Teaching Degrees in Connecticut

Teachers cultivate young minds through classroom instruction and extracurricular development activities, while also helping their students grow personally. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the K-12 teaching profession remains a growing field, with elementary, middle, and high school teaching positions projected to increase 7-8% through 2026; these rates align with the national average for all careers. Many states, including Connecticut, face teacher shortages, as reported by the Connecticut Mirror. Research by the state government shows similar findings, and a 2017-to-2018 report cites specific need in bilingual instruction, mathematics, world languages, vocational technology, comprehensive special education, and other areas. In addition to this urgent need for educators in Connecticut, the state also boasts some of the top salaries for public school teachers in the U.S. The National Education Association ranks Connecticut as the eighth highest paying state in terms of beginning teacher salaries and the fourth best for overall average teacher salaries.

Connecticut boasts some of the top salaries for public school teachers in the U.S.

You can obtain a Connecticut teaching certification in a flexible and affordable format by enrolling in an online education program that satisfies degree, exam, and practicum requirements. Teaching credentials vary by state, so teaching certificates may fail to successfully transfer across borders. In Connecticut, teachers must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher and complete a training program approved by the state government before applying for licensure. Out-of-state candidates may be exempt from certain coursework requirements, but must still complete the certification process.

The following guide details crucial information about how to obtain a Connecticut teaching license, including academic degree and professional training options and the overall certification process. As previously noted, educators must obtain state-specific teaching credentials in addition to holding a degree. Individuals who want to teach in CT pursue a three-tiered license after earning their bachelor’s degree and finishing a state-approved teacher training program. Initial educator certification requires an undergraduate degree and passing scores on the Praxis I Core mathematics, writing, and reading skills tests as well as the Praxis II Subject Test for a teacher’s specific content area.

Certified teachers can then pursue the intermediate provisional educator certificate after obtaining 10 months of approved work experience. The top-tiered professional educator certificate can be earned after working for 30 months. No license transfer options exist in Connecticut; teachers from outside the state who want to obtain CT teaching certification must go through the state’s entire accreditation process.

Educational Requirements

To earn teaching certification in CT, you must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably one in education that covered teacher training and prepared you to sit for the Praxis exams. You can then apply for state accreditation. If your immediate plan is to obtain an online associate degree, consider a program that provides a direct pathway into a Connecticut-approved educator preparation program. Since community colleges almost always offer lower tuition rates than four-year schools, this option can save you a considerable amount of money. Additionally, if you choose a program with flexible transfer opportunities, you won’t lose time earning your bachelor’s degree.

Many students pursuing a Connecticut teaching certification enroll in a bachelor’s program in education. These programs tend to provide the most direct path toward gaining the required experience and licensure and take approximately four to five years to complete; however, the overall completion time depends on how you structure your student teaching hours. Connecticut currently needs public school teachers in a variety of subjects; therefore, you can obtain an undergraduate degree in the field of your choice and then apply to a separate educator training program. Teach For America stands as the most recognized alternative pathway to teaching licensure, but the Connecticut government also offers a similar program called the Alternative Route to Teacher Certification. ARC participants earn a temporary 90-day certificate, during which time they can obtain further training while searching for employment in the state. Many learners also go on to earn a master’s degree to increase their earning potential and expand their job opportunities.

Teachers who hold a certificate in any other state must still undergo the CT training and endorsement process.

Connecticut does not hold any teaching license reciprocity agreements. This means that teachers who hold a certificate in any other state must still undergo the CT training and endorsement process. However, under the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, Connecticut teaching license candidates can apply for course requirement waivers if they meet specific requirements, such as possessing a regionally accredited college degree and at least 30 months of certified teaching experience within the past 10 years.

Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Connecticut

Associate Degree in Teaching

Foundations of Education This course provides a fundamental overview of the teaching profession with topics that include history of American education, teacher motives, curriculum and administration, and student rights. Learners also discuss practical job aspects like certification requirements and unionism.
Assessment of Young Children Prospective teachers learn the skills needed to observe and assess children by using developmentally appropriate methods, including the collection and interpretation of behavioral data. The course includes practicum hours in a classroom environment.
Initial Experiences in Education This class helps learners build hands-on skills in the public and parochial school system through a supervised classroom instructional practicum and curriculum development assistance. Topics include microteaching, motivation and management, and portfolio development.

Bachelors Degree in Teaching

Psychology of Exceptionalities This course offers a survey of special education topics, including the various types of exceptionalities and their characteristics and etiology. Through fieldwork, prospective teachers also learn about related treatment procedures and educational practices.
Differentiated Instruction This class builds a teacher’s ability to enact universally designed learning to cater to the diverse needs of all students. Teachers also learn to implement differentiated testing methods that enable their students to best demonstrate subject mastery.
Foundations of Literacy Learning Learners cover beginning reading content practices, such as phonemic awareness and reading comprehension. The course also contains fieldwork where participants develop sequenced curricula and practice instruction.

Masters Degree in Teaching

Applied Developmental and Learning Theories Prospective teachers learn the history and contemporary manifestations of behavioristic, cognitive, maturational, and social learning theories. Through research, discussion, and projects, they use these ideas to create human service and educational applications.
Curriculum and Standardized Testing This course provides an in-depth look at the Connecticut Mastery Test and other state and national mandated assessments. Through fieldwork, future teachers learn the practices that best prepare pupils for success. Additional topics include skill measurements, technology, and diversity challenges.
Planning and Assessment Participants learn to use approved curricular frameworks to develop curricula and plan classes, including tools like unit plans and objective writing methods. The course also contains classroom observation and instruction experiences.

Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Connecticut

The Connecticut State Department of Education confers teaching certification, which consists of three accreditation levels. The first is the initial educator certificate, which requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, completion of a state-approved educator preparation program, and passing scores on the Praxis I and II exams. Candidates who hold a master’s degree can apply to have their Praxis II and additional subject area assessment requirements waived. Upon receiving the first tier of certification and earning at least 10 months of appropriate teaching experience under the state’s Teacher Education and Mentoring (TEAM) program, candidates can apply for a provisional educator certificate. Finally, after obtaining a provisional certificate and earning 30 months of teaching experience in a Connecticut public school or approved non-public institution, candidates can apply for the professional educator certificate. This last tier also requires at least 30 hours of additional coursework beyond the baccalaureate level. Many students fulfill this requirement by earning a master’s degree in a related area. All application fees cost $50. Additionally, the state requires all teachers to take at least 36 hours of approved special education coursework as part of their college degree and training programs before they can earn Connecticut teaching certification.

The initial teaching license lasts three years, while the provisional license lasts eight. All Connecticut teaching licenses require maintenance, although the specific processes differ. To renew your initial or provisional educator certificate, you must submit an application for continuation up to six months prior to the expiration date and pay a $50 fee. Professionally certified teachers maintain their license by completing 18 hours of professional development each year, either through their employer or an approved third party.

Professionally certified teachers maintain their license by completing 18 hours of professional development each year.

Connecticut does not accept teaching licenses from other states. However, if you’re moving and want to transfer a Connecticut teaching certification somewhere else, you should make inquiries at the department of education of your new state; certain states do facilitate reciprocity or allow teachers to waive certain requirements when applying for a new license.

As you conduct research on various CT teaching certification programs, be sure to consider a program’s price, length, location, specialization options, and professional development opportunities. Cost will likely have a strong influence on your decision. What can you afford without financial assistance? How much financial aid do you need without factoring in loans? And how much can you realistically borrow? According to the Center for Financial Inclusion, student loan debt in the U.S. rose 74% between 2004 and 2014, and these numbers continue to increase. Accruing large amounts of debt can cripple your financial and personal well-being and deter future career opportunities.

