According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the state needs more than 1,300 new preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers each year to fill vacant positions. While the average salary for teachers in Utah continues to trail behind the national average, many districts are boosting pay to help draw more qualified teachers to the state.
Aspiring educators can earn a Utah teaching license in one of two ways. The first is the university recommendation pathway. Students can complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at one of 10 colleges and universities throughout Utah. These programs mix education coursework with supervised classroom experiences. Several teacher preparation programs are available online. Upon graduation, students must then pass content certification and ethics exams, along with a background check.
Students can complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at one of 10 colleges and universities throughout Utah.
In 2016, the Utah State Board of Education authorized the academic pathway to teaching. Through this path, individuals with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution anywhere in the country can take a content certification exam in their area of expertise. After passing this test and a background check, they may teach for a period of up to three years under the supervision of a mentor teacher.
Out-of-state educators must submit college transcripts and exam scores in order to receive a license to teach in Utah. All teachers must complete the Entry Years Enhancement program within their first three years of teaching in Utah to qualify for a full license.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Utah?
Each state has its own requirements for teacher certification, and teaching licenses do not automatically transfer across state lines. Because the state is facing a critical shortage of teachers, the Utah Department of Education has made it easier for out-of-state teachers to relocate to Utah and for non-teachers to enter the profession.
As mentioned above, those with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school can apply for a provisional Utah teaching certificate. After passing a Praxis II exam in the content area in which they hold a degree, they can teach that subject for up to three years under the supervision of a mentor teacher. Unlike other states with alternative certification pathways, these provisionally-certified teachers do not need to complete additional coursework in education.
Out-of-state teachers can also receive a license so long as they prove they have met Utah teaching requirements. These educators must submit transcripts from a regionally accredited college or university, proof of their teaching experience, and results from a Praxis II exam in their content area. Out-of-state teachers must still submit to a background check.
Teaching positions in Utah require, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. However, earning an associate degree in education can still help you take the first step towards becoming a teacher in the state.
Most aspiring teachers in Utah complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at one of 10 colleges and universities. These programs include coursework in education and supervised classroom experiences. Full-time students usually complete these programs in four years, though some schools allow online students to finish in a shorter amount of time.
Utah's State Board of Education does not require teachers to earn a master's degree. However, continuing your education might help boost your salary. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, teachers with 30 years of experience and a master's degree earned, on average, $10,000 more per year than teachers with similar experience and a bachelor's degree. Most students complete a master's program in one or two years.
...teachers with 30 years of experience and a master's degree earned, on average, $10,000 more per year than teachers with similar experience and a bachelor's degree.
Through Utah's academic pathway to teaching, anyone with a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university can qualify to teach within the content area of their degree. While this pathway allows some individuals to enter the classroom without prior student teaching experience, they must still teach under the supervision of a mentor teacher for three years before they can receive their full Utah teaching credentials.
Licensed teachers from another state who have met the requirements established by the State Board of Education can easily obtain a license to teach in Utah. Utah is one of 45 state participants in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. While this agreement does not guarantee full reciprocity across state lines, it does expedite the process for transferring a teaching license from one state to another.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Utah
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to Education||Through both theory and observation, this course broadly examines the relationship between learning, teaching, motivation, and instruction in classroom settings.|
|Foundations of American Education||This course explores the context of American education and the historical, social, economic, and political forces that have shaped its current form and delivery.|
|Educational Psychology||Laying the foundation for more advanced studies in cognition and development, this course introduces educators to theories of how students learn. The class includes a practical study of parent education, communication, and involvement.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Classroom Reading Instruction||This class helps students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support early literacy development in elementary classroom settings. Topics include phonological awareness, beginner phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.|
|Education of Students with Disabilities||With more and more schools understanding the importance of inclusive education, all teachers must know how to work with students who have various disabilities. This course offers an introduction to identifying exceptional learners and shaping instruction to suit their unique learning needs.|
|Assessment and Differentiation Across the Curriculum||Assessment, both in the form of standardized exams and project-based learning, plays an enormous role in modern education. Future teachers learn how they can use information gathered from assessments to create individualized instruction for their students.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Curriculum Design||All teachers must modify curricula for their students, and some may need to design new curricula outright. This course helps educators understand the historical and educational context of curriculum design while helping them develop practical skills in design, implementation, and assessment.|
|Multicultural Education||This class explores the connection between culture, language, identity, and learning. Future educators receive the skills necessary to design multicultural educational experiences and employ culturally aware instructional techniques in the classroom.|
|Family and Community Involvement||In this course, aspiring teachers learn strategies for promoting involvement from families and communities in the education of young children. The course emphasizes how to build and maintain positive working relationships across lines of difference.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Utah
All Utah teaching jobs require a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Utah provides two main pathways to becoming a teacher in the state. In an attempt to reduce the barriers of entry into the teaching profession, Utah has eliminated all fees associated with initial professional educator licensing and license renewal.
