A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.
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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Utah
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/27/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Utah, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Level 1 (valid for three years and renewable) is for beginning teachers
Level 2 (five years, renewable), is for teachers who have completed the Early Years Enhancement program
Level 3 (seven years, renewable), is for an educator who has earned either a PhD or National Board Certification.
Various areas of concentration can be added to the license based on the grade level and/or population with which you will be working. If you already possess a valid teaching credential from another state, you may be able to earn your Utah teaching credential through interstate reciprocity.
As in most states, teacher education programs in Utah are comprised of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. Coursework often includes instruction on foundational knowledge, skills, and teaching methodology, as well as preparation in researching, designing and implementing learning experiences in various fields of study. Fieldwork includes classroom observation, student teaching, or internships.
Generally, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for teachers to become certified. Some specialty areas do require teachers to complete a specific number of hours in particular courses. A full list of the requirements to add a license area of concentration to an existing teaching license are hosted on the Utah State Board of Education website.
Step Two: Utah Teacher Certification Programs
To teach in Utah, individuals can complete a teacher education program from an accredited college or university. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Utah can be found on the Utah State Board of Education website.
Step Three: Required Tests for Utah
For initial licensure, Utah requires applicants to pass the Praxis tests related to their certification area. A full list of the tests required by certification area is available on the website of ETS, which administers the Praxis examinations. In addition, educators moving from a Level 1 certification to Level 2 must pass at least one Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching test as part of the Early Years Enhancement program.
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The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.
Alternative Certification in Utah
Individuals with bachelor’s degrees in subjects other than education who have not earned a teaching certificate can receive an alternative teaching certificate by meeting specific state requirements via the Alternative Routes to Licensure. The state of Utah recognizes American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence certificationas one alternative route to receiving Utah teacher certification. Utah also participates in the Troops to Teachers program, which enables eligible ex-military personnel to teach on a temporary license while completing licensure requirements. Additionally, if you already possess a valid teaching credential from another state, you may be able to earn your Utah teaching credential through interstate reciprocity.
It’s no longer enough to have years of experience in teaching. After the No Child Left Behind Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and other academic quantification measures, teachers’ careers are increasingly dependent on the results they achieve in the classroom. A master's in the field of education can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as greater hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a master’s program, you may be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security, as well as higher pay. For example, teachers in the Alpine district who hold a master’s degree earn at least $1,526 more per year than those without an advanced degree, according to the district’s Teacher Salary Schedule.
Teachers in Utah who are interested in pursuing their Master’s in Teaching, but require financial aid to do so should consider Complete Student Loans, a non-profit organization associated with the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority, which is governed by the Utah State Board of Regents. Math for America is another non-profit committed to improving STEM education in the United State, partially by offering educators fellowships and scholarships. Utah residents are also eligible for the TEACH Grant, which offers financial aid to students in return for their service teaching in high-needs schools. Additionally, as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards points out, universities themselves may provide graduate-level credit to teachers pursuing certification or a master’s degree.
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual salary for teachers in Utah in 2013 was $49,393, , ranking it 34th among states for educator compensation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average elementary school teacher in Utah earns $53,730 and the average secondary school teacher $57,020. Accordingly, teachers in Utah earn about 125% of the state’s average for all occupations.
The Utah Retirement System (URS) administers Utah teachers’ retirement and insurance benefits. Coverage differs according to members’ tiers. Consult URS for specific information on benefits and requirements.
Teachers looking for work in Utah can find up-to-date listings of teaching vacancies and other available education jobs through TeachUtah.org, a branch of the national recruitment website Teachers-Teachers.com. After registering for a free membership, job seekers can browse open teaching positions by school and specialty. Members can also post and submit applications, as well as receive e-mail notifications when jobs that match specific criteria become available. Teaching positions are updated on a daily basis by local school districts.