How to Become a Teacher in Connecticut

Earn teaching certification in Connecticut, one of the top five highest-paying states for teachers. See how to earn even more by teaching in a shortage area.

portrait of Meg Whitenton
by Meg Whitenton

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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How to Become a Teacher in Connecticut

Connecticut ranks among the best states for teachers, offering higher-than-average salaries and clear paths to certification. Connecticut teachers earned an average salary of more than $78,000 in 2020, the fifth-highest in the nation for this occupation, according to the National Education Association (NEA). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an even higher salary of $82,790 for middle school teachers in Connecticut in 2020.

Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) awards teaching certification through its Bureau of Certification. Teachers can obtain initial certification through a state-approved educator preparation program or collective teaching experience and subject-specific certification exams. All teachers in Connecticut must eventually earn a master's degree.

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Ready to start your journey?

The prospect of teaching in Connecticut attracts diverse talent and skills. CSDE offers flexible certification options for out-of-state, international, substitute, and shortage-area teachers. The average teaching salary in Connecticut increased by more than 5% from 2019-2020, according to the NEA.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Connecticut?

People interested in teaching in Connecticut must first earn a bachelor's degree. Teachers must also complete a CSDE-approved educator preparation program, resulting in a formal recommendation for teaching certification. CSDE also requires teachers to pass content area exams in their teaching subject.

Upon earning initial teaching certification in Connecticut, teachers qualify for provisional certification after completing a teacher induction program and at least 10 months of teaching experience. Provisional teachers can advance to professional certification once they complete at least 30 credits of post-baccalaureate study and 30 hours of classroom teaching experience.

Out-of-state teachers must meet CSDE requirements for certification, including verifying their education and teaching experience.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

Teaching in Connecticut requires a bachelor's degree for initial licensure and, eventually, a master's degree to maintain a professional certificate. Teachers can meet undergraduate course requirements through a standalone bachelor's degree or a state-approved educator preparation program. Graduates of a non-education bachelor's program can pursue an alternative preparation program.

Teachers must earn their degree from a regionally accredited school, preferably in a specific teaching subject or specialization. Connecticut's educator preparation programs provide coursework and experience in a student's desired teaching subject and grade level. However, CSDE welcomes teachers with broad experience to pursue jobs in teaching shortage areas.

Admission into a state-approved educator preparation program requires:

Gain Student Teaching Experience

Teachers in Connecticut need at least 10 weeks of full-time student teaching experience to qualify for initial certification. State-approved educator preparation programs require students to complete at least six and no more than 12 semester credits of field experience. This student teaching experience occurs over four semesters.

While most students satisfy student teaching requirements through an educator preparation program, others may already hold teaching experience. Teachers with at least two years of experience may be eligible to pursue an alternate path to certification to meet the remaining CSDE requirements.

Pass Required Certification Tests

Teachers must pass assessment tests in their desired teaching subject and grade level to earn certification. The following providers offer tests in various endorsement areas to aspiring teachers in Connecticut:

CSDE requires teachers to pass an endorsement assessment specific to their area of expertise. Endorsement categories include:

Apply for Certification

First-time certification candidates must submit a hard-copy application. However, they can create a Connecticut Educator Certification System account to check their application's status. CSDE charges $200 to apply for initial teaching certification in Connecticut.

Teachers must submit their application with a signed statement from their higher education institution. This signed statement verifies that the candidate completed an educator preparation program with field experience. Applicants must also submit their college transcripts. CSDE typically processes applications in 8-12 weeks.

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Connecticut?

Educators who meet all basic certification requirements receive an initial teaching certificate. Initial certification is valid for three years and renewable up to five times. To move up to the next level of provisional certification, teachers must complete a teacher induction program. They must also complete at least 10 months of teaching experience in Connecticut or 30 months out of state.

Provisional certificates stay valid for eight years and cannot be renewed in most cases. Teachers must complete a minimum of 30 credits beyond their bachelor's degree and at least 30 months of teaching experience under their provisional certificate to qualify for professional certification.

While maintaining valid and active certification is ideal, teachers with lapsed provisional certification may still qualify for professional certification if they meet all criteria over a period longer than eight years.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Connecticut

Education majors in Connecticut enjoy a variety of lucrative career options compared to other U.S. states. Connecticut employs one of the highest concentrations of high school teachers in the U.S. Already among the top five highest-paying states for elementary, middle, and high school teachers, Connecticut teaching salaries rose by more than 5% in 2020.

