How to Become a Teacher in Connecticut

How to Become a Teacher in Connecticut

There are a few different paths to becoming an educator in the state of Connecticut, depending on your educational and professional background. The most straightforward way to become a licensed teacher in Connecticut is to earn a bachelor's degree, complete a Connecticut State Board of Education approved educator preparation program, and pass one or more state teaching tests, such as the Praxis exam series.

However, there are some alternative options for those who are from out-of-state, who have previous experience working as teachers, or those who have earned a degree in an unrelated field and wish to pursue teaching. Nearly all pathways to Connecticut teaching certification require the appropriate educational background, teaching experience, one or more tests, or a combination. An application is also required.

Complete an Educator Preparation Program in Connecticut

In order to become a teacher in Connecticut, you must complete an educator preparation program as part of your undergraduate or graduate university program. For example, suppose you are an undergraduate student studying for a degree in early childhood education. In that case, certain classes that you take in the program will be part of an educator preparation program. The Connecticut State Board of Education is the sole approver of these types of programs.

In order to be admitted or continue with an educator preparation program, you must meet a few requirements. First, you must either already hold an approved Connecticut teaching license, or you must pass either the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test, the ACT, the SAT, or the GRE. Second, you must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of B- in all of your undergraduate courses. The standards for grade point averages can vary by school or program; some programs will have higher standards, but a B- is the general minimum for the state.

Additionally, you must not only complete a state-approved educator preparation program, but the program must also be from a regionally accredited college. A few examples of regional accrediting agencies that may grant accreditation to schools in Connecticut include The Higher Learning Commission, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the New England Commission of Higher Education. Lastly, your educator preparation program must formally recommend you for certification once you have completed the program.

Connecticut Teacher Education Requirements

The minimum education requirement for aspiring Connecticut teachers is a bachelor's degree and an educator preparation program, but a master's degree may be required or recommended for certain certifications, positions, or career advancement. Some education programs have a combined bachelor/master's degree if earning an advanced degree is of interest to you. There are different types of education degrees and your choice will depend on what subject and grade level you want to teach. For example, an aspiring kindergarten teacher would pursue a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.

The specific coursework and credit requirements can vary with each school or program, but in general, students must take a certain number of courses in education, such as pedagogy and childhood development, as well as subject education courses, such as mathematics, language arts, or science. Students are also required to complete fieldwork experiences, where they observe a certified teacher in a classroom for a period during the school year. Students may need to complete more than one field experience. Some other requirements may include a capstone project or student-teaching experience.

Connecticut Teaching License Exam Requirements

There are a number of exams that aspiring Connecticut teachers will need to take. These exams vary in content and length and some depend on what grade level and/or subject matter candidates wish to teach. There is a minimum passing score for each exam. Connecticut certification exams are known as the Praxis exams, which are available in all 50 states but are adapted to each state's specific requirements. All aspiring educators must take the Core Academic Skills test, which consists of 3 subtests in Math, Reading, and Writing. Additional Praxis exams fall under exam suites that are categorized by grade level, subject matter, and professional role. The exam suites include:

  • Elementary Education (Grades 1-6)
  • Middle School Education (Grades 4-8)
  • Secondary Education (Grades 7-12)
  • All Grades (Grades PK-12)
  • Special Education (Grades K-12)
  • Administration
  • Career and Technical Education

Core Academic Skills Exam

The Core Academic Skills exam is required for certification in all areas and consists of three separate subtests in Reading, Math, and Writing. Candidates must pass all 3 subtests in order to earn certification. They can take the subtests separately or together.

The Reading subtest covers topics such as integration of knowledge and ideas, key ideas and details, and craft, structure, and language skills. The Math subtest covers topics such as algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, and data interpretation. The Writing subtest covers topics such as text types and purposes as well as candidates' ability to write a well-crafted essay.

Math and Reading are selected-response while the Writing subtest is a mixture of selected and constructed-response, with two 30-minute essays. The Core Academic Skills exam may be used as an entrance exam for educator preparation programs.

Elementary Education

The Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects exam is suitable for those wishing to teach grades 1-6 and consists of multiple subject areas since many teachers in these grade levels teach more than one subject. The subtests of this exam include Reading and Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. The Reading and Language Arts subtest covers topics such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

The Mathematics subtest covers topics such as algebraic thinking, geometry, data, measurement, statistics, and numbers and operations. The Social Studies subtest covers topics such as geography, world history, economics, and U.S. history, government, and citizenship. The Science subtest covers earth, life, and physical science. Candidates must pass each subtest in order to pass the exam as a whole, with the option of taking the subtests together or separately.

Middle School Education and Secondary Education

The Middle School Education exam suite includes exams such as Middle School English Language Arts, Middle School Mathematics, Middle School Science, and Middle School Social Studies. Unlike with the Core Skills and Elementary Education exam suites, candidates do not have to take all of the exams in this suite. The exams in this suite are required for aspiring teachers of grades 4-8 who will most likely only be teaching one subject. So, for example, an aspiring middle school math teacher would only have to take the Middle School Mathematics exam.

