The Connecticut State Department of Education is responsible for licensing English teachers in the Constitution State. Research has consistently shown that literacy is a fundamental component of success in a twenty-first century world, and English teachers have a vital role to play in preparing their students for academic and personal success.
To become an English teacher in Connecticut, complete the following steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
|Apply for Your License
|Maintain and Upgrade Your License
|Pursue Graduate Work
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program at a regionally accredited college or university is usually the first step to becoming an English teacher in Connecticut. A list of accredited schools in Connecticut may be found at the Connecticut State Department of Education website here.
State law requires that you keep a GPA of B- or higher in all classes before applying for a teacher prep program (although note some programs may have their own GPA requirement)s. However, the Connecticut State Department of Education notes that you should consult the admissions department at your prospective school for detailed information about applying to their teacher prep program, because programs may establish their own admission and program requirements above and beyond state regulations.
Information on alternative routes to certification for those with a bachelor’s degree and work experience may be found here.
In general, teacher prep classes will cover the principles of effective teaching, learning how to develop age-appropriate curriculum, provide meaningful feedback, conduct appropriate assessments, and understand diverse learners, processes, and styles. Educators also learn how to integrate technology, develop effective learning communities, communicate with parents and teachers, and encourage an atmosphere of respect. Most teacher prep programs also include a supervised teaching practicum at the end of their degree.
Step 2. Complete Testing
Before applying for a teacher prep program in Connecticut (or before applying for certification if you graduated from an out-of-state program) you must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in Reading, Writing and Mathematics, or obtain a waiver.
The Praxis Core exams assess the minimum skills in reading, writing, and math needed to be successful in teacher prep programs. The tests consist of computer-administered multiple-choice questions and two thirty-minute essay questions. Passing scores in Connecticut are listed below:
- Mathematics: 150
- Reading: 156
- Writing: 162
More information about the Praxis Core tests, including test times and study materials, is available here. In Connecticut, tests are administered in Glastonbury, Hamden, Litchfield, and Norwalk.
You must also take a Praxis II Content Area test before applying for certification. These vary according to the grades you will be teaching:
- To teach English in grades 7-12 (Secondary), you must pass the English Language, Literature & Composition: Content & Analysis test (passing score 172)
- To teach English in grades 4-8 (Middle School), you must pass the Middle School English & Language Arts test (passing score 164)
The English Language, Literature & Composition: Content & Analysis test is a 2-hour test delivered on paper or via computer, and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions. The questions examine your knowledge of literature, the English language, composition, and rhetoric. Information on the test’s four categories appears below:
- Literature and Understanding Text (45 questions, counts for 37.5% of your score): Identifying major authors and works, paraphrasing and interpreting print and non-print texts, identifying and interpreting figurative language and other literary elements, understanding patterns and other literary characteristics, situating authors and texts in their historical-cultural contexts, recognizing and applying strategic approaches to teaching reading.
- Language and Linguistics (18 questions, counts for 15% of your score): Understanding principles of first and second language acquisition, understanding elements of the history, development, and structure of the English language, understand and applying the conventions of grammar and usage, understanding semantics, euphemism, jargon, etc.
- Composition and Rhetoric (27 questions, 22.5% of your score): Understanding and applying elements of teaching writing, including individual and collaborative approaches, tools and response strategies, and common research techniques; understanding and evaluating rhetorical features in writing, including purposes, organization, discourse aims, methods of argument, style, tone, voice, point of view, and recognition of bias and fallacies.
- Analysis (2 constructed response questions, 25% of your score): Interpreting literature, including analyzing the central idea and key literary elements of poetry and prose from an English, British, or world literature example; evaluating rhetorical features.
A study guide for the English Language, Literature & Composition: Content & Analysis test is available here.
The Middle School English & Language Arts test is a 160-minute test that includes 130 minutes for 110 selected-response questions (mostly multiple choice, although some innovative questions types are used), and 30 minutes for two constructed-response questions. The test has been aligned with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and other national standards. The test components are below:
- Reading (46% of your score): Identifying major authors and works, situating authors and texts in their historical or literary contexts, understanding the defining characteristics of literary genres, knowing the defining characteristics of major subgenres, understanding literary and inferential interpretations, understanding literary elements and plot choices, understanding informational texts and rhetoric.