CSDE offers incentives including salary increases, sign-on bonuses, mortgage assistance, and student loan forgiveness for teachers willing to work in teaching shortage areas. In addition, CSDE enables some certification candidates to start teaching (and earn income) to build experience, as long as they already hold a bachelor's degree.

Connecticut cultivates its teaching talent through employee benefit programs, including comprehensive health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time. Beyond enjoying a teaching salary higher than the national average, teachers in Connecticut may earn additional income for becoming a student mentor or pursuing a master's degree in education.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Connecticut

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers educate children with learning, physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities. K-12 special education teachers must pass assessment exams for this specialization and grade-level range. PreK-12 special education teachers can potentially earn a higher wage than the median annual salary listed below for working in this statewide teaching shortage area.

Median Annual Salary: $71,050

Career and Technical Education Teacher

Career and technical educators help prepare students for a trade or technical occupation. They often incorporate subjects like technology, which is a teaching shortage area in Connecticut's preK-12 classrooms. The median annual salary listed below reflects middle school career and technical educators in Connecticut.

Median Annual Salary: $78,650

Math Teacher

Math teachers introduce basic math to elementary students and teach advanced math in middle and high schools. Certification requires a subject test for grades 4-8 (middle school) or 7-12 (high school). Teachers in Connecticut can potentially earn more by working in this teaching shortage area. The figure below reflects middle school math teachers in Connecticut.

Median Annual Salary: $82,790

Science Teacher

Like math teachers, science teachers can earn an especially high wage in Connecticut, where there is a statewide shortage of educators in grades 4-12 in this subject. Teachers can pursue multi-subject elementary certification. Examples include science, general middle school science certification, or high school teaching certification in biology, chemistry, or earth or general science. The median annual salary below reflects middle school science teachers.

Median Annual Salary: $82,790

World Languages Teacher

World languages teachers train students to speak a foreign language and understand related cultures and traditions. Teachers must pass oral and writing proficiency tests in a particular foreign language to earn a world languages teaching endorsement. CSDE may reward educators willing to fill shortages in grades 7-12 in this specialization. The following median annual salary reflects high school teachers in Connecticut.

Median Annual Salary: $79,530

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Connecticut

How do I get teaching certification in Connecticut?

CSDE requires teachers to complete a bachelor's degree and educator preparation program to qualify for certification in Connecticut. Additionally, teachers must gain at least 10 weeks of student teaching experience and pass certification exams in their endorsement area.

Teachers who meet all beginner-level qualifications receive initial certification. These teachers have the potential to advance to provisional certification with more experience. Educators must eventually earn a master's degree to achieve the highest level of professional teaching certification in Connecticut.

Can I teach in Connecticut without certification?

No. However, CSDE provides certification paths for educators from all educational backgrounds and experience levels. Most teachers in Connecticut pursue a state-approved educator preparation program to earn certification. Others follow an alternate path to meet CSDE qualifications.

All teachers in preK-12 public schools in Connecticut need a valid teaching certificate or temporary or emergency teaching credentials for a particular shortage area or district. Like many other states, Connecticut does not require the same licensing process for postsecondary or private school teachers.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Connecticut?

The process of earning teaching certification in Connecticut can take between 1-4 years. Aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree can potentially complete the other certification requirements, including an educator preparation program, in 1-2 years. Others who still need to complete a bachelor's degree and an educator preparation program may take four years to qualify for initial certification.

Once a teacher achieves initial certification, it remains valid for up to three years and is renewable for up to five times. Teachers can then work their way up to a provisional certificate and, ultimately, professional certification.

What can I do with teaching certification in Connecticut?

Educators with teaching certification in Connecticut can work in preK-12 public schools and adult vocational programs. Teachers can earn certification in their desired endorsement area to teach multiple elementary subjects, individual middle or high school subjects, or career or technical education.

Candidates may also pursue a specialization, such as special education, world languages, or technology education. CSDE also requires separate certification processes for non-teaching jobs in education, including principals, school counselors, and district administrators.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Connecticut?

Substitute teaching in Connecticut typically requires a bachelor's degree. Although, some districts accept candidates with a high school diploma and teaching experience in lieu of a degree. Candidates must apply to work in a particular district, as CSDE issues district-specific substitute teaching permits.

While substitute teachers are generally granted authorization for brief employment periods, some districts need substitutes for more than 40 days. These candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and at least 12 credits in the desired subject or content area. All substitute teacher authorizations expire annually on June 30 and require re-application for renewal consideration.

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