As a student in the SMU Teacher Preparation Program, our goal is to grow and nurture you, so that you become a confident, skillful, and successful K-12 classroom teacher in any district or school in which you choose to teach.

Our mission is to support your development as an educator so that you place students at the center of your teaching practice, prioritize equity and are rooted in empathy. Placing students at the center means that you will respond to both the academic and emotional needs of students by making instructional decisions that are grounded in the latest scholarship. Being a teacher who prioritizes equity and is rooted in empathy means that you are able to recognize equitable and inequitable situations and use empathy as a tool for understanding all students.

While working toward earning initial Texas Standard Educator Certification, you will be taking supporting coursework, preparing for and taking required TExES tests, and engaging in clinical student teaching or an internship.

Advising and Contacts

Welcome to the Teacher Preparation Program

Upon completing the SMU application for the Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) and receiving admission to the program, you will receive an email titled, “Welcome to the Teacher Preparation Program.” The email provides information about your TEA ID number, TEAL (Texas Education Agency) account creation and certification tests. If you did not receive the email or have any questions, contact Jill Moore.


Graduate Advising
Dr. Amy Richardson, is Director of Teacher Preparation and the adviser for graduate-level students in the program for initial teacher certification. Contact Dr. Richardson to receive permission to enroll and review your degree plan track.

Undergraduate Advising
Prior to each semester, you must meet with Ms. Samia Siddiqui, the Simmons Undergraduate Adviser, to receive permission to enroll and review your degree plan track.
Book appointments for Monday-Thursday, 10 am – 3 pm
For meetings after 3:00, please email Ms. Siddiqui ( to schedule.

Testing and Certification
Contact Jill Moore with questions about TExES tests, practice tests and steps to certification.

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TExES Tests

While taking coursework at SMU, you will be preparing for and taking the required Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) tests. SMU requires passing scores on all required TExES tests prior to student teaching or internship.

Practice Test Requirement

Before taking a TExES test, you must first take a practice test and receive a passing score of 80% at minimum. Scores on the practice test below 80% will require retaking the practice test.

TExES Practice Test Instructions

The instructions provide steps to test approval, specific tests required for your certification area, and how to create a practice test account. Download and bookmark for easy reference.

TExES Test Registration

After passing a practice test, email Jill Moore ( to receive approval for the TExES test registration. You are well-advised to take the TExES test soon after passing the practice test. For step-by-step instructions to register, go to Texas Examination Registration.

TExES Retake Policy

If you do not pass the TExES test, additional studying is required as well as a retake of the practice test. Once sufficiently prepared to retake the TExES test, registration approval will be given. Additionally, the Texas Education Agency requires that you wait 30 days after your last TExES test date to retake a test.

Pearson Education, Inc. is the administrator of Texas educator testing. Visit Texas Educator Certification Examination Program to learn more about the various exams, preparation, registration, testing policies, alternative testing arrangements, and score reports.

Alternative Testing Arrangements

If requesting alternative testing arrangements for a TExES test, visit the information page for instructions on how to schedule.

Educator Testing Resources

Pearson - Texas Educator Exams
Texas Educator Certification Tests approved for SMU EPP
Alternative Testing Arrangements
Testing Policies

Contact Jill Moore with any questions about practice tests and TExES tests.

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Classroom Experiences

Field Experience

Students complete three Field Experience classes as an integral part of the Teacher Preparation Program. Each field experience includes observation and planning for individual tutoring, working with small groups and working with the entire class at an assigned elementary or secondary school in the area. Each field experience class has a fixed location, schedule and instructor. Students must allow sufficient travel time to and from the assigned school. Field Experience III should be taken the term before student teaching or internship.

Student Teaching and Internship

Clinical student teaching and internships are the culminating experience of the Teacher Preparation Program and required for Texas Standard Educator Certification.

For eligibility to student teach or intern, you must complete:

  • All required coursework and field experience with specified minimum GPA
  • All required state-level TExES tests with passing scores
  • Five trainings: mental health, substance abuse, youth suicide, dyslexia, and professionalism
  • Student teacher/internship application
  • Criminal history background check (completed through the district where you are student teaching or employed for internship)

As a student teacher, you will have an opportunity to observe the teacher and the students, plan motivating lessons, assess student learning, reflect on his/her own progress toward effective teaching, and eventually take on the responsibility of full day teaching. Student teaching is one full term and will require enrollment in the Student Teaching course.