The Secondary Education exam suite follows a similar format to the middle school exam suite; candidates will only need to take the exam that coincides with the subject they wish to teach, only it is for high school and not middle school. There are a few more types of exams in the secondary education suite, which are known as content knowledge exams. The tests in this suite include Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts: Content and Analysis, General Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Social Studies.

All Grades (Grades PK-12) and Special Education (Grades K-12)

The All Grades (Grades PK-12) exam suite has exams for subject areas that are not specific to one grade level, such as health, art, and physical education. So, for example, an aspiring art teacher who wishes to teach art to middle school students would take the same exam as an aspiring art teacher who wishes to teach art to high school students. The exams in this suite include Art: Content and Analysis, Computer Science, Health Education, Music: Content and Instruction, Physical Education: Content and Design, and English to Speakers of Other Languages. The Special Education (Grades K-12) exam suite consists of one exam, the Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications exam. This is suitable for aspiring special education teachers of all grade levels.

Connecticut Teacher Licensing Application Process & Requirements

The application process for Connecticut teacher certification is pretty straightforward. Applicants will need to fill out basic information such as their name, address, contact information, and social security number. They will also have to provide information that verifies their completion of an approved educator preparation program, student teaching internship, or valid professional experience, as well as proof of a bachelor's degree.

They will also have to answer questions such as if they've been convicted of a crime, dismissed from a job position, or surrendered a professional license, certificate, or equivalent. Applicants must also obtain the signature of an appropriate professional (such as the leader of their educator preparation program) to recommend them for certification. Supporting documents such as transcripts, diplomas, and birth certificates must also be included.

Alternative Path to Certification for Connecticut Teachers

There are a few options for those seeking Connecticut alternative teacher certification. One option is the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification (ARC), which is approved by the Connecticut State Board of Education. This program has classes on teaching theory and practical training, along with field experience. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. They must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate or graduate classes and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills exam and the Praxis II Subject Area Test. Some other alternative pathways include Connecticut's division of Teach for America, the Charter Oak State College ECE ARC program, and alternate routes to cross-endorsement areas for special education.

Connecticut Credentials for Out-of-State Teachers

If a certified teacher moves to Connecticut from out-of-state, they won't have to go through the traditional process that in-state candidates do. Connecticut is a part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement. Under this agreement, there is Connecticut teaching license reciprocity, meaning that as long as a teacher has completed an educator preparation program that is approved by the state they earned it in and is regionally accredited, this fulfills Connecticut's program requirements. Or, if a teacher has at least 30 months of experience under the certificate they earned in their previous state, this can also qualify them. Candidates will have different criteria to meet depending on the certificate type.

Certificate Type Requirements
Initial Educator Certificate Completed out-of-state educator preparation program
Coursework and testing requirements are met
Provisional Educator Certificate Completed out-of-state educator preparation program
30 months of experience under a valid certificate from that state
Can be exempt from required tests
Durational Shortage Area Permit Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited institution
12 semester hours in subject area
Enrollment in educator preparation program

Connecticut Educator Professional Development & Certification Renewal

There are 3 types of teacher certifications in Connecticut: Initial, Provisional, and Professional. Each one represents where a teacher is at in their career. For example, first-time teachers will need to earn the initial certificate. After 3 years, they must maintain their certificate by submitting an application and paying a fee. There is also a state of Connecticut teacher certification renewal option, which is when a teacher has not served for the full time of their certification but would like to keep the certification. Renewal is only available for initial certification. In order to advance to a provisional and eventually a professional certification, considerable hours of professional development are required.

Candidates wishing to earn provisional certification must complete the Teacher Education and Mentoring Program and 10 months of teaching experience under their initial certification. Out-of-state and nonpublic school applicants must complete 30 months of teaching experience. Candidates who wish to advance from provisional to professional certification first must have had their provisional certificate for 8 years, complete 30 hours of semester credits in addition to their bachelor's degree, and 30 school months of teaching experience under the provisional certificate. As of 2018, candidates must obtain a master's degree in their teaching field in order to earn a professional certification.

Connecticut Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary

By nature of the profession, teachers will always be in demand. But the employment outlook for teachers can vary across time and location. Nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the salaries and employment outlooks for K-12 teachers.

Job 2020 Median Pay Job Outlook (2020-2030)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $60,660 7%
Middle School Teachers $60,810 7%
High School Teachers $62,870 8%

Specifically for the state of Connecticut, Salary.com reports an average salary of $64,611 for Connecticut public school teachers. However, the salary range in this area is $56,406 to $74,590.

Connecticut public schools have about 550,954 students enrolled and 43,931 teachers employed, with a teacher-student ratio of 1:13. There are 170 school districts and 1,148 schools.

Expert Contributor

Jenessa McCulloch

Jenessa McCulloch, M.Ed. has over 12 years of experience in education, including 8 years as a middle school math teacher and 4 years as a curriculum director. She has passed the Praxis exam and holds a Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Special Education certification. Jenessa received her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Administration from Southwest Baptist University and her B.Ed. in Elementary Education & Teaching from Pittsburg State University.

All Teacher Certification Exams