First, you can complete a teacher preparation program at one of the 10 colleges and universities that have received authorization from the State Board of Education. After graduation, you must pass a Praxis II exam in your area of certification. You must also undergo an educator ethics exam and a background check. Upon doing so, you receive a level 1 license, which is good for three years.
If you have a bachelor's degree in a field other than education, you may be eligible to receive a provisional license to teach within your area of expertise. With a provisional license, you may teach for up to three years under the supervision of a mentor teacher. You must still pass all exams required by the state, as well as a background check.
All new teachers, including those who have transferred from another state, must complete the Entry Years Enhancement (EYE) program during their first three years of teaching in Utah. EYE is a structured support program that includes mentorship, additional exams, and a professional portfolio. Educators should also receive an endorsement from their employer district or charter management organization. Upon successful completion of the program, educators qualify for a full level 2 license. Teachers must renew these licenses every five years.
Teachers can also pursue a level 3 license. To do so, educators must earn National Board Certification or a Ph.D from an accredited institution. Level 3 licensing is primarily used for salary purposes.
Choosing a Degree Program in Utah
These are several factors future educators must consider when choosing an education program in Utah. For example, how much can you afford to spend? Aspiring teachers in Utah qualify for forgivable loans that cover the full cost of tuition, but you may still have to pay for room, board, books, and other expenses. Location is also important. Online students may not have to worry about traveling to campus for classes, but they still need to work with their school to arrange student teaching experiences in a school district.
Full-time students can usually complete a bachelor's program in teacher education in four years, but students balancing their studies with personal or professional obligations may need more time. Some schools offer accelerated options that allow students to obtain their degree more quickly. Another important consideration is concentration options. Students can specialize in several areas of education, including elementary education, special education, mathematics instruction, or English as a second language. However, not every school offers every concentration.
Finally, students should consider whether the Utah State Board of Education has authorized their chosen program. If not, you will likely need to consider one of the state's alternative pathways for licensure.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Utah?
You can earn an online teaching degree in Utah from several different schools. There are no differences in the licensure process for students who earn their degree online instead of on campus.
Most full-time students complete these programs in four years, though some online programs offer accelerated courses of study.
Students taking the traditional university-recommendation pathway can enroll in any one of the ten state-approved teacher preparation programs, several of which offer coursework online. However, distance learners must still complete in-person student teaching hours at a local school. Most full-time students complete these programs in four years, though some online programs offer accelerated courses of study.
Alternatively, aspiring teachers can pursue the academic pathway to teaching. Through this route, anyone holding a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university can receive provisional certification to teach in their area of expertise. Future educators can complete a bachelor's program completely online, then teach for three years under the direction of a mentor teach to qualify for their full teaching license.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Utah
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Utah
To receive financial aid opportunities such as the Pell Grant, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA connects students with a number of federal aid opportunities, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. Students do not need to pay back any money they received from grants or work-study.
While loans can be helpful for funding education, students must usually pay them back upon graduation. However, the federal government offers several loan forgiveness programs for professionals that work in schools or public service. The federal government forgives up to $17,500 in loans through its Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. In exchange, educators must teach in a low-income school or education service agency. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can also help teachers reduce their debt burden.
