How to Become a Teacher in Connecticut
Teaching in the state of Connecticut is a highly rewarding career. Educating children is a great way to have a positive impact on our future. With that said, the following steps will help guide your journey to becoming a teacher in Connecticut.
Choose What You Want to Teach
One of the first things your should do is decide which grade or subject(s) you would like to teach. To start off, you should consider the age group of children you wish to teach. Do you want to work with young children or older? If you prefer younger children, you can consider becoming an elementary school teacher. Educators at the elementary level teach multiple subjects at a foundational level. However, if you prefer working with older children, you can consider high school or even middle school. Secondary school teachers usually have a credential to teach one specific subject. Perhaps you prefer to work with children with special needs. This is important to answer before moving on, as the Connecticut State Department of Education has specific requirements for each type of certification.
Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Connecticut
As with all states, in order to become a public school teacher in Connecticut, you will need at least a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, you will need to complete a teacher education program. If you do not yet have a Bachelor's Degree, you will most likely be able to join a joint or blended program. This type of program blends all of the coursework needed for a Bachelor's Degree and teacher education program.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
As an educator in the state of Connecticut, you must hold a teacher certification by completing a teacher education program. Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements: curricula and fieldwork. Curricula usually includes a focus on pedagogy, teaching methods theories, and educational technologies. Fieldwork, on the other hand, includes field observations, internships, student teaching, or a combination of all three depending on your institution. Student teaching usually includes creating and implementing lesson plans, writing reflections, and compiling a cumulative portfolio.
Your teacher preparation program must be accredited by CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation), formerly National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
If you already possess a Bachelor's Degree, you can complete an alternative teacher preparation program as a post-baccalaureate. You may even be able to take part in a joint Master's Degree program. In 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly passed new legislation requiring a Master's Degree to advance most provisional level educator certificates to the professional level.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Connecticut
There are alternative routes to becoming a certified teacher in Connecticut.
Alternate Route to Certification (ARC)
The "Alternate Route to Certification (ARC)", is a state-approved program for talented mid-career adults who wish to enter teaching. ARC was created in 1986 by the Connecticut legislature. ARC is conducted by the Office of Higher Education, and is authorized by the Connecticut State Department of Education. ARC holds two sessions each year at the Office of Higher Education in Hartford. There is a full-time 10-week summer program from June-August. Next, there is a weekend September-May program.
Pass the Required Tests for Connecticut
To become a certified teacher in the state of Connecticut, there are some tests that you will need to pass first.
Prospective teachers in all content areas must first pass all three Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) tests or meet the requirements of a State Board-approved waiver option.
In addition, you will need to take an exam specific to the area in which you wish to become certified, to show subject matter competency. For example, an elementary school teacher will need to take the Elementary Education Multiple Subjects Test, which includes Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies sub-tests. A prospective high school math teacher will need to take the Mathematics Content Knowledge test. The Praxis II can be taken to fulfill this requirement.
This will likely vary according to the state that you desire to teach in. Ask your advisor for this information so you can be fully prepared for the tests.
Apply for your Connecticut Teacher Certification
When you apply for certification in the state of Connecticut, the Department of Education will likely require you to provide the following forms and documents:
- Complete application form
- Documentation to support the form, including college transcript(s) that show your degrees and credits
- Passing exam scores
- Copies of any teaching certificates you have, if applicable
- Official statement of status eligibility
- Records of employment
- Background clearance
Connecticut Department of Education
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 713-6543
Find a Teaching Job in Connecticut
You are now ready to find your dream teaching job in the state of Connecticut! You are ready to make positive changes in the lives of those you teach.
CTREAP - Connecticut Teacher Jobs
The state of Connecticut is continually seeking new teachers as the job market in education keeps pace with the nation's growth and class ratios change for the better. In order to source the best candidates, the state Department of Education uses their affiliate website and database, CTREAP, as a clearinghouse for job postings across the state.
CEA (Connecticut Education Association)
After successfully finding employment in a public school, new teachers quickly become acquainted with the local representative from the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) which advocates for teachers and public education.
Teachers may also join AFT Connecticut, whose sister unions are made up of similar professions to teachers across the state. Having a strong union for support can make a difference in the outcome of lawsuits, terminations, and disputes - all of which arise from time to time in the profession.
For those who are seeking alternates to employment in the public sector, Connecticut has 474 private schools and almost 75,000 students who attend those schools. These schools are often affiliated to a religion, are gender segregated, or offer accelerated programs. Teachers may find that contracts and salaries vary from school to school, unlike private schools.
CTRB (Connecticut Teachers Retirement Board)
Finally, upon retirement, teachers who were public employees are eligible to collect a pension and limited coverage through the Teachers' Retirement Board (CTRB).
Continue Your Education and Professional Development
Teacher's professional ethics compel them to continually strive for professional development of their teaching practice. This is accomplished in a number of ways: through face-to-face in-services, webinars, conferences, and resources. Professional development aids teachers in integrating instructional strategies that promote innovation and critical thinking in the classroom, as well as communication with students, administration, parents, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
Professional Development in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, professional development opportunities are managed through the state's department of education and must meet stringent, evidence based criteria. Some of the professional development providers that operate within the state are AFT Connecticut, the Connecticut Association for Adult & Continuing Education (CAACE), and the Connecticut Educators Computer Association (CECA). The department of education encourages teachers to make their own inquiries as to the exact course offerings that trainers provide.
The Benefits of Earning a Master's Degree For Obtaining Your Professional Educator Certificate
Like many states, Connecticut has a tiered system of credentialing for teachers. At the top rung is the Professional Educator Certificate, a credential that is offered only to highly educated and highly experienced candidates at the height of their professional abilities.
The state has suitably high standards for earning this credential, including at least 30 months of successful and appropriate experience at an approved Connecticut school as a licensed Provisional Educator. And, notably, you'll also need to either earn or be on your way to earning a master's degree.
The specific coursework requirements may vary according to your current endorsements and are outlined in the Regulations of the Connecticut State Board of Education. In all cases, the coursework must be studied at the graduate level. In general, you can expect to have to earn between 15 and 40 semester hours, distributed among the various topics relevant to your endorsement.
The courses also need to be pursued at an SDE-approved institution. In practice, this means a school that has been regionally accredited by a DOE-approved accreditation agency, although it's also possible for some schools in Connecticut to obtain direct approval from the state Board of Governors.
Although you can make your Professional Educator Certificate application online, much of the supporting material, including your official graduate transcript, will have to be submitted on paper.