The Utah Teaching and Certification Resource
There are various pathways to certification for aspiring teachers in Utah. The Utah State Board of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Utah.
How to Become a Teacher in Utah
Prospective educators must meet the state’s requirements to earn Utah teacher certification. Like most US states, Utah requires all educators to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an education or licensure program, and pass the required content exams.
There are three levels of licensure in Utah. A Level 1 license is the initial certificate that teachers receive after completing a bachelor’s degree and passing the Praxis Subject Assessments. Teacher candidates must be recommended for licensure by an accredited institution before a Level 1 certificate can be issued. Those who complete an alternative route to teaching certification or who are eligible for reciprocity from another state will also be granted a Level 1 license.
While teaching with a Level 1 license, educators in Utah complete the Entry Years Enhancement (EYE) program, which provides support for beginning teachers. This program must be completed within the first three years of teaching. After an educator completes the EYE, the school district may recommend him or her for a Level 2 certificate. A Level 3 certificate is also available for those with a doctorate in education, certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), or certification from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Individuals must already have a Utah Level 2 certificate to be eligible to upgrade to the Level 3 license.
- I want to be a teacher in Utah, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Utah’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Utah
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in UT through 20262
Perhaps the most important step to becoming a teacher in Utah through the traditional pathway is completing an in-state education/licensure program at an accredited Utah college or university. If you already have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher licensure program, you may be eligible for an alternative certification route.
Prospective teachers evaluating institutions out-of-state or online should confirm that their school of choice is regionally accredited, as the Utah State Office of Education only recognizes out-of-state educator preparation programs that are regionally accredited. Note that candidates who choose to attend a teacher preparation program that is not located in Utah must first apply for a license in the state where the preparation program is located, and then apply to Utah for certification by reciprocity. For more information, see the Utah State Board of Education’s website. Or, compare key metrics for Utah state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Utah schools page.
In addition to regional accreditation, schools may hold accreditation from a national accreditation organization like the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP was formed by the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), two highly-regarded accreditation agencies. Under the new name, CAEP will continue to serve as a distinguished marker of rigorous standards in teacher preparation. Utah recently changed its laws to accept graduates of regionally accredited schools, so while it is not mandatory to attend a nationally-accredited school from one of these entities, it is still recommended.
Utah Teacher Education Requirements
In order to ensure that educators are thoroughly prepared for the demands of teaching, Utah’s State Office of Education approves teacher preparation programs at institutions headquartered within the state or from colleges and universities that are regionally accredited. Candidates pursuing teacher certification in Utah must both hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed a teacher preparation program that meets state standards for teacher education.
Utah Teacher Testing Requirements
Utah has adopted the Praxis Series of tests to evaluate candidates who apply for teaching certification in Utah. Some educational institutions require that students pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam before being accepted into a teacher preparation program. All future educators in Utah must pass the Praxis subject assessments in the content area that they would like to teach before receiving certification. In addition, those who are completing the EYE requirements to upgrade from a Level 1 to a Level 2 teaching license are often required to pass at least one of the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) tests.
Additional Utah Teacher Certification Requirements
Utah requires anyone applying for teacher certification to submit to a Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and federal background check through fingerprinting. To begin the process, applicants should go to the state’s Educator Licensing Online system.
Utah Teachers Licensing Application Process
Traditional route candidates for Utah teacher certification do not typically apply for their teaching license themselves. Instead, the teacher preparation program completed will apply for a license on the graduate’s behalf by entering a recommendation in Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS). You should check with your advisor and the education department at your school to verify that your file is complete. Candidates who graduated from regionally accredited baccalaureate program located out of state should follow the instructions provided for license candidates. For more information, contact the Office of Education.
Utah Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
There were 1,037 public K-12 schools in Utah during the 2016-2017 school year, serving an estimated student population of 659,801.3 With 28,841 public school teachers, this gave Utah a student-to-teacher ratio of about 23:1.3
Estimates call for 1,390 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 610 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 740 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Utah through 2026.3 Elementary school teachers in the state earn an annual average salary of $59,880, middle school teachers earn an annual average salary of $61,880, and secondary school teachers earn an annual average salary of $59,070.4 The Utah Education Association provides updates on education policy and local employment opportunities for teachers interested in working in Utah.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||270||48,260|
|Elementary School Teachers||11,990||$59,880|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,490||$46,320|
|Middle School Teachers||6,540||$61,880|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||630||$50,620|
|Secondary School Teachers||10,170||$59,070|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||1,170||$46,820|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||330*||$45,660*|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
*Data from 2015.4
Teacher Shortages in Utah
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Utah broadly has the following shortages5:
- Mathematics (Basic and Advanced Mathematics), 6-12
- Mathematics (Calculus), 9-12
- Special Education (Mild Intervention), K-12
- Special Education (Mathematics), 7-12
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in Utah?
Answer: To become a high school teacher in Utah, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university. You also must pass the Praxis exams and a criminal background check. When the requirements are met, you can apply for a teaching certificate with high school endorsements.
Question: Is there a teacher shortage in Utah?
Answer: According to the US Department of Education, Utah has predicted teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year in mathematics and special education.5 Teachers specializing in these areas in Utah may find more job opportunities than other teachers.
Question: What is a teacher’s salary in Utah?
Answer: Elementary through high school teachers in Utah earn average annual salaries of around $60,000.4 Factors that can contribute to teacher salaries include school location, teacher qualifications, and grade level taught.
1. Utah State Board of Education: https://schools.utah.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Utah: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ut.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/