Most bachelor’s programs take four years to complete, and more time may be required to secure certification depending on what method of teacher training you pursue. To expedite the process, be sure to enroll in a Connecticut teaching license and program that fulfills training requirements, offers accelerated course options, and provides different methods of earning transfer credits. You should also consider the specializations you want to pursue in terms of the teaching level (e.g., secondary or middle school education), subject matter (e.g., mathematics, art, or world languages), and/or other subfields (e.g., special or bilingual education). If you discover that traditional learning does not fit your schedule or satisfy other needs, look at distance education options for CT teaching certification.

Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Connecticut?

You can earn Connecticut teaching certification through an online degree and/or training program approved by the State Department of Education and regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Distance education generally comes with benefits like lower tuition, flexible course scheduling, and options for accelerated classes. Many online programs offer courses asynchronously, enabling you to read materials, complete assignments, and collaborate with peers and faculty at your convenience. However, it is important to look at a distance program’s residency requirements. Classroom observation, student teaching, and other practicum experiences stand as cornerstones of teaching curriculums, and CT teaching certification programs generally require students to spend time on campus or at another designated site to gain hands-on experience.

Most online Connecticut teaching license programs are taught through a hybrid format, mixing online coursework with flexible, on-campus participation in the form of weeknight/weekend classes, intensive summer sessions, and internships. You can choose to earn a college degree elsewhere before enrolling in a state-approved educator preparation program, but the degree you earn must come from a regionally accredited institution.

Directory of Teaching Schools in Connecticut

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You can greatly minimize the cost of your Connecticut teaching certification and degree program by seeking financial assistance opportunities. In addition to looking for colleges and universities that offer affordable tuition, be sure to apply for grants and scholarships; these need and/or merit-based forms of aid do not need to be paid back. Loans represent another funding option, but these should be utilized as a last resort due to their hefty and potentially escalating interest rates.

Make sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which lets you apply for multiple grants, scholarships, work-study positions, and loans simultaneously. Most colleges and universities integrate the FAFSA, which calculates your award package based on need, into their admission process. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the FAFSA office also assists prospective students with the entire financial aid process, providing information about efficient repayment methods should you decide to take out loans. Many professional and local organizations also offer scholarship opportunities based on criteria such as an individual’s community engagement, academic major, intended career, or identity markers (e.g., ethnicity, gender, or first-generation status). Several loan-forgiveness programs exist at the national and state levels, especially for prospective and current educators.

Loan Forgiveness for Connecticut Teachers

You can obtain student loans from the federal government, state government, or through private lenders such as a bank. Federal loans tend to be easier to obtain since they come through the FAFSA office. They also tend to feature lower interest rates, and many will not accrue interest until you’ve graduated. One of the biggest advantages of federal loans is the option to receive partial or total negation through a forgiveness program.

Although Connecticut does not offer any state-sponsored loan forgiveness opportunities, eligible teachers can apply for the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. In exchange for five years of work in an educational service agency or low-income/high-need school, you can receive forgiveness for up to $17,500 on your direct and federal staff loans, including all subsidized, unsubsidized, and consolidated loans. The national government also forgives the remainder of your direct loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program after 120 qualifying monthly payments if you work for a government agency or nonprofit organization. The third major loan forgiveness program is the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation initiative. For every year of full-time employment or volunteer work at an approved school setting, a percentage of your Perkins Loan can be forgiven, up to 100%. Additional options include loan deferment and stipends, which may be available to individuals who join organizations like Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach For America.

Scholarships for Connecticut Teaching Students

Student loan debt represents a major burden for many college graduates. It can lead to financial strain, emotional stress, and potential professional obstacles. To avoid this precarious situation, students should apply for several scholarships and grants. The list below details award opportunities for students pursuing their CT teaching certification.

