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About Programs in Connecticut
With the right preparation and mentorship, you can become a great teacher.
Search Programs
About Programs in Connecticut
With the right preparation and mentorship, you can become a great teacher.
Search Programs

To become a certified teacher in Connecticut, you need to complete an approved educator preparation program (EPP). EPPs equip you with the skills and knowledge to teach in your chosen grade and subject. Not all EPPs are the same, so let’s break it down and find the right next step for you.

How to Pick an EPP

Programs vary in many ways, including size, duration, student demographics, requirements and more. As you compare different programs, consider how well each program prepares you to be learner-ready and successfully complete required assessments (such as edTPA).

The program you choose should meet the criteria below.

All CT educator preparation programs require clinical field experience. Everyone seems to agree: The more hands-on, pre-service experience in the classroom—where you observe and practice with an effective teacher who gives you helpful feedback—the better.

What can this look like?

Pre-service, hands-on field experience can come in a variety of forms, from one or two semesters of working full-time in an experienced teacher’s classroom (this is typically called student teaching) to working in a classroom full-time for one or more school years while enrolled in a program.

As a general rule of thumb, more pre-service experience is better, but quality definitely matters. Make sure to ask any programs you’re considering about what the pre-service experience includes, how they select cooperating teachers and how you will receive feedback on your practice.

Why is this important?

Practice makes perfect. In fact, teachers with more pre-service (or classroom) experience as a part of their preparation program are more likely to feel prepared for their first year in the classroom. Multiple opportunities to observe other teachers and practice teaching is important for success as a first-year teacher.

  • Hands on, preservice experience

    All CT educator preparation programs require clinical field experience. Everyone seems to agree: The more hands-on, pre-service experience in the classroom—where you observe and practice with an effective teacher who gives you helpful feedback—the better.

    What can this look like?

    Pre-service, hands-on field experience can come in a variety of forms, from one or two semesters of working full-time in an experienced teacher’s classroom (this is typically called student teaching) to working in a classroom full-time for one or more school years while enrolled in a program.

    As a general rule of thumb, more pre-service experience is better, but quality definitely matters. Make sure to ask any programs you’re considering about what the pre-service experience includes, how they select cooperating teachers and how you will receive feedback on your practice.

    Why is this important?

    Practice makes perfect. In fact, teachers with more pre-service (or classroom) experience as a part of their preparation program are more likely to feel prepared for their first year in the classroom. Multiple opportunities to observe other teachers and practice teaching is important for success as a first-year teacher.

  • Preparation for diverse populations

    Your program should help you understand diverse student populations and prepare you to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of all students.

    What can this look like?

    A lot of things:

    • Coursework specifically addressing the diverse needs of students.
    • Coursework and coaching on culturally relevant pedagogy. 
    • Understanding unconscious bias and its potential detrimental impact on students.

    Why is this important?

    Connecticut is home to more than 200 urban, suburban and rural school districts. With an increasingly racially and linguistically diverse student population (about half of Connecticut public school students are students of color), and over 135 languages spoken, diversity is a key strength and core value of our state.

    Teachers who are certified in endorsement areas that support specific student populations, such as bilingual education, special education and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are in high demand (so are STEM and world language teachers). These teachers can sometimes receive signing bonuses from their districts and are eligible for other benefits (learn more in About Certification).

  • Mentoring and Coaching

    Your program should provide an experienced and highly effective mentor to provide meaningful feedback.

    What can this look like?

    You will be placed under the supervision of a trained cooperating teacher.

    You will start off only observing. Through "gradual release," you will eventually start teaching more and more. Cooperating teachers will give you constructive feedback to help you grow in ability and confidence.

    Your preparation program will send you a supervisor to visit and observe you in your classroom at regular intervals. They will also give you feedback and help you think through challenges you're experiencing.

    Ask your potential program(s) how they select cooperating teachers, what they expect from them and how they are ensuring that cooperating teachers model effective practices and give helpful feedback. Be sure to ask these same questions about university supervisors who visit your classroom.

