Membership FAQs

Answers to your questions about ATPE


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ATPE provides Texas public educators the best, broadest and deepest support and highest possible economic value. Membership benefits include unmatched professional liability insurance coverage*, guaranteed employment rights defense insurance* and the largest staff of in-house attorneys** to assist members with job-related legal needs. (Learn more about the protection benefits*.) We do not serve any outside interests, instead, we focus our efforts and resources right here in Texas where they can do the most good. Along with more than 100,000 of your colleagues in Texas public education, you’ll find ATPE membership to be an important source of support at all stages of your career.
Membership dues range from free to $145, depending on the membership category:
 
Insured categories*
Professional: $145
First-time professional: $90
Associate: $70
Student teacher (engaged in student teaching): Free
 
Uninsured categories*
College student (not engaged in student teaching): Free
Retired: $10
Public: $35

Find out in which category you should join. Questions? Send us an email or call (800) 777-2873.
You are eligible for first-time professional membership if you have never been a professional-category member of ATPE. First-time professional members enjoy all of the benefits and services offered by ATPE for only $90 for the entire year.
ATPE local units may set and collect local unit dues in addition to state dues. Local unit dues defray the cost of local unit activities, fund community service projects and help your local unit send members to the ATPE Summit. Local unit dues vary, so ask your local unit president if you are unsure of your local unit dues amount.  
ATPE-PAC is a political action committee funded by voluntary contributions. PAC funds are used to provide nonpartisan support to officeholders and candidates who support public education and ATPE philosophies. Participation in ATPE-PAC is voluntary and is not required to maintain ATPE membership status, member rights or benefits. Learn more about ATPE-PAC.
ATPE’s unique philosophy distinguishes it from all other organizations. As a professional association, ATPE believes it takes everyone working together to improve Texas public schools. This collaborative philosophy is evident in our legislative program and a diverse membership that includes all types of public school employees.
 
Our competitors include:
 
TSTA
The Texas State Teachers Association is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA). TSTA espouses a labor union philosophy and supports exclusive consultation and collective bargaining. TSTA/NEA dues can climb in excess of $460 per year. With TSTA’s membership declining in some parts of the state, the group has discussed a merger with Texas AFT at the state level. Some TSTA local affiliates have already merged with their local Texas AFT affiliates. TSTA has approximately 48,000 members.
 
Texas AFT
Texas AFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and AFL-CIO. AFT and NEA have been working on a national merger of the two unions as well as a merger in Texas between the two state affiliates for several years. Texas AFT has spearheaded local mergers between the two unions and has encouraged local school boards to enter into union-style exclusive consultation arrangements in several school districts. Texas AFT’s annual dues can exceed $600. Texas AFT has more than 64,000 members.
 
If there is no organized local, Texas AFT offers a low-dues introductory membership. Once a local is organized, dues will rise to more than $400 per year.
 
TCTA
The Texas Classroom Teachers Association is not affiliated with any national organization. TCTA membership is limited to certified professional personnel (excluding administrators) and certified support personnel. The group’s philosophy is that administrators’ interests are inherently adverse to those of other educators. TCTA has approximately 50,000 members. Current professional state dues are $140.
 
UEA
The United Educators Association Inc. is a for-profit organization with members concentrated in the Fort Worth area. Its annual professional dues can be as much as $225. UEA has more than 20,000 members.
 
TACS
The Texas Association of Community Schools is an association of more than 700 small, rural and mid-sized school districts that each have only one high school. The school district is considered the member. Employees of member districts can pay a reduced rate for limited liability and employment rights insurance, but these employees have no other substantive member benefits or representation. 
ATPE membership, which includes access to an array of benefits, provides an excellent complement to membership in any content-area association. Some content-area associations include legal protection as a membership benefit or offer it for an additional cost. None of their benefit offerings are as generous or as broad as ATPE's. If your content-area association membership does include legal protection, be sure to compare the benefits to determine if a dual membership would be beneficial to your career. If your content-area association membership does not include legal protection, it is especially important for you to join a group like ATPE. No public school employee should be without protection on the job.

