How to Become a Teacher in Utah

Students who are considering learning how to become a teacher in Utah will find the state is offering excellent job options for teachers with a growing number of students in its schools. Online degree programs make earning the necessary qualifications for teaching in Utah simple.

Understanding these requirements and the benefits of teaching in Utah will help students make informed decisions about their education.

Utah by the Numbers

The National Center for Education Statistics says Utah had 25,682 teachers educating 585,552 students in 1,029 schools in 2011. That equates to an average pupil/teacher ratio of 22.8-to-1, substantially higher than the national average of 15.97-to-1.

Teachers in Utah earn an average of $45,654 a year, according to the NCES. This is less than the national rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average pay for elementary teachers across the nation is $51,380, while the average pay for secondary school teachers is $53,230.

Demand for Teachers in Utah

Utah is experiencing growth in the number of students in its schools, which will translate into a growing need for teachers, making this an excellent state to consider looking for teaching opportunities in. TeachUtah.org says the state expects to see 50,000 new students over the next five years.

This growth may not be seen in all districts. According to UtahFoundation.org, the Tooele School District saw a 5.6 percent average annual growth between 2004 and 2007, while the Salt Lake, Provo and Logan districts all saw a negative enrollment during those same years. The demand for teachers is great, but new Utah teachers may need to be flexible in the districts in which they teach.

Teacher Education Programs in Utah

Individuals researching teacher-education programs in Utah need to look for schools that have national accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). The Utah State Office of Education says Utah has 10 universities or colleges that meet this qualification. Students can also study out of state or take online degree programs, provided they are properly accredited, and qualify to receive a Utah state license.

Requirements to Become a Teacher in Utah

Students who are wondering how to become a teacher in Utah need to understand the licensure requirements as listed by the Utah State Office of Education. All teachers who apply for a teaching license in Utah need to finish a qualified teacher-training program that includes supervised student teaching. Teachers must also undergo fingerprinting and a background check. Utah also requires its students to take the Utah Praxis II test, including testing in any concentration areas, in order to get a license.

Utah also allows alternative routes to licensure for those who have a bachelor’s degree that is not in education. These graduates must prove that they have enough liberal arts training to teach. Secondary education teachers must have a major in their subject field, while elementary education teachers must have at least 27 semester hours of broad liberal arts studies in subjects like social studies, fine arts, health, physical education, science, language arts and fine arts.

Qualified individuals must also get hired in a school district prior to receiving their license. During their initial time in the classroom, they will be closely monitored by the USOE and their principal to ensure they are qualified to teach. Finally, they must pass the Praxis II test.

While licensure is somewhat complex in Utah, once it is attained students will be able to pursue a career in a high-demand field. This makes finding qualified online degree programs or enrolling in a traditional program worthwhile. Those interested in doing what they can to influence the next generation of Utah learners should consider learning how to become a teacher in Utah.