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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

When is the application due?
Please refer to the application due date provided on the tH-ACCESS webpage.

Where can I find the application?
On our website: www.uh.edu/nsm/teachhouston/students/th-access/

Is funding available?
Yes, currently participants admitted into the upcoming cohort may receive support for tuition and fees through scholarships ranging up to $12,000.

Does this come with a teaching commitment?
Yes. If you receive NSF scholarship support, you will commit to 2 years of teaching for each year of scholarship support in a high-need school district.

How long do I have to complete the teaching commitment?
You have 8 years after graduation to complete the teaching requirement.

What grade levels will I be able to teach upon completion?
You will be certified to teach grades 7–12 in mathematics, computer science or general science depending on your STEM expertise.

Will I be able to work during the program?
Working will be difficult as the first semester is tightly packed with observations, teaches, and multiple class responsibilities. During the second semester, you will be student teaching as if you are the classroom teacher. This will be a full-time responsibility during regular school-day hours.

How many students are in a cohort?
15–20 students make up the cohort classes.

What is the Teacher Interest Group?
The Teacher Interest Group is a group that meets once a month to collaborate with each other to discuss education topics, connect with community leaders, relate community issues to lesson plans, and implement culturally responsive pedagogy.

Program Experiences

What does tH-ACCESS at UH certify me to teach?
Our program certifies STEM degree holders to teach grades 7–12 in mathematics, science, or computer science.

In which districts could I teach with this program?
We are currently partnered with 11 districts in the greater Houston area. Our students are placed in a district close to their residence. You will be certified to teach in the state of Texas.

What is considered a high-need school district?
A high-need school district is a district that has at least one high-need school. Thus, most, if not all, districts are considered high-need school districts.

What type of technology will I need to take classes with this program?
The University of Houston provides access to the type of technology you need to be successful in this program.

Admission Information

Do I need to have a certain degree to complete this program?
Applicants must be seniors pursuing a bachelor's degree in a STEM field.

Do I need a certain GPA to be admitted into the program?
The minimum GPA for admittance is a 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.

Do you perform criminal background checks?
Our program does not perform background checks; however, to be approved for field experiences, students must complete a background check with the district to which they are assigned.

Do I need to disclose information about my health (i.e., chronic illness, mental illness, disabilities, etc.)?
It is not a requirement for students to disclose this information. As we want to make sure we meet the needs of all of our students, any information that will assist in your learning can be shared with your instructors.

Do I need to be proficient in speaking English to teach?
There are resources available through the University of Houston, such as Toast Masters, to build English-language proficiency.

Scholarship Information

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to receive a scholarship for the tH-ACCESS program?
Yes. Our program is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, which requires scholarship recipients to be designated either a U.S. citizen or permanent alien status.

What are the requirements for receiving a scholarship?
The following criterion are required to receive the scholarship: (1) UH Senior, (2) Degree in a STEM area, (3) 2.75 GPA, (4) Must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent alien status.

Does everyone receive the same amount?
The standard scholarship amount received by students admitted into the program is $12,000.

What costs does the scholarship award cover?
Course tuition and fees

Does my GPA affect whether I can receive a scholarship?
A 2.75 GPA is required.

What if I realize I don't want to be a teacher and I decide to leave the program, do I have to pay the scholarship back? If so, how long do I have to pay it back?
Scholarships are awarded to students who intend to complete the program. Students who leave the program must repay the scholarship by the end of the semester in which they have exited.

Is it possible to be in the program without receiving a scholarship?
Yes, the program is open to all seniors interested in advancing social justice in STEM education.

If I self-fund is the teaching commitment a requirement?
Because self-funding students are not receiving a scholarship, there is no requirement to fulfill a teaching commitment.

Program Requirements

How many courses are required for the ACP Program?
A total of 18 credit hours are required for the program. Four courses (12 hours) are taken during the spring semester and two (6 hours) are taken during the fall semester. A list of courses by semester is included below.

Spring Semester (12 hours)

  1. Introduction to STEM Teaching
  2. Knowing and Learning
  3. Classroom Interactions
  4. Multiple Teaching Strategies

Fall Semester (9 hours)

  1. Student Teaching
  2. Student Teaching Seminar
  3. Classroom Management

Will I be able to keep my full-time job while taking courses with this program?
The tH-ACCESS at UH program requires two full-time semesters from students, which does not allow time for a typical full-time work schedule. To be successful in the coursework at University of Houston, we encourage students to practice setting aside 3 hours of study time a week for every course hour in which they are enrolled.

When will I get to practice teaching?
At teachHOUSTON, our philosophy on teaching and learning stems from pragmatic use of theories on socially constructing knowledge through experience. Our students begin teaching from their first course. We will prepare you for the basics of planning inquiry-based instruction before you teach your assigned lessons.

Do I have to teach as a result of completing this program?
Yes, we expect all our students to become highly qualified STEM educators! Those who receive scholarships have the minimal expectations of completing two full years of teaching in a high-need school district upon graduation. Most, if not all, meet the high-need school district definition (high-need school districts have at least one high-need school in the district).

How many field hours do I need to complete for certification with this program?
During the fall semester, our students complete 60 field-based hours observing in-service STEM teachers in our partnering districts. During the spring semester, our students complete clinical teaching (student teaching) for approximately 70 days. Our students will have nearly 500 hours of instructional experience at the end of the program.

Career & Salary Information

How much do teachers make in Texas?
It varies by district. As teachers are state employees, their pay scale is part of public record. According to Salary.com, in Houston, the average teacher makes over $59,000 a year.

What are the standards I have to abide by as a teacher in Texas?
Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities EC–12 (PPR), Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS).