How to Become a Teacher in Utah
Becoming a teacher is a very rewarding career. You will have the unique opportunity to affect change and and shape the lives of our future leaders. You will have the ability to positively impact, motivate, and enlighten children. The following are the steps to becoming a licensed teacher in Utah.
Choose What You Want to Teach
The first step you must take to becoming an educator in Utah is to decide what it is you want to teach. What level or grade do you desire to teach? Are you interested in teaching younger children multiple subjects? If so, perhaps elementary education should be your focus. Do you prefer working with older kids? Do you have a passion for a certain content area? If yes, then perhaps you should consider becoming a middle school or high school teacher. Would you like to work with children in special education? These are some areas to consider when deciding which type of license to obtain. If you are still unsure, the Utah State Department of Education provides great information about schools, programs, teachers, and students, which can help you make a good decision.
Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Utah
The basic education requirements to become licensed as a teacher in Utah are to posses a Bachelor's Degree as well as the completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program.
It is very common that prospective teachers, who decide from early on to become a teacher, combine their Bachelor's Degree coursework with the teacher preparation coursework. This is made possible because many colleges and universities offer such blended or joint programs.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
Teacher preparation programs are typically structured on the foundation of college coursework and fieldwork. Curriculum in these programs usually cover pedagogical theories, subject-based teaching methods, differentiated instructional strategies, classroom management, and more. Fieldwork provides individuals the opportunity to apply the learned curriculum in a real classroom setting with students. Fieldwork is usually a combination of classroom observations and student teaching. Depending on the institution that supports the teacher preparation program, individuals will be required to devote a certain amount of time to practice his/her skills under the supervision of a licensed teacher. During your time as a student teacher, you will work closely with a mentor teacher to prepare and implement lessons based on the needs of your student population. You may even be required to manage classroom behavior, assess students, and meet with parents. Depending on your college or university, it may be common that your mentor and/or university supervisor conduct classroom visitations in an attempt to provide you with feedback on your practice.
If you already have a Bachelor's Degree, you may be able to complete teacher preparation through a post-baccalaureate or alternative program.
These programs can be completed online or on a college campus. As with all states, Utah requires that teacher preparation programs hold national accreditation. Programs are evaluated periodically by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. CAEP is the combination of two former accrediting agencies, NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) and TEAC (Teacher Education Accreditation Council).
Alternative Teacher Certification in Utah
There are several non-traditional routes to becoming a licensed teacher in Utah.
Alternative Routes to Licensure
Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL) is a teacher preparation program for people who are interested in earning an initial Level 1 teaching license. ARL is also ideal for individuals who are already licensed teachers, but want to add another type of teaching license. This route allows candidates to teach for up to three years while under a temporary license. However, before the end of three years, candidates must continuously work on fulfilling licensure requirements.
The Out-Of-State Educator License may be an option for you if you were certified to teach in another state. However, you will still need to fulfill several Utah-based requirements.
Pass the Required Tests for Utah
In order to become licensed to teach in Utah, you will need to pass the required tests. You will need to pass a subject matter competency exam in the area you want to become licensed in. The Praxis II test can be taken in the area(s) you want to become licensed in.
Some colleges or universities may require that tests be passed before entry or completion of a teacher preparation program.
Apply for your Utah Teaching License
When applying for a license to teach in Utah, you will be asked to submit the following:
- Completed application form
- Non-refundable application fee
- Documentation such as, official college transcripts showing completion of a teacher preparation program
- Passing test scores
- Status of clear background check via fingerprints
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111-3204
Phone: (801) 538-7500
Find a Teaching Job in Utah
Once your application clears and you are granted a teaching license, you will be ready to begin your career as a teacher in Utah!
Teaching in Utah's Public Schools
The state of Utah is in an active process of recruitment for teachers who can teach subjects such as math, sciences, English, foreign languages, and special education. To that end, the state has created an auxiliary website at TeachUtah.org to facilitate connecting potential employees with employers.
Many new teachers join a state union such as the Utah Education Association (UEA) or the Association of American Educators (AAE). Both associations are dedicated to teacher advocacy at a local and national level.
Public School Teacher Benefits
Public employees are eligible for health benefits through the Public Employees Health Program, a comprehensive solution for individuals and families. Unlike most other states, teachers in Utah have an option of choosing 1 of 2 retirement pension plans, depending on need. Both plans are facilitated through the Utah Retirement Systems (URS) organization.
Teaching in Utah's Private Schools
Many educators prefer to work in a private school setting. Utah is home to almost 200 private schools. In a private school setting, teachers should note that pay scale, benefits, and student to teacher ratio are considerably different than in the public system. Almost a third of Utah's private schools are religiously affiliated, and half serve children under 5. Although private schools are not required by law to hire certificated teachers, many schools still prefer to do so. For more employment information, contact the prospective private school.
Continue Your Education and Professional Development
Professional development practices refer to the diverse set of experiences and learning opportunities that teachers voluntarily undergo in order to improve their professional practice. Many careers have opportunities for individuals to participate in professional development in order to learn and apply skills to improve job performance. Teaching is no different but in this case, job performance means that professional development skills will boost student achievement in the classroom by improving teaching quality and school leadership ability.
Professional Development for Teachers in Utah
The state Department of Education in Utah (USOE) provides and facilitates a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and other support staff in order to implement Utah Common Core standards. These are also intended to close achievement gaps and help teachers tailor instruction to different student populations. In order to facilitate these offerings, the USOE has developed OnTrack, a database of professional development resources and offerings that tracks educator PD endeavors. Teachers with questions regarding professional development opportunities are encouraged to contact USOE for more information and further direction.
Earn a Master's Degree to Satisfy Continuing Education Requirements for a Level 1 and 2 Professional License and to Work Toward a Level 3 Professional License
No, a master's degree isn't a requirement for teaching in Utah; however, earning a master's, either in education or in the specific field you're licensed to teach, will satisfy the continuing education requirements for a Level 1 and Level 2 license and, if desired, help you work toward the optional Level 3 license.
The Utah State Board of Education licenses three types of educators: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 educators.
Your initial, Level 1 professional license is valid for a period of three years. You'll be eligible to upgrade to a Level 2 professional license after three years of teaching experience and the successful completion of the Entry Years Enhancement (E.Y.E.) program.
A Level 1 professional license can only be renewed once. Should you need to renew your Level 1 professional license for another three-year term, you'll need to complete at least 100 professional learning points.
Once you earn a Level 2 professional license, you'll need to maintain it by completing at least 200 professional learning points during each five-year renewal period.
While full-time teaching experience and a variety of activities will allow you to satisfy the required professional learning points, the credits earned as part of a master's degree, either in education or in the subject related to your professional license, will also meet the required professional learning points.
Each semester credit hour earned through a master's program at an accredited college or university is worth 18 renewal points.
While you aren't required to advance to a Level 3 license, this seven-year license is earned by completing a doctorate degree in an education-related field, National Board certification, or a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). A master's degree is a necessary step toward a doctorate degree or ASHA certification.
Earn a Master's and You'll Earn a Higher Salary
As a master's-level educator in Utah, you may also be eligible for better pay. For example, according to the Salt Lake City School District's salary schedule, mid-level educators earn a salary of about $50,443 with a bachelor's degree, while those at the same level who hold a master's degree earn about $55,295, a pay bump of nearly $5,000 a year.