Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Texas

Hiring Policy


The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was reorganized in 2021.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Texas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Texas's policies

Provisional/Emergency License(s) Availability: Texas allows teachers to teach under an emergency permit. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and must complete specific coursework requirements in the area of the permit. The hiring district must submit the applicant's certification plan in the area of the emergency permit. The emergency permit is also available to certified teachers to teach out-of-field. Applicants with a current teaching certificate must have passed the applicable content test.

A Temporary Classroom Assignment Permit (TCAP) can be issued to secondary teachers to teach out-of-field. Applicants for the TCAP must have completed 15 semester hours in the specific subject area and a TCAP can be activated for no more than four class periods.

The state also offers a nonrenewable permit. Local superintendents may issue nonrenewable permits to applicants who have completed all educator preparation program requirements except passage of all licensure assessments.  

Educator preparation candidates who are eligible for a paid internship can apply for an Intern or Probationary certificate. Applicants for these certificates must pass all applicable licensure tests first.  

Provisional/Emergency License Validity Period: Texas' emergency permit is valid for up to one year, and may be renewed for up to one additional year if the emergency permit was used for fewer than 90 calendar days. Test requirements and at least seven semester hours are required for renewal. The emergency permit can be extended without meeting these renewal requirements if the superintendent receives hardship approval.

The nonrenewable permit is available for one year. The TCAP is valid for one year and is nonrenewable, unless it was activated for less than 90 calendar days. It is unclear what is required to renew this permit.

The Intern certificate is valid for one year and may not be renewed. The Probationary certificate is valid for one year and may be renewed once. Renewal requirements are unclear.

COVID-19 State Policy: Texas has implemented the following changes to its rules regarding Provisional and Emergency Licensure. Candidates who have completed all program requirements except testing requirements will be issued a one-year probationary certificate. COVID-19 policies do not affect the state's grade in Provisional and Emergency Licensure.

Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers: Because licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers are scored in Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers, only the state's policies regarding emergency/provisional license(s) are considered as part of this goal.


Recommendations for Texas

Ensure that all teachers pass required subject-matter licensing tests before they enter the classroom.
Although Texas's policy of requiring that the emergency permit be used for fewer than 90 calendar days and requiring tests to be passed before the emergency permit can be renewed minimizes the risks inherent in having teachers in classrooms who lack appropriate subject-matter knowledge; the state could strengthen its policy by requiring all teachers to meet subject-matter licensure requirements prior to entering the classroom.

State response to our analysis

Texas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Updated: March 2021

How we graded

6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure 

  • Content knowledge: The state:
    • Should not, under any circumstance, award a license to a teacher who has not passed all required content licensing tests.
    • If it finds it necessary to confer emergency or provisional licenses to teachers who have not passed the required licensing tests, should do so only under limited and exceptional circumstances and ensure that all requirements are met within one year.
Content Knowledge
The total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn full credit if all new teachers are required to pass each required content test as a condition of receiving provisional or emergency licensure, or the state does not issue emergency or provisional licenses. A state cannot get full credit in this goal if content tests are not required as part of its initial licensure policy.
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it grants emergency or provisional licenses to teachers who have not passed the required content tests, but such licenses are granted for no more than one year and are not renewable. OR The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it grants an emergency or provisional license to a licensed teacher to teach out-of-field for no more than one-year without passing the applicable content test.
  • One-half credit: The state will earn up to one-half of a point if it allows for emergency or provisional licenses to be granted for longer than one year, but the state has strong requirements for applicants (e.g., content area major or preparation program completion without requiring a content test). The state will also earn one-half of a point if the state does not issue emergency/provisional licenses, or issues emergency/provisional licenses with strong requirements, but content tests are not required as part of the state's overall initial licensure policy.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it maintains minimum requirements that fall short of the requirements listed above or only offers emergency or provisional licenses to teachers under "extenuating circumstances."

Research rationale

Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year.[1] For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.[2]

While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.

[1] Research often finds a correlation between teachers' content knowledge and their effectiveness. For how this effect can play out in elementary ELA, see: Carlisle, J. F., Correnti, R., Phelps, G., & Zeng, J. (2009). Exploration of the contribution of teachers' knowledge about reading to their students' improvement in reading. Reading and Writing, 22(4), 457-486.; For how this effect can occur in secondary STEM subjects, see: Monk, D. (1994). Subject-area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 13(2), 125-145; For broader information about teacher qualities and student achievement, see: Goldhaber, D. D., & Brewer, D. J. (1997). Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? Assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity. Journal of Human Research, 32(3), 505-523.; National Council on Teacher Quality. (2010). The all-purpose science teacher: An analysis of loopholes in state requirements for high school science teachers. Retrieved from
[2] Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See: Hanushek, E. A. (1992). The trade-off between child quantity and quality. Journal of Political Economy, 100(1), 84-117.; Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class size of 20. Hanushek, E. A. (2011). The economic value of higher teacher quality. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 466-479. Retrieved from