Cognitive Development, Literacy Strategies, & Special Education


48 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4113

Content Test Preparation


43 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4201

Pre-Service Field-based Observation


30 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4203

Pedagogy for Curriculum and Instruction


48 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4213

Science of Teaching Reading I


42 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4223

Science of Teaching Reading II


42 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4303

Managing Culturally Diverse Classrooms


48 hours


8 weeks

ATCP 4313

Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR)

Test Preparation


42 hours


8 weeks

ACP 4403

Professional Practices in an Educational Environment


 48 hours


 8 weeks

ACP 4513

Internship I (FA)


48 hours


16 weeks

ACP 4523

Internship II (SPR)


48 hours


16 weeks



Program Cost


Due Date


ACTP Tuition

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.


Information Session

The Alternative Teacher Certification Program will host an information session to recruit potential candidates to enroll in our upcoming enrollment sessions set for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. Application Deadline for Summer Term 2021 is May 7, 2021. The application deadline for Fall Term 2021 is July 23, 2021. Interested candidates must have a 2.5 GPA and a Bachelors's degree from an accredited college or university. Use the contact information below to submit an inquiry.


Information Sessions are scheduled for the following dates:

Session DateTime
Summer  June 21, 20217:00 PM
FallAugust 23, 20217:00 PM


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

Repeating Courses for Veteran and Military-Affiliated Students

Repeating Courses for Veteran and Military-Affiliated Students using VA educational or Hazlewood Act benefits may not retake a course in which a passing grade or a temporary grade of “I” is awarded. It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to know which course(s) has/have been completed. Students may check their progress by logging into their student account and viewing their advisement report (iAAR). The HCC VMASS District office is required to notify the VA of any course duplications, and appropriate changes will be made when a student has taken a class that has been deemed successfully completed.

HCCS Student Handbook p. 42

Veterans Services

Transfer / Veteran & Military-Affiliated Students:

Transfer students should submit all academic transcripts from both accredited and non-accredited schools (to include military technical school credits/transcripts). All academic transcripts (from both accredited and/or non-accredited schools) should be received and evaluated by HCC prior to selecting courses (when possible). Further information is available at VMASS Resource Centers on campus, on the website at, or by phone at 713-718-8522.

HCCS Student Handbook p. 63



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