States, schools, and private organizations may also offer scholarships or discounted tuition. Certain school districts assist working teachers with obtaining a graduate education. Professional associations and unions provide additional scholarships to students with exceptional academic records and dedication to public service. There are also several options based on ethnicity, socioeconomic status, race, and gender.
Loan Forgiveness for Utah Teachers
Utah faces a critical shortage of teachers, so the state has taken a number of steps to help fill this need. Utah’s T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Program is one of the most generous loan forgiveness programs for future teachers in the country. Students can receive up to the full cost of tuition and fees at any of Utah's public colleges and universities, as well as any private college or university that offers a state-approved teacher education program. Students may renew these loans for up to four years.
After earning their degree, graduates must work at one of Utah's K-12 public schools. The state forgives one year of loan support for each year of service, meaning participants must teach for four years in order to completely eliminate their debt. If recipients do not teach for a number of years equal to the years in which they received loan money, they must pay back the balance.
Scholarships for Utah Teaching Students
The T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Program pays up to the full cost of tuition for prospective teachers attending a college or university in Utah. Because of this, there are only a handful of other scholarships in the state that cater specifically to future educators. However, aspiring teachers can still pursue general Utah scholarships, national teaching scholarships, and private awards.
T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Full Tuition
Regents' Scholarship $1,000 to $10,000
Federal TEACH Grant $4,000
Inspire our Future Scholarship $500
Native American Scholarship $5,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Utah
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Utah teaching jobs pay about $4,000 less than the national average. According to the National Education Association, Utah ranked 46th in terms of statewide average salaries for teachers. However, a ballot initiative could help to triple the amount of annual education funding in the state between 2019 and 2023. While the state legislature would determine exactly how this money is spent, it is likely they would direct some portion towards increasing teacher salaries.
Within Utah, salaries vary considerably. Teachers working in the metropolitan areas of Salt Lake City, Ogden-Clearfield, and Provo-Orem typically earn higher salaries than those who teach in rural counties. Additionally, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers earn more than their peers in kindergarten classrooms. Preschool teachers, as is the case across the country, earn significantly less than teachers in all other grade levels. This is partly due to the fact that in many states, preschool teachers do not need a bachelor’s degree or teaching license.
|Elementary School Teachers||$54,180|
|Middle School Teachers||$56,010|
|Secondary School Teachers||$57,050|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Utah
How do I get a teaching license in Utah?
How much does a teacher make a year in Utah?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Utah?
Resources for Teachers in Utah
- Utah State Board of Education The USBE oversees all public K-12 education in Utah. The board licenses teachers, establishes standards, administers state assessments, conducts research, and distributes funding to districts throughout the state. The USBE also hosts a web-based professional development portal, which features more than 200 online courses for teachers, administrators, and support staff.
- Utah Education Association The UEA is the state-level affiliate of the National Education Association, an employees' union for educators. On behalf of its 18,000 members, the UEA advocates for improved teacher compensation and increased education funding. The association also hosts professional development workshops, awards school improvement grants, and provides resources for aspiring teachers.
- American Federation of Teachers - Utah The AFT-Utah is another state-level affiliate of a national teachers' union. Through collective bargaining and political activism, the group works to ensure that all Utah residents have access to high quality education. The AFT-Utah hosts an annual conference, provides scholarships to its members and their dependents, and produces research on education issues in the state.
- Voices for Utah Children Founded in 1985, Voices for Utah Children is a nonprofit advocacy group that represents the interests of children in public policy decisions. The group works across a number of policy areas, including child welfare and safety, early childhood education and development, and K-12 education. The website offers a wealth of research on these subjects, as well as a state legislation tracker.
- Utah Association for the Education of Young Children Part of a wide national network, UAYEC represents early childhood education professionals in Utah. The nonprofit organization hosts the Utah Early Childhood Conference, administers a certification program, and supports the accreditation of early childhood education programs in the state. The UAYEC website also features a jobs board.