Compensation for Prior Work Experience: Texas

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


The state should encourage districts to provide compensation for related prior subject-area work experience.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Compensation for Prior Work Experience: Texas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Texas's policies

In Texas, local districts are encouraged to compensate teachers for related prior subject-area work experience. "For each year of work experience...up to a maximum of two years, a certified career or technology education teacher is entitled to a salary step credit as if the work experience were teaching experience." 


Recommendations for Texas

Expand policy to encourage local districts to compensate all new teachers with relevant prior work experience.
Texas should not limit this policy to certified career or technology education teachers. Such compensation would be attractive to career changers in other fields, such as in the STEM subjects.

State response to our analysis

Texas noted that state policy offers certified career or technology education teachers the opportunity to teach "CTE-STEM" (Career Technology Education - Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects. In Texas, the fourth credit toward meeting the math and science graduation requirement allows students to take "CTE-STEM" course. Science CTE STEM courses include: Engineering Mathematics, Statistics and Risk Management, Scientific Research and Design, Anatomy and Physiology, Engineering Design and Problem Solving, Medical Microbiology, Pathophysiology, Advanced Animal Science, Advanced Biotechnology, Advanced Plant and Soil Science, Food Science, Forensic Science and Engineering Mathematics. Mathematics CTE (STEM) courses include: Engineering Mathematics, Statistics and Risk Management.

Texas also pointed out that the Commissioner's Rules on Creditable Years of Service compensate teachers for United States military service, provided certain criteria are met. Years of services with the Texas Department of Corrections, agricultural extension service agents' experience, as well as years of service with the Texas Department of State Health Services—formerly known as MHMR—are recognized for salary increment purposes.

Research rationale

Of particular concern for the teaching profession are the quality and number of teachers available in math, science and special education and of those serving high-poverty students. See the following:

Debra Hare, et al., "Teacher Shortages in the Midwest: Current Trends and Future Issues," Center for School Change, University of Minnesota, 2000; Paul Harrington, "Attracting New Teachers Requires Changing Old Rules," The College Board Review, 2001; 192: 6-11; Patrick M. Shields, et al., "The Status of the Teaching Profession 2001," The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, 2001.

Much of the blame for the difficulty in hiring people with technical expertise falls on the single salary schedule that rewards only experience and degree level. See D. Goldhaber and Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, "Teacher Salary Structure and the Decision to Teach in Public Schools: An Analysis of Recent College Graduates," Center on Reinventing Public Education, 2005.

People with technical skills are in high demand in the non-teacher labor market. See Cathleen Stasz and Dominic J. Brewer, "Academic Skills at Work: Two Perspectives," Rand Corporation, 1999. See also Burton A. Weisbrod and Peter Karpoff, "Monetary Returns to College Education, Student Ability and College Quality," Review of Economics and Statistics, 1968; 50(4): 491-97.

It has also been shown that teachers who teach technical subject matters have higher rates of attrition. See M. Podgursky, et al., "The Academic Quality of Public School Teachers: An Analysis of Entry and Exit Behavior," Economics of Education Review, 2004; 23: 507-18.

In addition, research has shown that math and science teachers—both men and women—with high ACT scores are the first to leave the teaching profession. See Sheila N. Kirby, et al., "Staffing At-risk School Districts in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Rand, 1999.

See also Robin R. Henke and Lisa Zahn, "Attrition of New Teachers Among Recent College Graduates," Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Reports, U.S. Department of Education, 2001.