Q: What exactly is an ACP and is ACT-RGV an ACP?
A: An Alternative Certification Program is an Educational Preparation Program (EPP) that provides an alternate route to earning a Standard Certificate, Alternative Certification began in Texas in 1986 as a creation of the Texas Legislature, to provide alternate routes for those seeking teacher certification in Texas. Yes, ACT-RGV is a private Alternative Certification Program (ACP), fully accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). ACT-Rio Grande Valley (ACT-RGV) opened in 2001 and was the second private ACP approved in the state of Texas.
Q: Are all ACPs alike?
A: No! There are a wide variety of programs: university-based, school district sponsored, distance learning, online, etc. ACT- RGV encourages you to visit the TEA website at www.tea.state.tx.us and view the accredited programs in the Rio Grande Valley. When you select ACT-RGV, you will find that we focus on building a relationship with you, providing you with the highest quality preparation, and personally working with you during your preparation for entering the classroom and throughout your internship.
Q: What type of preparation does ACT-RGV provide for learning how to teach?
A: The ACT-RGV Preparation Institute (training) provides research-based instruction that is designed to help you develop skills and learn strategies that are essential for making a smooth transition into teaching. Institutes are offered in the spring and twice during the summer and are posted on our website. Classes are held in the evening and on Saturday.
Q: How long is my training valid if I do not start teaching right away?
A: You are always able to revisit any part of training; however, if it has been more than 3 years, you will be required to repeat training at a nominal cost.
Q: What is PACT?
A: The Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) is simply a route to take certification exams.
Q: Does taking the PACT ensure admittance into the program?
A: No. Taking the PACT does not ensure acceptance into the program.
Q: Can I be certified in more than one area?
A: Your transcript evaluation may determine that you are qualified to teach more than one subject area and you may challenge one or all of those contents; however, your initial certification can only be in one content area. Once you have earned your standard certification, you may add additional content areas to your state certification.
Q: I am eager to begin teaching! What are the things that I must complete in order to be hired?
A: There are six steps to follow before starting your career in teaching. Refer to www.actrgv.com. Click on "Acceptance" and follow "Path to Certification".
Q: Do I have to have a teaching job to start the Preparation Institute?
A: No. The Institute is designed to be a pre-service preparation program prior to your internship. It introduces you to instructional strategies and equips you with the skills for successfully stepping into the classroom. TEA requires that you complete training before you begin teaching.
Q: I have a criminal record. Will that prevent me from becoming a teacher?
A: A certification program is not authorized to access your criminal history; however, most individuals who have committed a felony are not eligible for their Texas teaching certificate. The Texas Education Agency provides an avenue to determine your eligibility for certification. Go to www.tea.state.tx.us and visit "Request for Preliminary Criminal History Evaluation" link for more details.
Q: Does ACT-RGV place me in a school or help me get a teaching position?
A: ACT-RGV does not place you in a school, unless you are a Clincial Teacher (please refer to "Internship - Teaching to Learn" tab on our homepage and scroll down to "another option - Clinical Teaching".) For those seeking full-time teaching positions in order to start their two-semester internship, we provide guidance in determining a certification area for you that offers the best opportunity for being hired.
Q: What if I do not secure a teaching position or am nervous about starting out as a full-time teacher?
A: We understand the challenge of being hired as a beginning teacher. Although there may be a shortage of teachers in certain content areas, it is still very competitive to secure a position. In anticipation of this, ACT-RGV is approved to offer another route for teacher certification: Clinical Teaching (please refer to "Internship - Teaching to Learn" tab on our homepage and scroll down to "another option - Clinical Teaching".)
Q: In a nutshell, what will I have to do to complete the ACT-RGV program and become a certified teacher?
A: Visit our homepage at www.actrgv.com. Click on the "Acceptance" tab and follow the steps on the "Path to Certification."
Q: When am I "certified"?
A: You are initially certified "Probationary Certificate) when you have passed your certification exam(s), completed training, completed field-based observations and are hired to teach. Your Standard Certificate is approved once your have completed all requirements of Internship.