Beginning in 2014, the Utah Board of Education began requiring all students from the third grade through high school to take the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) exams. The new exams are meant to be a more accurate assessment of how well a student has learned core curriculum (courses in math, science and English). The new testing is no longer a multiple-choice type of test. It is designed to show higher levels of critical thinking. There is a general expectation that students will have a period of adaptation to the new testing standards and may not perform well initially.
As a new English teacher in Utah, now more than ever, your teaching skills will need to become top-notch as Utah’s State Board consider test results as a reflection of your abilities. One way to prepare yourself for these new standards is to seek a teacher-training program that will give you the best tools possible for becoming a highly effective educator. If you are ready to take the challenge teaching English Language Arts to students in Utah, here are the steps to follow to earn a teaching license in Utah:
|Choose an Educational Program|
|Pass Utah Licensing Exams|
|Apply for Teaching License|
|Follow-up with Professional Development|
Step 1. Choose an Educational Program
The basic program for all teaching candidates in Utah will start with the minimal bachelor’s program that has a teacher-training period. There are nine approved schools you can select from in Utah in order to fulfill the educational requirement.
The programs offer various courses during each semester (or quarter) that will help you gain the skills you need. Early in your education you will fulfill the general education requirements. This means you will participate in classes designed to give you a well-rounded education similar to high school. The courses will naturally be at an adult learning level and will cover topics such as science, math, and language arts.
Once you have completed your general educational courses, you will then take courses in the major. For junior high and high school teacher candidates, you will find many of your classes will focus on language arts. For elementary school, your courses will continue to focus on general education.
You will also take elective classes. Some of these can be courses that you may want to take just because you have an interest in the subject such as music or art. Electives offer you the chance to take classes that are outside your major that you might want to explore for personal enrichment.
After you complete your core classes and general education courses, you will take part in a teacher-training program that will offer classes preparing you to run a classroom. This part of your degree will also have a practicum giving you in-class experience.
Seeking Alternate Pathway to Professional Educator License (APPEL)
For students that are returning to school and already hold a degree, there is an alternative way for you to become a teacher. The APPEL is a good option because it does not require you to go back to college to seek another full degree. This option will save you time and money and get you into your new career quicker. Here are the basic requirements for the APPEL:
Teaching Elementary Students
- Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in any subject
- Complete the items on the Content Course Eligibility Checklist.
Teaching Secondary Students/English Certification
For this grade level there are two possible routes to take. You can use your current degree if it is subject appropriate (language arts) or take and pass a subject proficiency exam.
All levels- Post Graduate Degree and Teaching Program
Another possibility, and one that can offer greater salary benefits, is selecting a master’s program that also has teacher training. This option will take a little more time, but in the long run can prove to be a valuable choice.
Step 2. Pass the Utah Licensing Exams
Once you have your education behind you, the next step is the Utah state exam requirement. The exams were designed to show that you are now ready to teach and have acquired all the necessary skills. It is the culmination of proof for all your education. You will take a basic skills test that shows proficiency in core courses. You will also have a content test specific to teaching English. There are also exams for grade levels as well. When the time comes to take this step, check the testing site for the current required tests for your grade level.
The testing center has set up three options for registration:
- You can go online and apply.
- You can call (800) 772-9476 Monday through Friday 8:00 am- 7:45 pm E.T. (there is a surcharge of $35 for this option).
- You can mail your application. Download the Test Authorization Voucher and fill it out completely. Mail it to:
ETS–The Praxis Series
PO BOX 382065
Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8065
You will receive a ticket in the mail if you phone in your registration or send it in by mail. If you apply on line, the ticket will be available online. This will be your entrance to the testing center on your exam date. Be sure to have this ticket with you along with your state-issued ID.
Step 3. Apply for Your Teaching License
When you receive a passing score on the state exams, the next step in the process is to apply for the teaching license. The first license issued is a level-one license. To start this process, go to the Utah Education Network (UEN) and set up an account.
After you have your account with the UEN, you will then need to set up an account with the Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS).
Now that you have created your two accounts (UEN and Cactus) you are ready to proceed with the licensing requirements.
The Level One license will be awarded to you when you meet all the initial requirements of education, exams, and receiving a recommendation for licensing from the college you received your degree from.
When you have held the initial Level One license for three years, you can upgrade it to the next level once you meet the requirements for teaching, performance evaluation, fingerprinting, and recommendation. You will also have to complete an ethics review and receive a Highly Qualified Status in English. One final requirement for the Level Two license is completion of a suicide prevention course.
The final level you can receive in Utah as an English teacher will require you to compete a doctorate degree.
Step 4. Follow-up with Professional Development
Utah’s Rule (R277-500) set down by the State Board of Education requires that you continue professional development and education past your initial degree. This process allows educators to learn new teaching techniques, technology skills, and other vital tools needed for effective teaching. When you are ready to renew your license you will need to complete the Entry Years Enhancement (EYE) program.
If you decide to seek the highest level of licensure in Utah (Level Three), you will need to complete a doctorate program. You will be qualified to teach any grade level you choose including university students. You will also be considered highly educated which may offer you greater job security and higher pay.
Utah English Teacher Salaries
The state of Utah has been known to focus on sharing educational funds as equally and as fairly as possible. While it never seems to be enough—including money for teacher salaries—the state opts to continue to spread the budget out evenly. Teachers still can expect that salaries may vary from district to district-based on local contributions as well as state monies and some district are more generous than others.
As an example, in Salt Lake City Utah an entry level English teacher with an undergraduate degree in her first teaching position can expect $38,030 a year. An entry-level English teacher in the same school district that holds a master’s degree and has also earned an additional twenty college units can earn $44,015.
By contrast, in the Murray school district the same teacher will earn a much reduced salary. Coming in with a bachelor’s, she would earn only $34,921 in her first year. It would stay in that range for the first three years. For a teacher with a master’s degree it would be as high as $40,198.
There are other considerations besides annual salary as well. Many schools will pay teachers for other activities such as supervising after school activities, sports and mentoring or counseling.
Here are a few more Utah teacher salary comparisons:
Davis School District
- Entry-Level – $32,658
- Experienced – $37,465
Granite School District
- Entry-Level – $33,004
- Experienced – $35,966
Granite School District
- Entry-Level – $33,004
- Experienced – $35,966
Juab School District
- Entry-Level – $32,816
- Experienced – $34,478
Nebo School District
- Entry-Level – $31,567
- Experienced – $33,179
To see additional teacher salary information for other schools around Utah visit the section below: