Frequently Asked Questions
Don't see a question you're looking for? Jump over to the Connect with Us page and reach out via email or phone.
Program + Training
How long is Odessa Pathway to Teaching’s certification program?
Odessa Pathway to Teaching program lasts approximately 15 months. It begins with Enrollment and targeted test prep from January to May (one night a week, one Saturday a month), moves to Pre-Service Training that lasts from May to July, and concludes once participants have met all requirements to obtain their standard certificate at the end of their internship year which is the end of 2021-22 school year.
In what subject areas can I get certified?
The Odessa Pathway to Teaching offers the following certification areas:
- Core Subjects EC-6
- Core Subjects 4-8
- English Language Arts & Reading (ELAR) 7-12
- Math 7-12
- Science 7-12
At this time, these are the only certification areas offered to OPT participants. While certifications like Special Education, Bilingual, and Spanish are in high demand, our program focuses on the subject areas most needed by our district and that can be supported by our high-quality coursework and coaching. If you are interested in certifications outside of the eight listed above, you may take the TExES exam to add that certification once you’ve obtained a standard certificate in one of the approved areas through OPT.
How do I complete the program and become a certified teacher?
To finish the program, you must successfully complete Pre-Service Training, your Internship Year, all required coursework, and pass your TExES content exam, the Science of Teaching Reading exam (if applicable), and either the PPR exam or edTPA portfolio. Once you have completed the requirements and passed the performance screen at each stage, you will eligible to be recommended for your Standard Certificate by Odessa Pathway to Teaching.
If at the end of your Internship Year you fall short of passing the performance screen but, in the sole discretion of OPT, appear to be on the right trajectory to meet that bar with additional support, you may be placed on an extension year to continue improving your teaching under a Probationary certificate, with the opportunity to be re-assessed in their second year of teaching.
To learn more about various TExES exams, visit Pearson's website.
What is Pre-Service Training (PST)?
Pre-Service Training begins following the Enrollment period and is a five-week, intensive jumpstart to your teaching career. Skill-building sessions focus on the core skills needed to be an effective teacher, while field experience provides participants with the opportunity to practice their skills in real ECISD classrooms under the guidance of their Mentor Teacher. Please note that to be eligible to start PST, you will be expected to meet shared expectations regarding test prep and readiness to take the TExES exam during the Enrollment period.
Is Pre-Service Training (PST) required?
Pre-Service Training is required to be eligible to continue through and complete the Odessa Pathway to Teaching program. Passing Pre-Service Training is required to begin your Internship year.
What are the dates of the Summer 2020 Pre-Service Training?
Pre-Service Training for the Summer 2021 Cohort begins in May 2021 and lasts five weeks ending in July 2021. Each day lasts from approximately 7:30am to 5pm CST.
What does a typical day of training look like?
Your Pre-Service Training days will be broken up into teaching at our summer lab school sites (field experience) in the mornings and in-person skill-building and responsive coaching sessions in the afternoons. In addition to field experience, skill-building sessions, and responsive coaching sessions, apprentices will be expected to complete lesson planning and online coursework modules on their own. While the exact times may vary, the following is a typical “day in the life” of an apprentice in Pre-Service Training:
- 7:30am-7:45am: Check in at school site
- 7:45am-12:00pm: Teaching at school site (field experience)
- 12:00pm 1:00pm: Lunch
- 1:00pm-4:30pm: Skill-building sessions, responsive coaching sessions, and test preparations
Independent lesson-planning, online coursework completion, and/or independent test prep
*Note: Please note that the structure of Pre-Service Training remains flexible to respond to federal, state, and district guidelines regarding COVID-19. Our hope is that Pre-Service Training will return to a primarily in-person model next summer, but please be aware that this structure is subject to change. Updates will be shared as we have them.
Can I work while I complete Pre-Service Training?
You will be expected to attend full day sessions for five weeks, including several weeks of hand-on classroom experience with Ector County students. This will be an opportunity to experience the rigors of classroom instruction and lesson planning in a supportive environment. Given the compressed time window and the demands of training, you will be unable to have a full-time job. If needed, you can explore part-time or contract opportunities on the weekend.
What is the deadline for passing the TExES?
We must receive passing TExES scores for your certification area and the STR exam by the end of the Enrollment period or you will be subject to dismissal from Odessa Pathway to Teaching. Apprentices enrolled in Odessa Pathway to Teaching must receive approval to test. In order to obtain approval for the TExES exam, you must demonstrate readiness on a full-length practice test in the certification area you are pursuing. To receive approval to take the STR exam, you must demonstrate readiness through the online coursework provided.
What supports are available to help me pass the TExES state content exam?
Once enrolled in the program, you will have access to online test preparation (free-of-charge) and extensive study materials. You will be expected to attend one test prep session per week and one Saturday session per month during the Enrollment period to build extensive content knowledge. Practice tests will be administered to determine test readiness and provide candidates with the opportunity to simulate the real testing experience.
Eligibility + Admissions
What is required to be admitted?
To be eligible for Odessa Pathway to Teaching, candidates must:
- Have a bachelor’s degree by May 2021
- Have a 2.5 or better GPA (overall or in the last 60 credit hours of your undergraduate degree)
- Demonstrate content area proficiency via credit hours or subject area PACT exam
- Provide official copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended
- Meet all legal requirements to work in the United States
- Be able to pass a drug test and background check
- Pass the TOEFL exam by January 29, 2021(if required)
What documents are required for admission?
To be admitted to the Odessa Pathway to Teaching, you must submit:
- Complete application
- Official copies of all transcripts *Please note that official copies of transcripts from all institutions attended (even if you transferred before graduating) are required to be invited to interview.
- Required background and fingerprinting check documents (driver's license and Social Security card)
Do I have to pass a Pre-Admission Content Test (PACT) prior to joining the program?
Odessa Pathway to Teaching is a non-PACT program, which means that you will not need to pass a Pre-Admission Content Test to be admitted to the program. If you have already passed a content exam, that will suffice as proof of content area proficiency. If you have not passed a content area exam, you will need to demonstrate content area proficiency via credit hours (12 semester credit hours for Core Subjects or English Language Arts, or 15 credit hours for Math or Science).
If you are admitted without having passed the content exam you still must pass the TExES content exam and Science of Teaching Reading exam in your chosen subject area to obtain your intern certificate. Apprentices must demonstrate proficiency in their content area by achieving a passing score on a practice test before being approved to take the TExES exam.
What if I have already passed a content exam?
If you have already passed a content exam in your subject area, you have met the requirements for content area proficiency and do not need to do so via semester credit hours. You will also not be required to take the exam again once admitted to the program if you are pursuing that certification area.
How many credit hours are required to be admitted to the program if I have not already passed a content exam?
Applicants pursuing Core Subjects EC-6 or 4-8 or ELAR 7-12 must have 12 semester credit hours in their content area to be admitted. Applicants pursuing Mathematics or Science 7-12 must have 15 semester credit hours in their content area to be admitted. Odessa Pathway to Teaching will review your transcripts to determine whether you have sufficient credit hours for your first-choice priority area. Candidates admitted with a sufficient number of credit hours must still pass the content exam for their subject area by the end of the summer to earn their intern certificate.
How do I apply?
To apply to the Odessa Pathway to Teaching, visit www.odessapathwaytoteaching.org and click on the Apply Here link at the bottom of the page. Please note that copies of transcripts from all institutions attended (even if you transferred before graduating) are required to move forward in the selection process.
What happens after I apply?
After you apply, your application and transcripts will be reviewed for basic eligibility requirements. If you meet the eligibility requirements outlined below, you will be contacted to schedule a virtual interview. Please note that copies of transcripts from all institutions attended (even if you transferred before graduating) are required to move forward in the selection process.
How long does it take to review my application?
We aim to review your application will be reviewed within three (3) business days. You will receive next steps via email.
What occurs during the interview?
The virtual interview consists of a question and answer portion that enables program staff to determine each applicant's potential and fit with the program. This is also a time to complete the required ECISD screening tools (background check) to be eligible to enter a classroom during PST.
How will I know if I have been admitted?
If you are admitted to the Odessa Pathway to Teaching, you will receive official notice of your acceptance via email. To accept admission, you will be required to sign and return your offer letter.
Can international applicants apply?
Yes. For more information on international applicants, please visit the International Applicants page on our website.
When are the application deadlines?
Odessa Pathway to Teaching accepts applications in several rounds. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can be admitted and have access to test prep and program materials. Though we accept applications at all times through the final deadline, we encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. See below for Summer 2021 cohort application deadlines:
- Priority Round: Friday, October 30, 2020
- Fall Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
- Winter Deadline: Friday, December 18, 2020
- Final Deadline (last chance to apply): Friday, January 22, 2021
Cost + Benefits
How much does the program cost?
For 2020-2021, our training tuition is $3,900. This will cover the full cost of the internship year, including access to high-quality training materials, personalized coaching, and ongoing support to earn your certification.
Additional costs include:
- $50 fingerprinting fee
- $116 TExES exam fee (per exam)
- $136 Science of Teaching Reading exam fee (if applicable)
- $116 PPR exam fee
- $78 Intern Certificate fee
- $78 Standard Teacher Certification fee
When is payment due?
Tuition is not due unless and until you begin earning a salary as an Ector County ISD teacher for the 2021-2022 school year. Tuition payments will be taken out of your ECISD paycheck in installments over the course of your two-year teaching commitment.
Is financial assistance offered?
Financial assistance is available in a variety of ways.
- OPT Scholarship: All apprentices are eligible to apply for the Odessa Pathway to Teaching Scholarship. The scholarship amount is $1,500 and is awarded in two installments throughout Pre-Service Training.
- Testing Stipend: For the Summer 2020 cohort, funds are available to cover apprentices first attempt at the TExES exam (a $116 value). If the TExES exam is not passed on the first attempt, apprentices will be responsible for covering the cost of ongoing attempts.
- Signing Bonus: Candidates in Math and Science are eligible for a $2,000 hiring bonus after obtaining their intern certificate and securing employment with ECISD.
Hiring + ECISD Employment
Am I an ECISD employee while I am participating in Odessa Pathway to Teaching?
No. While you are participating in Pre-Service Training, you are solely affiliated with OPT. Upon securing a full-time teaching position for your Internship Year and being processed by ECISD HR, you will be considered a full-time ECISD employee.
What are the employment requirements for Odessa Pathway to Teaching?
In order to meet the requirements of your intern certificate, you must secure a position in a classroom aligned to your certification area. To meet overall program requirements, you must commit to teaching in ECISD for two (2) years.
Will Odessa Pathway to Teaching place me in a teaching position for the school year?
Odessa Pathway to Teaching apprentices are not placed in ECISD classrooms, but are responsible for securing their own position for the school year. The Odessa Pathway to Teaching team will provide hiring support throughout your job search, including connecting you with principals with vacancies in your certification area.
How will I get connected with principals?
During Pre-Service Training, principals will have designated observation days in which they will be able to observe apprentices in their field experience classrooms. At the culmination of observation days, OPT holds a hiring fair for apprentices to interview with and secure positions in ECISD for the upcoming school year.
Where can I teach?
You must secure a position in an Ector County ISD school in order to continue as a part of the Odessa Pathway to Teaching. For a full list of ECISD schools, please see the ECISD website. As a participant in OPT, it is expected you will teach a minimum of two years in ECISD.