Groups that do NOT offer legal protection*

TCTELA—Texas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts
TCTM—Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics
TAGT—Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
TGCA—Texas Girls Coaches Association
TASA—Texas Association of School Administrators

Groups that offer OPTIONAL legal protection*

TCEA—Texas Computer Education Association
TMEA—Texas Music Educators Association
TLA—Texas Library Association
TCA—Texas Counseling Association
THOA/ACTE—Texas Health Occupations Association/Association for Career and Technical Education
THSCA—Texas High School Coaches Association
FCSTAT—Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers Association of Texas
TBTEA—Texas Business and Technology Educators Association
CTAT—Career and Technology Association of Texas

Groups that INCLUDE legal protection with membership*

TASSP—Texas Association of Secondary School Principals
TEPSA—Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association
VATAT—Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas  

*Information is current as of April 4, 2014.
At only $10 for the entire year, ATPE’s retired memberships are an affordable way for retired educators to stay in touch with their profession and support the efforts of current public educators. Retired members receive both the quarterly magazine ATPE News and the email digest Essentials, both of which will feature the latest Texas public education news. ATPE lobbies the Legislature and Congress on issues of concern to retired educators, such as cost-of-living increases for retired Teacher Retirement System (TRS) members and Social Security offset provisions. Retired members may participate in ATPE state events such as ATPE's Political Involvement Training and Lobby Day and the ATPE Summit.
 
Retired members also enjoy access to ATPE’s services and discounts, which provide valuable opportunities to save money on prescription drugs, hotel stays, car rentals, long-term care insurance and more. Plus, retired members have access to optional benefits including prepaid legal services, savings on dental and vision services and guaranteed-issue accident insurance. (Members may enroll in these optional benefits for small additional fees.)
Because ATPE is not affiliated with any national organization, our members do not pay any national dues. Your ATPE dues dollars will stay in Texas where they will make the most impact. ATPE prides itself on providing Texas educators with the most comprehensive benefits package at the best value.
ATPE welcomes anyone who is interested in public education to join, including public school educators, administrators, para-educators, retired educators and college students. However, only four membership categories—professional, first-time professional, associate and teacher trainee—are eligible for the professional liability and employment rights defense insured benefits* and assistance from staff attorneys.** Membership categories are defined in the ATPE State Bylaws. Questions? Email ATPE Member Services or call (800) 777-2873.
No, but you should be aware of the following: In general, for paper applications, your membership date is established when your application is received in the state office or when your application is received, signed and dated by a designated local unit representative. For online applications, your membership date is established at 12:01 a.m. CST on the date following successful transmission of your online application and payment at atpe.org.
For 2016-17 memberships: Coverage* begins on the later of Aug. 1, 2016, or your membership date, and expires on Aug. 1, 2017, with two exceptions:
  • Coverage is effective on Aug. 1, 2015, if you renew your membership any time during August or September 2016.
  • Employment rights defense insurance is NOT effective until 30 days after your membership date if you join or renew after Sept. 30, 2016, and were eligible for membership from August 2016 through September 2016. 
You will receive a welcome packet in the mail within three weeks of the state office's receipt of your application. It will contain a personalized membership card. If you do not receive a card, you should contact ATPE Member Services at (800) 777-2873 or member_services@atpe.org to request a replacement.
To download a copy of ATPE's professional liability insurance coverage, please click here.


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*THE EDUCATORS PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY IS UNDERWRITTEN BY NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE CO. OF PITTSBURGH, PA. ALL COVERAGE IS SUBJECT TO THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE MASTER INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED TO ATPE AND KEPT ON FILE AT THE ATPE STATE OFFICE. Coverage applies to an insured’s activities within his/her professional capacity and does not apply to activities that predate the coverage period. View a detailed summary. Eligibility for ATPE membership benefits is contingent upon ATPE’s receipt of the entire annual membership dues amount for your appropriate membership category. A disruption in payments to an authorized payment plan may result in discontinuation of such benefits, including cancellation of insurance coverage for the entire membership year retroactive to Aug. 1 or your membership date. ATPE reserves the right to determine the appropriate membership category. The ATPE membership year is from Aug. 1 to July 31.
**The insured member services and staff attorneys’ assistance are offered through separate programs.