As an intern, you are hired as teacher of record of a classroom for a full academic year. It will be your responsibility to search for an internship position with a local accredited school. If you would like to pursue an internship, please schedule a meeting with Dr. Richardson to discuss your readiness and expectations. Once you are hired, immediately contact Dr. Richardson to receive next steps to apply for an Intern or Probationary Certificate.

Whether a student teacher or intern, you will enroll in the course and be assigned a field supervisor by the Teacher Preparation Program Director. Prior to the start of the school term, you will meet with your supervisor as well as your campus mentor or cooperating teacher. The supervisor will observe, evaluate, and confer with you on a regular basis regarding teaching and planning to emphasize continual growth.

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Certificate Requirements

Upon completion of the program, you will be notified to apply for Standard Educator Certification. To be eligible for recommendation for a Standard Educator Certificate you must:

  • Complete all program requirements, including coursework, field experience, specified trainings, and student teaching or internship
  • Pass the state certification exams
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Apply for certification through your TEAL (Texas Education Agency Login) account
  • Complete fingerprinting as part of a national criminal background check

Additional information about certification can be found at Texas Education Agency.

Instructions to Apply for Standard Educator Certificate

  1. The candidate must apply at:
    • Login
    • Click on “View My Educator Certification Account”
    • On the left tool bar click the following:
      - Applications
      - Standard Certificate Texas Program

      - Apply
      - Agree to the affidavit
      - For the Entity, choose Southern Methodist University (University Based) (NOT Alt-Cert) 
      *** If Alt-Cert was chosen, apply again choosing University-Based. Then, contact TEA to move payment to the correct application. SMU can’t approve an Alt-Cert application.***

      NOTE: Please be sure to type your name exactly how you want it to appear on your certificate. Whatever you type under the “Educator Profile” is what will appear on your certificate.

  2. SBEC must receive the correct application fee from the candidate for the application to be processed. Fees are paid online during the application process.

  3. Once the candidate has completed their sections, Southern Methodist University will be able to view and process pending applications. Recommendations will not be processed until SBEC has received the initial application fee required.

  4. Once processed, the credential will be issued and placed on the website under Official Record of Educator Certificates. Candidates may search and download a copy of their certificate from there or through their TEAL account.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get approval to take a TExES Test?
    After you take a practice test, contact Jill Moore ( to verify readiness to take the TExES. Once verified, you will receive approval to register for the TExES and an email with instructions for your next steps.
  • What if I fail a TExES test?
    If you do not pass the TExES test, additional studying is required as well as a retake of the practice test. Once sufficiently prepared to retake the TExES test, registration approval will be given. Additionally, the Texas Education Agency requires that you wait 30 days after your last TExES test date to retake a test.
  • How do I know what courses I need to take to stay on track for certification?
    To review the timeline of your coursework and field experiences, students taking undergraduate courses should contact advisor, Samia Siddiqui, and those taking graduate-level courses should contact advisor, Amy Richardson.
  • I'm trying to enroll in a class and it says I'm not allowed to. Why?
    Permissions for course enrollment may be required. Contact the undergraduate advisor, Samia Siddiqui, or the graduate-level advisor, Amy Richardson.
  • Can I choose where I student teach and what grade level I am in?
    To ensure you are placed in an approved school district, Dr. Amy Richardson, the Director of Teacher Preparation, oversees school placement. During the student teacher application process, you can request the subject and grade level, as long as they are within the parameters of your certification area.

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Teacher Preparation Program

  • Provides details concerning requirements and expectations while in the program.

Student Teacher, Residency and Internship

  • Provides information for clinical student teachers, interns, field supervisors, campus mentors and cooperating teachers.

Master of Education

  • Provides information specific to Master of Education programs.

SMU Student Handbook

  • Provides important information for all admitted students to SMU.

Informative Links

State-level Educator Testing

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Policies and Governance

Background Check Policy

Prior to admission to the Teacher Preparation Program, a candidate who may have a previous criminal history, has the right to engage in a preliminary background check evaluation with the Texas Education Agency. For further information, visit the TEA Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation-FAQs.

The Texas Education Agency conducts a national criminal history check on all applicants for certification and our district partners require that candidates must undergo a criminal history background check prior to engaging in any type of field work at schools with children. For further information, visit the TEA National Criminal History Checks FAQs.

Ethics and Conduct Policies

The Educators' Code of Ethics is set forth in Texas Administrative Code to provide rules for standard practices and ethical conduct toward students, professional colleagues, school officials, parents, and members of the community. All SMU pre-service teachers must read and acknowledge the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators when they enter the Teacher Preparation Program and prior to student teaching.

All SMU pre-service teachers must read and abide by the SMU Code of Conduct while working in their field placements at area schools.

Complaint Policy

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) governs several boards and operates under the rules and regulations called the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). In order to file a complaint, one must be in accordance with TAC Chapter 228.70 Complaints and Investigations (b)(4).

No matter the nature of the complaint, the first step is to contact Dr. Amy Richardson, the Director of the Teacher Preparation Program. Dr. Richardson may request that you submit the complaint in writing.

Types of Complaints

Teacher Preparation Program

If the complaint is in regard to any aspect of the program or anyone associated with the program, once the TPP committee has heard and received the written submission describing the complaint, the TPP committee will review it and respond within two weeks with a resolution.

Pearson Testing Service

If the complaint is in regard to any aspect of TExES test registration, administration, scoring, etc., once the TPP committee has heard and received the written submission, the committee will review it and respond within two weeks with a resolution or instructions for contacting the testing service.

State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) / TEA

If the complaint is in regard to any aspect of state certification requirements or anyone associated with SBEC/TEA, once the TPP committee has heard and received the written submission, the committee will review it and respond within two weeks with a resolution or instructions for directing the complaint to the appropriate department/persons.

For details about the TAC 228.70 complaint procedures, visit Complaints and Investigations.

Exit Policy

The state requires all educator preparation programs to have an exit policy for the dismissal of candidates that is published, reviewed and signed by candidates. The requirement is found in 19 TAC §228.20(h).

Dismissal from the SMU Teacher Preparation Program

Failure to meet established minimum acceptable standards of academic or disciplinary performance might result in probation, suspension, or dismissal. Dismissal from the program may be based on grounds including but not limited to:

  1. Failure to meet coursework requirements.
  2. Failure to abide by policies and/or procedures established by the Southern Methodist University Teacher Preparation Program and/or program requirements established by the State Board for Educator Certification as published in the Texas Administrative Code.
  3. Any action deemed a violation of the Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators, and/or;
  4. Any action deemed a violation of the Southern Methodist University Student Code of Conduct; and/or;
  5. Any action deemed a violation of school district and/or campus policy during field-based experiences or clinical teaching or internship.

Withdrawal from the SMU Teacher Preparation Program

A candidate who voluntarily decides to withdraw from the Teacher Preparation Program must send a written notice of that intent to their Department of Teaching and Learning Academic Advisor. The candidate also needs to submit a signed form provided by the program. Withdrawal from Southern Methodist University translates to withdrawal from the Teacher Preparation Program.


Information about the Simmons Educator Preparation Programs Advisory Council can be found at Simmons Academic Governance.

Employment Projections

The Texas Education Agency estimates that in the next decade Texas will continue to experience high demand for certified schoolteachers to fill positions across the state.

According to TEA, for the 2020-21 school year the official teacher shortage content areas and disciplines in Texas include:

    Bilingual/English as a Second Language (elementary and secondary)
    Special Education (elementary and secondary)
    Career and Technical Education (secondary)
    Technology Applications and Computer Science (elementary and secondary)
    Mathematics (secondary)

The approved shortage areas help administrators support the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers.

The Texas Workforce Commission projects that between 2018 and 2028 demand for teachers in Texas across grade levels will increase by 11% compared to a predicted 4% increase in teacher demand at the national level (Texas Career Check interactive Tool, The Labor Market and Career Information Department, TWC; Feb. 15, 2021).

Texas Employment Trends for:
Elementary School Teachers
Middle School Teachers
Secondary School Teachers


As an approved educator preparation program, SMU annually provides the Texas Education Agency and State Board for Educator Certification information about our program as mandated in Texas Education Code Section 21.0452.

In an effort to make EPP data more consumable and accessible to the public, TEA has created an Educator Preparation Data Dashboard. This multi-source dashboard allows users to find answers to their questions on a range of topics, from general EPP information to specific accountability indicators.

  • Accountability System for Education Preparation
  • Consumer Information for Admission Trends
  • Performance Indicators from Application to Retention
  • Certification Exam Pass Rates for Content Exams
  • Certification Pass Rates for Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities
  • Campus Leadership Feedback
  • Field Observation Frequency and Duration

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