    Some programs and cooperating teachers will even dive into how stress might be impacting your well-being, and how to develop tools to keep you healthy and thriving while in the classroom. After all, teaching—like all impactful professions—is challenging, and having strategies and tools for self-care will help you avoid burnout.

    Why is this important?

    The quality of your cooperating teacher is perhaps the most important aspect of your student teaching experience. Your cooperating teacher has a powerful influence on the kind of teacher you will become, your attitude toward teaching and your professional growth mindset. 

    A highly effective, trained cooperating teacher is not only an outstanding classroom teacher who models instructional best practices, but also a skillful coach who is able to support your development as a new teacher. You want to learn from someone whose work you want to emulate. (Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect, after all.)

    The most highly rated educator preparation programs typically have strong cooperating teachers. Educator preparation program graduates said they felt better prepared—and were more highly rated by their employers—when they had a high-quality cooperating teacher.

  • Commitment to improvement

    You should look for a program that shows commitment to continuous improvement and collecting, sharing and using data and research to improve their preparation practices (for the ultimate benefit of your future students).

    What can this look like?

    A commitment to improvement might be the hardest criteria to spot as you shop for programs, but Connecticut law requires annual reporting on the effectiveness of educator preparation programs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how the program uses data and research to reflect and improve practice.

    Why is this important?

    Connecticut is committed to building an educator workforce that is second to none. Therefore, our educator preparation programs must share this commitment to produce learner-ready teachers to meet the ever-changing needs of students. You want to go to an educator preparation program that is attuned to these changes and is committed to producing learner-ready teachers on day one. 
     

4 Ways to Complete Your Training

Everyone approaches the teaching profession differently. Select the tab that best meets your needs.

  • Complete your educator preparation program as part of your bachelor’s degree, reducing total cost and time.
  • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.

Heads up: All teachers in Connecticut must eventually earn a master’s degree, even if you get certified to teach through a bachelor-level program.

  • Undergraduate / Bachelor's

    • Complete your educator preparation program as part of your bachelor’s degree, reducing total cost and time.
    • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.

    Heads up: All teachers in Connecticut must eventually earn a master’s degree, even if you get certified to teach through a bachelor-level program.

  • 5 Year Bachelor's / Master's

    • Complete your educator preparation program as part of your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years, reducing total cost and time.
    • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
    • If you earn a master’s degree, you can start teaching with a higher salary and meet the state requirement to earn a master’s before you start your career.

  • Post-baccalaureate / Master's

    • Many higher education institutions with an undergraduate teaching program also have a graduate (master’s degree) or post-baccalaureate (non-degree) program.
    • Great for individuals who decide later in college, or after earning a bachelor’s degree, that they want to teach in a field closely related to their undergraduate major. 
    • If you earn a master’s degree, you can start teaching with a higher salary and meet the state requirement to earn a master’s before you start your career.

  • Post-baccalaureate Alternate (Non-credit)

    • After you earn a bachelor’s degree, complete your educator preparation through a non-degree/credit-bearing program without earning additional credits or another degree.
    • Great for career-changers or individuals who decide later in college, or after earning a bachelor’s degree, that they want to teach. 
    • These programs can be more cost-effective and are generally completed in less time than master’s programs.
    • The design of programs varies significantly by provider. Some programs allow you to work in education and/or start teaching (and earning a salary) while you complete your preparation program 

Not All Programs Offer Everything

Double-check that your program:

  • Is approved in Connecticut.
  • Offers a credential in the grade and subject you want to teach. (Check out About Certification to search for yours.)

Find Programs

Ready to explore some EPPs? Check out the partner educator preparation programs in Connecticut to find a program that fits your preferences.

Need help thinking through your options? Chat with an expert to talk more about your choices for educator prep.

And remember, when you are ready to apply, keep track of your applications and take advantage of free advice and best practices.

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