CEA Ethnic Minority Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the Connecticut Education Association, this award is open to all ethnic-minority, high school students enrolled in a CT public school. Candidates must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and confirm their interest in teaching in CT. View Scholarship

DiGiovanni Future Teacher Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Candidates must have a parent who is a member or staff member of the Connecticut Education Association. Applicants must also be enrolled as a college student, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, and intend to pursue a teaching career in Connecticut. View Scholarship

CarterCares Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Funded by the Carter Mario Injury Lawyers firm, this award is open to all current Connecticut high school seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA who have been accepted into a community college or four-year institution. View Scholarship

Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarship $500-$2,000

Who Can Apply: This award is open to high school or undergraduate students who plan to pursue a degree in the field of education. Applicants must also be a member of PDK International, Educators Rising, or Pi Lambda Theta. View Scholarship

Roberta B. Willis Scholarships $5,250

Who Can Apply: Candidates must be a Connecticut resident who is a high school senior or recent graduate with a junior-year class rank of at least 20% and/or minimum SAT or ACT scores of 1210 or 27 respectively. Recipients must attend a public or nonprofit private college in Connecticut. View Scholarship

Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity $5,000

Who Can Apply: To be eligible, candidates must be a Connecticut or New York resident or an out-of-state resident attending college in Connecticut or New York. Candidates must also have solved an artistic, scientific, or technical problem in a new or unusual way or have come up with a distinctive solution to a problem faced by their school, community, or family. View Scholarship
Location Employment Annual Mean Wage
Connecticut 125,420 $64,220
United States 8,636,430 $54,520

Source: BLS

The table above includes numbers from the BLS detailing the average salary for teachers employed in Connecticut and across the nation. These numbers show that CT is one of the more lucrative states for teachers, who earn nearly $10,000 more than the national average each year. The number of certified professionals teaching in CT reflects the aforementioned dearth of educators in the state. In an attempt to overcome this challenge and attract qualified educators interested in stable positions, the CT government provides ample incentives for teachers willing to work in designated shortage areas.

The salary you earn as a teacher in Connecticut depends on the grade you teach. As shown in the table below, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers enjoy the highest salaries, while those who teach at the preschool level earn the lowest pay. Subject area and specialization may also affect earnings; for example, the national push for more STEM topics and the persistent need for special education teachers have led to increased demand in these areas. Where you teach factors heavily into your salary. Certain CT school districts have less economic power and funding to pay teachers. This difference is clear when you look at rural areas compared to populated, urban locations.

Average Annual Salary by Teaching Level in Connecticut
Preschool Teachers $36,570
Kindergarten Teachers $73,470
Elementary School Teachers $76,740
Middle School Teachers $77,250
Secondary School Teachers $76,260

Source: BLS

  • Connecticut State Department of Education As the administrative arm of the state’s Board of Education, the SDE confers all Connecticut teaching certificates. The department also provides in-depth information on licensure, educational research, assessment guidelines, and teacher training and professional development programs. Students can also access educational and outreach services, such as career and college readiness assistance.
  • State Education Resource Center A quasi-public organization established in 1969, SERC advocates for equity, school improvement, and better early childhood education. SERC also operates the Special Education Resource Center, which provides webinars and other teacher training tools. Additionally, the organization facilitates conferences on topics like systematic racism and paraprofessional education.
  • Connecticut Education Association CEA was founded in 1991 and stands as the premier teachers’ union in Connecticut with more than 9,000 delegates. The association advances the rights of teachers through public outreach, policy advocacy, education, and research. Members can participate in elections, committees, leadership events, and conferences. CEA also awards scholarships and grants.
  • National Education Association With more than three million members, NEA is the largest professional organization in the U.S. The association offers cutting-edge educational research and literature related to progress and challenges in the teaching field. Members gain access to lesson plans, teaching strategies, and classroom management best practices. NEA also provides funding opportunities and holds conferences.
  • Association of American Educators The AAE is a national, non-union organization for teachers and related professionals. The association advocates for its members and fosters research and professional collaboration among educators. Members enjoy professional development opportunities, an online library, and discounts on insurance plans and tuition with partnering colleges and universities. The AAE also provides grants and scholarships.
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