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How to Choose a Teaching Program

Know your certification options in Connecticut, and learn what to consider in a teacher preparation program.
Search Programs

How to Choose a Teaching Program

Know your certification options in Connecticut, and learn what to consider in a teacher preparation program.
Search Programs

To get your Connecticut teaching certification, you’ll need to complete an educator preparation program (a.k.a. teaching program). Teaching  programs equip you with the skills and knowledge to teach in your chosen grade and subject. 

Here, we’ll go over the types of teaching programs available in Connecticut, and what criteria you might use to choose the right program for you. 

Attending a teaching program is one of several steps to get certified in Connecticut. Get a full explanation of the steps to certification, plus a downloadable guide, at the TEACH Connecticut teaching certification page.

On this page:

Find your teacher preparation pathway

Whether you’re in school, out of school or considering a career change, there’s a pathway for you to become a teacher. Click through the tabs below for more information about your teaching pathway options. 

With TEACH Connecticut’s program explorer, you can find and compare teaching programs across the state. Each program profile includes info like the program’s duration, format, endorsement areas and tuition costs. You’ll also find hallmarks such as hands-on experience, mentorship and coaching, insider info from current students and more.

4 Ways to Complete Your Training

A bachelor’s level program might be a good fit if: 

  • You decide in high school or early in college that you want to become a teacher.
  • You decide to change careers and don’t yet have a bachelor’s.

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

With a bachelor’s degree and certification pathway, you can:

Complete your teaching program as part of earning your bachelor’s degree. Reduce the total cost and time you spend working toward your certification.

  • Bachelor’s degree and certification

  • Hybrid bachelor’s and master’s degrees plus certification

  • Post-baccalaureate credit or master’s degree and certification

  • Post-baccalaureate alternate (non-credit) certification

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Make sure your program works for you

Once you have an idea of which pathway is right for you, you’ll want to make sure that your must-haves are covered. 

Your teaching program should:

  • Offer a credential in the grade and subject you want to teach.
  • Be approved for certification in Connecticut. TEACH Connecticut’s program explorer can get your search started.
  • Work for you financially.
  • Work with your schedule. Program coursework can be mostly online, in-person or a mix of both, and all programs require fieldwork in schools. 

Once you have these logistics covered, you can look more closely at the values and focus of the programs you’re considering, to find the best fit. 

TEACH Connecticut’s program profiles each have a “Program Hallmarks” section. There, you can learn more about opportunities like hands-on experience and mentorship for each program. In the next section, we’ll go over what program hallmarks to look for and how to evaluate them for a program you’re considering.  

TEACH Connecticut offers support for every step of your teacher prep journey, including how-to guides, deadline reminders, application checklists and 1-on-1 support. Learn more.

What to look for in a teaching program

Teaching programs vary in many ways, including size, duration, student demographics, admissions requirements and more. As you compare programs, consider how you learn best and what skills are important to you. You should also consider how well each program prepares you to successfully complete required assessments, such as edTPA.

Current teachers, teacher preparation program officials and school district HR chiefs (you know, the experts) say that a strong teaching program should offer these hallmarks:

  • Lots of hands-on experience
  • Preparation to teach diverse populations
  • Mentoring and coaching throughout
  • Commitment to continuous improvement

How do you know what  teaching programs have to offer in each of these categories? We can help with that! 

How to use this section

When you visit a teaching program’s profile through the program explorer, you’ll see that most profiles include a “Program Hallmarks” section (toward the bottom of the profile). Program hallmarks explain how individual programs incorporate each of the categories we listed above. 

Below, we’ll go over what each category includes, why it matters and how to find out what it looks like at your prospective programs. Basically, this is a guide to help you understand the information on the TEACH Connecticut program profiles—and dig deeper into why each program hallmark is meaningful. 

Have more questions? Don’t worry! You can talk through your program options with free 1-on-1 coaching. Get advice from an experienced teaching professional, over phone, video chat or email (text coming soon!).

Teaching Program Hallmarks

What is hands-on, pre-service experience? 

Pre-service experience refers to any teaching practice you get before you lead your own classroom. All Connecticut teaching programs require clinical field experience before you get certified. 

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.

Why is hands-on experience important? 

Teachers are more likely to feel prepared for their first year in the classroom if they get plenty of classroom experience as a part of their prep program. Opportunities to observe other teachers and to practice teaching can make all the difference for early-career educators. 

As a rule, more pre-service experience is better, but quality definitely matters. 

Make sure to ask any prospective programs about what their pre-service experience entails, including:

  • How long it lasts.
  • How you will receive feedback on your practice.
  • If there are opportunities to add-on more pre-service work (through an internship, for example).
  • Hands on, pre-service experience

  • Preparation to teach diverse populations

  • Mentoring and coaching

  • Commitment to improvement

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