Undergraduate FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions From Undergraduates

If you have questions not answered by this page or the links in the sidebar, call 512 232 2770 to set up an appointment with an advisor or email us at advisor@uteach.utexas.edu

1. Do I have to change my major to work toward teacher certification?

No. Certification courses can be added to any UT major, in any college. Make an advising appointment to go over the details. Call 512 232 2770.

2. I’m a College of Natural Sciences student. Is it better to switch to one of the teaching option degrees or keep working toward my current major?

That depends on the individual student’s circumstances. In most cases, following one of the teaching option degrees is recommended, since all coursework for a BS degree and certification are included. This generally means fewer hours overall. See a UTeach advisor to determine which plan is best for you.

3. If I follow a teaching option degree plan, could I still compete in my field or go to graduate school if I decide not to teach?

Yes. Under the teaching options you take the same majors-level courses as students in the non-teaching options. This makes you competitive with students in the non-teaching option for the same jobs and graduate programs in your field. Also, the skills you gain with UTeach help to set you apart from other applicants. Graduate program requirements vary. Speak to the Graduate Advisor for the program to determine the coursework expected of applicants.

4. Can I do a BSA to get certified?

Yes, you can chose the BSA with the transcripted UTeach certificate. However, the BSA generally does not include all required courses for state-approved teacher certification. Talk to your UTeach advisor for details.

5. I’ve heard that students start teaching their first semester in the program. Is that true?

Yes, that is true. In Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching (UTS 101), students start to write lesson plans and teach small units to elementary school children the very first semester in the program. With a partner, students visit elementary schools to observe twice, and return on three separate occasions to teach short lessons with a partner. This way, students get a very early idea of what it's like to teach and can decide if they would like to continue toward certification. Read more about early field experiences in UTeach.

6. The courses seem to have significant time requirements. How can I fit the time into my already packed schedule?

Fitting it in will be easier than you think. For the first two courses (Step 1 and Step 2), just make sure that at least one day a week you have a 2.5-hour block of time to go out to schools. Elementary schools generally close at 2:30; middle schools close at 3:30. The other courses in the professional development sequence (in particular Classroom Interactions and Project Based Instruction) will require significantly more time outside of the classroom. Students are generally able to work required teaching and projects into their schedule just as they would for any other course.

7. What are the UTeach courses like? Are they hard?

This depends on your level of interest and engagement. You may find that the courses require thought processes different from your other courses; many students have said that they find the courses engaging and enjoyable.

8. Composite Science certifies me in 4 different science areas. Can I work toward certification in just one of those areas?

Composite Science certification is the most marketable of the available science options, so that's the one we offer. It's compatible with most science degrees, too. Let an advisor show you how the requirements overlap.

9. I just want middle grades math certification; why do I need to take calculus, statistics, and other more advanced math courses?

If you’re working toward the completion of a BS or BA in the Mathematics Teaching option, the math courses you’re required to take for degree completion help prepare you to compete in your field should you decide not to teach. The required mathematics courses are also intended to deepen the foundational mathematics knowledge needed to fully understand and master the middle school mathematics curriculum.  Moreover, the required courses enable you to make important connections between the various mathematics concepts taught in middle school, thus affording a "big picture" view of the middle school mathematics curriculum. Deep content knowledge is a significant part of the UTeach model, no matter what grades students are in.

10. Is there an application?

Undergraduate students start the UTeach program simply by registering for UTS101 (Step 1). If you decide to continue, an application to the program and a mandatory orientation session are required for admission to the student teaching semester. For more information, see the Admission section of the Student Handbook

11. What exams do I have to take and when do I take them?

You will have to take two exams:  Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities and another test corresponding to your certification area such as 7-12 Mathematics or 7-12 Science. You will not be authorized to take the exams until you are admitted to Apprentice Teaching. This means you have earned a grade of at least a C- in the required UTeach courses, have completed the courses in your content specialty, and are prepared for both exams. It’s never too early, though, to learn more about the exams.

 In the Apprentice Teaching seminar (UTS170), you will receive guidance on how to study for the exams, as well as more information about supporting materials. 

12. Will I be able to get a job?

The demand for math, science, and engineering teachers is still very high, not only in Texas, but across the U.S. UTeach has a strong placement record and high retention in the profession. It’s also a well-respected program nationwide—dozens of universities are starting UTeach programs across the country because our graduates are exceptional teachers. The UTeach program also supports students through the job search, with coaching on all aspects of the process, such as resume writing, best interview practices, etc. In addition, the UTeach program supports graduates through their first year of teaching with mentoring, professional development, and more.

13. Where can I get more information about the job market?

All students in the Student Teaching seminar receive the current Job Search Handbook for Educators, compiled by the American Association for Employment in Education. This publication annually reports on the demand for educators in certain areas, with educators in the STEM fields consistently among the most sought after. In addition, the United States Department of Labor publishes their Occupational Outlook Handbook, with a section for high school teachers. 

14. Where can I get more information about how well UTeach-prepared educators do once they start teaching?

The UTeach Natural Sciences program has kept data on our alums from the very beginning. Currently, the UTeach Institute, which manages replication of the UTeach model, publishes statistics about all UTeach programs. In addition, there are now independent studies confirming the efficacy of the UTeach model.