Utah Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Utah
If you want to pursue a career as an educator in Utah, it is important to understand how you will qualify for Utah teaching certification. Thorough information about general educational requirements and licensure options will help you get started achieving your goal.
Requirements for certified teachers in Utah
To satisfy the minimal educational requirements in Utah, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. According to the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), you must also complete a teacher preparation program, including student teaching. The state of Utah verifies all degrees and majors through original transcripts that list date of conferment, the type of degree, and the major.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in education, you may be able to apply online for your initial teaching license directly after graduation using Utah’s Educator Licensing Online portal. If you have a bachelor’s degree outside the field of education, you can apply for the Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL) program, where you may qualify to work as a teacher while taking courses to satisfy teacher preparation requirements.
In order to teach at the secondary level, you must have a master’s degree. There are fourteen areas of concentration plus numerous academic endorsements that are available for Utah certified teachers.
In additional to the education requirements, you will need to agree to a fingerprint and criminal background check. You must pass the appropriate PRAXIS exam for your teaching level and concentration level. The exams reveal your competency for general knowledge related to teaching and dedicated fields such as special education. Individual academic course endorsements require passing a specialty exam in order to receive your Utah teaching certification. If you are a foreign-educated teacher candidate, you must also take an English language proficiency exam.
Utah jobs for licensed teachers
Utah has several teaching license levels. Below are the primary categories:
- Level One Educator: Entry-level teaching certificate available after completion of a preparation program and recommendation of that institution.
- Level Two Educator: Requires meeting all of Level One requirements with an additional three years of teaching experience within a five-year period. You will also need to collaborate with a mentor, pass the PRAXIS Principles of Learning and Teaching exam, and receive a recommendation from your employing school or district.
- Level Three Educator: Requires a current Level Two license, plus one of the following: National Board Certification, a doctorate in education or specialty field related to public education, or a Speech Language Pathology concentration with American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHSA) certification.
In addition to license levels, you can choose to teach K-6, 7-12 or K-12 by completing additional educational requirements and applying for the appropriate endorsements.
Utah teaching licenses must be renewed every three, five, or seven years, depending on the level of your license. For complete information about licenses and their associated fees, visit the USOE’s license requirements page.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Utah for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Foreign Language (Chinese and Dual Immersion)
- Mathematics (Level 4)
- Special Education – Severe Disabilities
- Speech Language Pathology
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Teaching license reciprocity in Utah
Utah participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.