Teaching Here

Why Choose the Rio Grande Valley?

A headshot of a young white woman with shoulder-length wavy blonde hair wearing a pink tank top.
I feel like I am adopted into a culture that wasn't my own to start with but I have grown to feel a part of this amazing place.
A young man wearing a dark grey suit and purple tie, standing at the bottom of the stairs.
I'm part of a culture and speak a language that's both Mexican and American and there is a huge emphasis placed on family which you can see in our classrooms, cities, and corps!
A headshot of a young white woman with long dark blonde hair wearing a tank top and standing outside.
Anyone you meet can turn into family in the span of a single conversation.
A young man with short dark hair wearing a light blue button-down shirt standing in front of a white board while teaching a lesson.
Whether we're from here or not, we grow close over tacos, raspas, South Padre Island visits, and learning the stories in each different city.

What You Need to Know


Salaries range from $42,000 - $46,500.




Masters in Science degree through the Johns Hopkins University online program.


Takes one year

Becoming Certified to Teach

  • Overview
  • What if I'm already certified to teach in another state?
  • Is it possible to complete a master's degree at the end of the two years?
  • Which universities do you partner with?

Certification can be obtained in one year through an alternative certification program (non-university based program).

Certification Requirements

Corps members who are not already certified gain certification during their first year of teaching through Region One ESC Project P.a.C.E., a state approved alternative certification program. Passage of all required TExES content exams are required prior to summer institute for certification program admission. During the course of the year corps members complete at least 300 hours of professional development through Teach For America and the certification program.


Certification requires approximately $466 in upfront fees and testing costs. You will receive your Texas Teaching Licensure from our partner for a cost of about $4,420. You will be charged for your tuition costs by our partner in nine installments starting in September. Our program is not university based and therefore not eligible for AmeriCorps Awards.

Master's Degree Option

While corps members cannot get a master's degree as part of certification, many corps members begin a graduate program in their second year of teaching.  Popular programs include the local University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley or the Johns Hopkins University online program for Teach For America. If eligible, corps members may use the AmeriCorps education award to pay for graduate programs and many corps members complete a master’s degree by the end of the third year teaching.

If you hold a certification from another state, you can apply for a review of credentials and the transfer of your certification to Texas. If you are in an undergraduate education program, you must make sure to complete all licensure requirements in your state prior to summer training and then apply for the review of credentials.

No. Many corps members enter the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley or Johns Hopkins University online program for Teach For America members in the second year and complete a master’s degree after teaching for a third year.


There are no formal partnerships at this time, however, after completing alternative certification, corps members can begin a master's program through the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, Johns Hopkins University online program for Teach For America members, or another online program.

Placement School Locations

Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Middle and High School Social Studies (10%)
  • Middle and High School ELA & ESL (20%)
  • Middle and High School Math (20%)
  • Middle and High School Science (20%)
  • Bilingual Elementary (30%)


Neighborhood Tour


The geography of the Rio Grande Valley varies across our three placement counties of Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron. Because we only partner with certain school districts and distances can be far between towns, where a corps member lives will depend on which school and district hires him/her.

  • Hidalgo County
  • Starr County
  • Cameron County

Hidalgo County is home to many neighboring towns and small cities and has a large concentration of stores, restaurants, and housing options. Corps members currently teach in the towns of La Joya, Penitas, Palmview, Mission, McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Donna, Weslaco, Mercedes, Edcouch, and Elsa. Many corps members who are not from the region are surprised at the high level of development and amenities in this part of the region.

Starr County contains our rural placements in the town of Roma. Most corps members rent very inexpensive houses close to their school and enjoy the ability to run, bike, and explore the less developed part of the region.



Cameron County lies on the Gulf of Mexico and has a mix of small cities and towns. Corps members currently teach in the towns of Harlingen, San Benito, and Brownsville. A strong network of highways mean corps members are never too far away from friends or training located in other parts of the region. Many housing options exist in this county from new apartment complexes to shared houses for rent.

Alumni Spotlight

Rio Grande Valley 2012
U.S. History Teacher, Lamar Academy
Andrea Gutierrez was a 2012 corps member in the Rio Grande Valley, where she continues to teach today at McAllen ISD. A former legislative aide with the Texas Senate and college access adviser, she currently teaches AP U.S. History.

Community Spotlight

In 2012 after the superintendents of 11 of 39 Valley school districts and other community leaders recognized they had to do more to prepare Valley students for the demands of college and the labor market, they helped form RGV Focus.

This regional collective impact initiative now works on behalf of all 340,000 students in the region to ensure that all RGV learners achieve a degree or credential which leads to a meaningful career.

The organization has helped raise awareness of the connection between poverty, economic opportunity, and educational attainment. It publishes annual reports on a variety of measures, such as high school graduation rates, college enrollment and completion, and employment statistics. These reports compare the performance of Valley schools, colleges and students to their peers elsewhere in the state and across the nation. As evidence of the collective focus on college success, students in the Valley are more likely than their peers elsewhere in Texas to take Advanced Placement courses or earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. Nearly 60 percent of the region’s students earn some college credit through 37 early college high schools and other programs by the time they graduate from high school.

RGV Focus got off the ground with the help of Educate Texas, a public-private partnership that is helping start such efforts in communities around the state. Collective impact strategies bring together many different groups and institutions to analyze a community’s educational issues, establish an overall goal, create strategies to reach that goal, identify key indicators, and agree on appropriate progress metrics. One of the weakest academic indicators in the region is college readiness which is a current focus of this initiative.

RGV Focus is led by its executive director, Luzelma Canales, who is also on the Teach For America regional advisory board. Teach For America alumnus, Eugenio Longoria Saenz (DC Region ’97), is the Deputy Director.



The totals below are estimates only.

Our certification program is not university based, and therefore not eligible for AmeriCorps Awards.

Regional Expenses

Monthly Salary

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Estimated Monthly Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs