The state of Texas does not require teachers or other school employees to take a tuberculin skin test (TST), TB blood test, chest x-ray, physical exam or to undergo drug screening.
However, there are other pre-employment tests that are required in Texas, such as fingerprinting for teachers. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides statewide fingerprint-based criminal background checks, but your school may also choose to work with a third-party background check provider to conduct these checks.
Physical exams and TB screening may also be required by a specific licensing and credentialing board, an insurance policy, or by a particular school district’s regulations and requirements. Each school should defer to applicable policy.
Likewise, requirements for pre-employment drug screening and CPR/AED courses are based on your school’s hiring policies.
So, even though medical tests and other pre-employment exams are not required by state law in Texas, we’ll show you why you should still consider making them a part of your school’s employment program.
Why your teachers should take a TB test
Although TB tests for teachers and school staff seeking employment in Texas are not required by law, anyone with signs or symptoms of TB should be considered for medical evaluation.
According to the CDC, tuberculosis has seen a slight rise over the recent years. In our post-pandemic world, public health is at the forefront of consciousness.
Making TB tests and chest x-rays as part of your hiring policy will be a great benefit to your students and staff alike.
What are the signs and symptoms of Tuberculosis?
Symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) depend on which part of the body the bacteria is growing. However, TB bacteria typically grow in the lungs, which is known as pulmonary TB.
TB disease in the lungs may cause symptoms such as:
- a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- pain in the chest
- coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs)
Other symptoms of TB disease are
- weakness or fatigue
- weight loss
- no appetite
- sweating at night
Why teachers and school staff should get a physical exam
A basic physical evaluation is a common type of pre-employment medical exam. Although not legally required in Texas, having your prospective school employees take a physical test will help them and your management team know their health status.
Knowing one’s physical capabilities, historical trends with your vital signs, and overall health status are important when your teachers and school staff are required to conduct mild to strenuous physical exertion as part of their daily activities.
Getting a physical exam will ensure that your school campus is a safe and healthy environment for teachers and students alike.
Why fingerprinting teachers and other school staff is important
According to Texas Education Code (TEC), all certified educators–those holding an educator certification or Emergency Teaching Permit issued by the State Board for Educator Certification–should be fingerprinted.
Besides being required by the Texas Education Code, fingerprinting makes the school campus a safe environment for students and fellow staff.
Why drug testing is an essential step in hiring teachers
It is crucial to maintain a zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of drugs among school staff. One way to ensure that teachers and administrators maintain a drug-free lifestyle is through mandatory drug testing at work.
Smart, strong and sober – cultivate a culture of responsible leaders
This holds teachers accountable for their actions, making them less likely to use drugs if they know they could be caught and face consequences for their actions.
Children tend to follow the footsteps of their adult role models, often mimicking their behaviors and choices into adulthood. When teachers engage in drug abuse, not only do you stand to lose an employee but also negatively impact student behavior.
Students might falsely believe that drug use isn’t so bad if they suspect that their teacher engages in this type of behavior; as a result, students might be more willing to try drugs themselves.
Create a safe environment
Additionally, a teacher who is using drugs cannot be trusted with the ability or rationale to keep students safe. By implementing mandatory drug testing at work, you are helping to keep students safe and out of potentially dangerous situations.
Protect your school from legal action by disgruntled teachers
Implementing drug tests at your school will also give administrators legal and medical proof that backs up the termination of a school employee. This gives authorities the justification to take action against the teacher and reduces the chances that the teacher could argue against them in court.
Other reasons to include drug testing as part of your hiring policy
- Decreased teacher absenteeism
- Reduce risks of accidents
- Reduce turnover rates
- Decrease risks of theft by staff
- Gives administration the ability to identify and refer drug-dependent employees to rehabilitation programs
Are CPR, AED and First Aid certifications required for teachers in Texas?
The Texas Education Agency does not require teachers to maintain a CPR certification for licensure. However, individual school districts may require to have a current Adult, Child, and Infant Pediatric CPR, AED and First Aid certification upon employment.
Online CPR, AED, and First Aid courses are accepted in Texas, but a hands-on skills test may be required by the state or your local school district to maintain employment.
In terms of state law, the Texas Education Code only requires certain school staff to take CPR, AED and First Aid courses:
- A school district employee who serves as the head director of a school marching band
- The head coach or chief sponsor for an extracurricular athletic activity, including cheerleading,
Why mandatory CPR, AED and First Aid courses is a good policy
Remember, when you’re employed as a teacher or staff member at an educational facility, the health and lives of students are in your hands during the time that they’re in your presence.
Having your teachers and other school employees complete CPR, AED and/or First Aid courses will create a safe and trustworthy school environment. This level of professionalism will give students, staff and parents a peace of mind.
What’s the difference between CPR, AED and First Aid classes?
CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. CPR can help save a life during cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating or it beats too ineffectively to circulate blood to the brain and other vital organs.
AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. Typically, it’s simply called a defibrillator. It is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sophisticated, easy-to-use, medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
First Aid is the first and immediate medical assistance given to a person with either a minor or serious illness or injury. The concept of first aid is to provide care in order to preserve the patient’s life, to prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery until professional medical services arrive. As an educator or school staff member, you can take basic and advanced first aid courses to satisfy Texas’s occupational requirements.
Your next steps
Now that you’re aware of the medical exam, fingerprinting and drug testing requirements in Texas, your next step is to help your teachers and school staff to schedule appointments for those tests.
WellnessMart specializes in pre-employment testing for teachers and other educators. We have over 50 locations that make it easy for employers like you to order tests, receive and store results, and get consolidated billing – all at wellnessmart.com.
Get quick and accurate testing for schools and companies that require no out of pocket payments for your applicants.