Certification Assignment Flexibility

August 17, 2023 — The chart below outlines educator certification assignment flexibility options available for districts to address some of the most common certification assignment challenges and scenarios. For additional support navigating these options, please call Educator Certification at 512-936-8400, option 2.

Important Notes

  • These flexibilities are not applicable for special education, bilingual, ESL, or Prekindergarten/PreK4 assignments due to federal requirements and state statutes.
  • If certification flexibility options are applied to educators actively enrolled in an educator preparation program (EPP), these options do not supersede EPP requirements found in the Texas Administrative Code. EPP candidates must complete certification exam and preparation program requirements for issuance of the aligned SBEC certificate.
Opportunity Possible Uses and Considerations

Districts of Innovation Plan (DOI)

Districts can consider DOI flexibilities when there are vacancies in hard-to-fill assignments, or when urgent campus needs can be best met by having a certified educator teach outside their area of certification. Other considerations include…

  • Flexibilities must be documented in their locally created and approved DOI plans.
  • Districts can also complete a process to revise their DOI plan and establish increased flexibility to meet future needs.
  • Districts should work with their legal counsel and in collaboration with their local school board regarding the application and revision process.

Teacher Certification Waiver

Districts can consider Teacher Certification Waivers when a DOI plan is not in place and/or when the DOI plan does not include the necessary flexibility to meet the situational needs of a campus. Other considerations include…

  • The educator qualifications to teach must be vetted and approved by the board of trustees and commissioner of education (COE has 30 days to review).

School District Teaching Permits


Districts can consider a School District Teaching Permit (SDTP) in very specific situations when the DOI and Teacher Certification Waivers are not an option and a more long-term, district-specific solution is needed. Other considerations include…

  • SDTPs are district-specific and valid for life (unless revoked for cause by the district) and cannot be issued to certified educators.
  • The individual must have a bachelor’s degree unless teaching non-core academic career and technical education courses which must be approved by district board of trustees.
  • Individuals teaching courses for foundation credits must be approved by the district board of trustees and commissioner of education (COE has 30 days to review).
  • A School Districts Teaching Permits Guide is available online.

Emergency Permits

Districts can consider Emergency Permits for individuals admitted into an EPP, but not yet eligible for issuance of an SBEC certificate or for certified teachers that have not passed required exams to add a new classroom certificate area to their official record of certification. Other considerations include…

  • EPP candidates placed on emergency permits use one of three years allowed to teach before obtaining a standard certificate. Districts should engage in conversation with the EPP prior to placing an EPP candidate on an emergency permit.
  • Emergency permits are valid for one school year only and not renewable (exceptions JROTC, Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments).
  • Requires online application and $57 fee paid by employing district.
  • Emergency permits can be requested for special education, bilingual, ESL, and prekindergarten/PreK4 assignments.
  • An Emergency Permits Guide is available online.

EPP Candidate Late Hires

Districts are encouraged to work with their preparation program partners when considering late hires of EPP candidates.

  • SBEC rules include late hire provisions in 19 TAC §228.35(d) to allow a late hire for a school district teaching position to begin employment under an intern or probationary certificate before completing the pre-internship coursework and training requirements outlined in subsection (b) of the rules but requires completion of those requirements within 90 school days of the assignment.
  • Candidates must meet both late hire requirements in 19 TAC §228.2(25), hire date and preparation program admission date are within the 45-day window before the first day of instruction or after the school’s academic year has begun, to qualify as a late hire.
  • Candidates must pass the required certification exams for issuance of the Intern or Probationary certificate.