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CTE Pay and Certification Requirements

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Hiring and retaining qualified career and technical education (CTE) teachers and knowing how much to pay them can be a challenge.

In response to an increasingly widening skills gap, CTE has become a major focus, both in Texas and nationally, over the last several years. Texas’ State Board of Education adopted new Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for CTE that became effective beginning with the 2017–2018 school year. Then, in 2018, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) was signed into law. During this short time, demand for qualified teachers to cover the 16 industry areas, as listed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), has continued to grow.

Degree Requirements, Work Experience, and Qualifications

As of the 2020–2021 school year, TEA issues nine career and technical education certificates, but the prerequisites for each have varying degree, work experience, and licensure/certification requirements.

A bachelor’s degree is required for all certificates with two exceptions. Health Science requires an associate degree or higher, and no degree is required for Trade and Industrial Education. These areas also require a professional license or certificate. Work experience is required for three areas—Health Science, Marketing, and Trade and Industrial Education. Detailed guidelines can be found on TEA’s Career and Technical Education page.

For initial certification, candidates must also meet the TEA requirements for becoming a classroom teacher in Texas. Those in possession of an existing and valid classroom teaching certificate can add any of the listed CTE certificates by passing an exam with the caveat that they also have any required experience and/or licensure or certification.

Determining Pay

TASB HR Services fields numerous calls each year regarding how to best credit CTE experience for placement on a salary structure. For a detailed discussion on salary placement for these jobs, refer to the HRX article Salary Placement for Career and Technical Education Teachers. HR Services plans to survey districts on CTE stipend practices in the spring so districts can have the most current information as they work on pay planning for next year.


In just a few short years, a widening skills gap has propelled career and technical education into the forefront of Texas public education. Since CTE jobs will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future, knowing who to hire and how much to pay the individual should give districts a hiring advantage over peers.

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Keith McLemore
Keith McLemore
Senior HR and Compensation Consultant

Keith McLemore joined HR Services in 2015 and assists districts with compensation planning and development. He has 17 years of experience traveling the state supporting public education employees.

McLemore received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University, both with a focus on research analysis and design. He is a SHRM-CP.

HR Services

TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.

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