Learn about earning your teacher certification in Connecticut.
Perhaps you’re already working in a school as a long-term sub, paraeducator, or tutor and are ready to take the next step to advance your career. Maybe you’re coming from a seemingly unrelated career and wondering how and if you should make the transition to teaching. Or maybe you’re entering your senior year and wondering what life holds for you after graduation.
Regardless of the reason, becoming a teacher can seem like a big undertaking, but so is the reward. It is both a fulfilling and challenging career. Many teachers would say what makes it worth it, is the impact they have on their students. Education as a field has endless room for growth both personally and professionally.
So, how does someone become a teacher?
The first step, in Connecticut, is to earn the Initial Educator Certificate. Students who take educational preparation programs, such as the programs at University of Bridgeport, receive this certification.
The different types of teacher certifications
There is a wide range of teacher certifications, each with their own strengths and subject areas. There is the Integrated Early Childhood/Special Education for birth through kindergarten or preschool through 3rd grade. There are certifications for Special Education, World Languages, and Physical Education.
At University of Bridgeport, we offer two types of certification:
- Elementary Education, which certifies you to teach grades 1 – 6.
- Secondary Education, which certifies you to teach grades 7 – 12 in a certain subject area. We offer teacher certifications in: Math, Science, Business, History and Social Studies, English. We also offer a cross endorsement in Computer Science.
Requirements for teacher certification
The requirements for teacher certification are dependent on the kind of certification and the school you are being certified through. For example, University of Bridgeport requires an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.67 where as other schools require a 2.7. When choosing a certification area, it’s important to consider your career goals and your academic background to find the best fit for you.
Elementary Education certification has general education coursework requirements, including a Lifespan Development course. Secondary Education certification, similarly, has general coursework requirements as well as credits in the subject area they are seeking certification for. Generally, the requirement is 30 credits in the subject area plus 9 in a related field.
After completing a teacher certification program and student teaching residency, students can sit for Praxis II to be eligible for teacher certification.
You can learn more about teacher certification requirements in our recent blog post here.
Time to complete teacher certification
Since there are so many different routes to teaching certification, it is hard to put an exact timeframe on this process. There are some schools that will certify students to teach through a bachelor’s degree, although in states such as Connecticut, a Master’s is required to advance to a Professional Educator Certificate.
For students who already have a bachelor’s, there are schools that offer post baccalaureate programs which are generally 30 – 40 credits. These programs do prepare you for certification; however, they do not lead to a degree or certificate.
There is also the Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) which has the perks of being quick and cheap. However, this is only available for Secondary Business, English, Math, Science, K-12 World Languages, Pre-K – 12 Family and Consumer Sciences, Pre-K – 12 Technology Education, and Pre-K – 12 Music. To be admitted, you need to take a pass Praxis I and Praxis II (except for World Language). ARC does not lead to a degree or certificate. This program runs from September – May. For students who do complete the Alternative Route, our online Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) grants 6 transfer credits.
University of Bridgeport also has a Sixth-Year program, which is a degree above the Master’s level and is for students who already hold a Master’s degree. This degree is 36 credits and can be completed as either an intern or traditional student.
How do I get started?
If you are ready to take the next step in your career, you can apply to the University of Bridgeport for either Elementary Education or Secondary Education Master’s Program, or our Sixth Year Certificate program if you already have a Master’s degree. You can also talk to previous teachers about why they love their profession!