- Language Use and Vocabulary (11% of your score): understanding the conventions of Standard English grammar, usage, syntax, and mechanics, knowing the parts of speech; identifying errors and different sentence types.
- Writing, speaking, and Listening (18% of your score): understanding the distinct characteristics of different types of writing, and effective delivery of a speech or presentations, understanding methods that authors use to appeal to specific audiences, understanding what constitutes an effective written argument.
- English Language Arts Instruction (25%): knows commonly-used and research based approaches to supporting language acquisition and vocabulary development for different types of learners; knows techniques for instructing students to participate collaboratively in discussions.
Other detailed information on the test components is available in the study guide here.
Step 3: Apply for Your License
Connecticut English teachers may become licensed at various grade levels. The state has a three-tier system that includes the following certificates:
- Initial Educator Certificate
- Provisional Educator Certificate
- Professional Educator Certificate
The first license to apply for is the three-year Initial Educator Certificate. This certificate is issued to those who have successfully a completed a bachelor’s degree and teacher prep program as well as the exams noted above, and who have completed less than three full school years of appropriate teaching experience in the past ten years.
You may apply online at the sate’s Department of Education website. The nonrefundable application fee is $200. The endorsement codes for various kinds of English teachers in Connecticut are listed below:
- 015: English, Grades 7 Through 12
016: English, Grades 7 Through 9 (no longer issued except to previous certificate holders)
- 215: English, Middle School
- 915: Bilingual English, 7-12
- 966: Bilingual English, Middle School
Step 4: Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Connecticut has two further levels of certificates that follow the Initial Educator Certificate:
- Provisional Educator Certificate: valid for eight years, and requires completing one of the following:
- 10 months of successful experience under the initial educator certificate or interim initial educator certificate in a Connecticut public school and a teacher induction/mentoring program provided by the State Board of Education; or
- 30 months of successful experience within 10 years in a public school system, approved nonpublic school within the state, or nonpublic school approved by the appropriate out-of-state governing body.
- Professional Educator Certificate: Connecticut’s highest level of certification, and valid for five years. To qualify for this certificate, complete the following requirements:
- Thirty months of appropriate experience in a Connecticut public or approved nonpublic school under the provisional educator certificate; and
- Any course requirements required by current Connecticut regulations. Specific coursework requirements vary depending on your particular endorsement, so consult the Department of Education for further details.
Step 5: Pursue Graduate Work
The Connecticut General Assembly recently passed new legislation that will require a master’s degree to advance to the Professional Educator Certificate level in 2016.
The state offers the following types of post-baccalaureate degrees (below is only a sample):
- Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree programs (available in concentrations such as Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Educational Technology, Literacy, and Professional Enrichment)
- Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)
- Elementary Education (M.S.)
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership
Connecticut English Teacher Salaries
Connecticut has 1,174 public schools that serve more than 500 thousand students each year. A few years ago, the governor declared that he wanted to ensure that Connecticut schools employ the very best teachers available to serve these students. The state began allocating extra money in order to fund some of its educational goals. Connecticut will increase spending by $39 million for at least thirty districts in order to help them increase performance in the coming years.
For teachers this may be good news as salaries could eventually benefit by this additional funding. Connecticut schools are typically on par with many New England districts across the nation already. And—just as all schools—each will have its own salary schedules and incentives to try and attract the very best teachers. Districts typically allow for additional monies to be paid to teachers with higher degrees, additional training in their field of study, and special certifications such as National Certificates.
To look at just a few examples of salary variations, the starting salary for an entry level English teacher with a bachelor degree and one with a master’s degree are compared below in two larger Connecticut cities:
- Entry: $ 42,428
- Experienced: $ 43,664
- Entry: $ 47,277
- Experienced: $ 52,164
In Bridgeport the difference between the entry level and experienced English teacher is not very wide in year one. As the years progress, however, this gap increases. In Bridgeport for instance, if you teach for fourteen years and have a bachelor’s degree, you will earn $66,490 annually. If you had earned a master’s degree you will have reached $77,546 a year. For every year after you will realize that increase in pay. This will add over $11,000 to your annual salary.
To see more salary data across other metro areas in Connecticut view the chart below: