Teacher prep program application requirements in Connecticut
Teacher prep program application requirements in Connecticut
So you want to apply to an educator preparation program (a.k.a. teaching program), and you’re figuring out what you need to enroll. That’s great news!
When you apply, program staff will look at a few different pieces to make sure you’re eligible and a good fit for admission, which could include:
- Any academic history requirements.
- Any required test scores.
- Your related work experience.
- Your essay.
- Letters of recommendation.
- An interview.
In this guide, we’ll look at each of these components.
If you have any questions about your teaching program applications, reach out to a TEACH Connecticut coach or your program’s admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.
Already a teacher in a private school or another state/country? If you’re an experienced educator applying for certification in Connecticut, you must have your credentials reviewed by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Head over to our certification guide to learn more.
Your academic history
When you submit your application, you’ll need to show your transcripts and any previous degrees or college credits you’ve earned.
What transcripts do I need?
With your transcripts, teaching programs want to see your GPA and what college courses you’ve already taken. That includes transcripts for any college classes you took in high school or after college not leading to a degree!
The state of Connecticut requires a B- cumulative grade average (or a 2.7 GPA) for undergraduate courses—but programs can choose to require a higher grade average. They can also waive the GPA requirement altogether on an individual basis. Check with your program to find out what grades you need to be eligible or how you can apply for a waiver.
To request your transcripts:
Contact the transcript office or records office of the schools you attended.
Follow their transcript request procedures. You can often find the procedures on the school’s website. You can also try calling or emailing the school.
Budget at least three to five days for processing.
Some schools will send transcripts by mail; others may have electronic copies.
In your request, be sure to include:
- Your name. If your name has changed since you attended school, be sure to let them know your name as it appeared when you attended the school.
- Your student ID number, if you have it.
- How many copies of your transcript you need.
- Your signature.
- Where to send the transcript, such as the physical or email address of the program you’re applying to
Sometimes you’ll need to pay a fee to order an official transcript. Not to worry! TEACH Connecticut offers up to $100 in fee reimbursements for this kind of expense. Visit our Fee Reimbursements page to learn more.
Do I need a degree?
You don’t need a bachelor’s degree when you start a teaching program, but you’ll need one before you can become a certified teacher. Many programs let you earn your bachelor’s and certification at the same time. To learn more about your program options, look at the statement below that best fits your situation.
You can also visit the TEACH Connecticut About Programs page for a closer look at choosing a program.
To explore all state-approved teaching programs, head over to the state’s webpage for Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and Programs in Connecticut. For a side-by-side comparison of programs and the subject area endorsements they offer, check out the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Guide To Approved Educator Preparation Programs In Connecticut.
When applying for a teaching program, you’ll need to submit some test scores, which may include both the core academic skills test and the subject area assessment.
We’ll briefly go over each of these tests here. You can find more detailed information about what the tests cover and how to prepare in our Testing Guide.
Contact your teaching program to learn more about their testing requirements for applicants. You can use our application checklists to get a head start!
The Core Academic Skills Test
To apply to your teaching program, you will need to submit test scores to show your core skills in reading, writing and math. The SAT, ACT, PAA and GRE all count toward this requirement!
There’s no statewide minimum score requirement on any of the core academic skills tests. Your program staff will usually just use your scores to place you in the right courses for your skill level.
Some programs may set their own minimum score requirement or have other flexibilities when it comes to demonstrating your core academic skills.
If you still need to complete a core academic skills test, you can sign up for the Praxis Core exam, which covers all three skills.
If you do need to take the Praxis Core, some programs only require you to show that you’ve registered for the test before you apply. Ask your teaching program staff about the core academic skills requirement to find out what they need from you.
The Subject Area Assessment
Before you get your teaching certification, you’ll need to pass a subject area content exam, to show you know your stuff well enough to teach it.
Most Connecticut teachers will take the Praxis II subject area test, the ACTFL tests for world languages or the Pearson Foundations of Reading test for early childhood, elementary and special education teachers. Certain endorsement areas may require other tests as well. Our testing guide has more info on these tests.
Depending on your program, you may need to pass your subject area exam before you apply. Other programs only require you to have registered for your subject area test before you submit your application. Most programs don’t require you to register for your subject area exam until you’re enrolled in the program. Check with program staff if you’re not sure when you need to take your subject area test.
In state-designated shortage areas, you may be able to substitute “achievement of excellence” scores on subject-matter tests for some of the required subject-matter coursework. You can read more about the subjects that count and the required scores on CSDE’s September 2016 Certification Alert.
How do I send my test scores?
Like your transcripts, you may need to send official copies of your scores with your application.
For most exams, you can designate several schools to automatically receive your scores. To get your hands on additional official copies, head over to the testing website to order them. We’ve gathered the links to make it easier for you!
If you’re taking the Praxis Core, Praxis II, ACTFL or Foundations of Reading exam for admissions purposes, you can request that your scores automatically get sent to your program when you register for the test.
In addition to your academic history, admissions staff will also look at your work experience so far, including any experience you’ve had working in education or in your subject area.
What kind of experience do I need?
Some teaching programs will require you to have a certain amount of meaningful experience working in education or in the subject area you wish to teach.
Ideally, you’ll already have experience working with the age group and subject area that you want to teach, but other education experience can work too. Maybe you’ve worked in an after-school program or as a classroom paraprofessional. Maybe you’ve been a camp counselor or an instructor for a weekend program, like Saturday school or Sunday school, or coached in a youth sports league. Those all count!
If you've completed at least 10 months of successful teaching in the past 10 years, you may be able to skip your program's student teaching requirement. To qualify, you must have completed your teaching experience in a public school in another state, in a state-approved nonpublic school, as a certified employee of a board of education or under a Connecticut Durational Shortage Area Permit. Not all teaching programs allow this waiver, so check with program staff to find out if this is an option.
Subject area experience
If you’re a career changer, your work experience can also be useful for your teaching program applications. For example, if you’ve worked in business administration or marketing, you might be a great candidate to teach business education. Or you might be an experienced musician who could teach music classes. Or maybe you’ve worked as a researcher or computer scientist—you could make a skilled science or technology education teacher.
Vocational and professional work experience all count as valuable background and expertise in your chosen subject area!
How much practical experience do I need?
The exact number of experience hours you’ll need will vary from program to program. Ask your program about their specific requirements. Bachelor’s degree plus certification programs are most likely to have this type of requirement, especially if you don’t apply to the teaching program until your sophomore or junior year.
Whatever your experience, you’ll want to highlight your achievements and responsibilities. Check out our resume guide and template for ideas and advice on creating a top-notch resume.
Other application materials
Finally, you’ll probably need to submit an essay or personal statement and at least one letter of recommendation. You may also need to complete an interview.
If there’s anything in your academic or work history that you’re worried about, these can be good places to address those.
In most applications, you’ll need to either write a personal statement about your interest in the program, or answer a series of essay-style questions. This is your chance to share a little more about your background and interests to show why you’re a good fit.
For many people, the essay can feel like the most stressful part of the application process. But there are resources to make it easier!
Check out our essay guide for advice and a template to get started.
Letters of recommendation
You’ll need to include at least one letter of recommendation from a former teacher, supervisor, or colleague in your application. Letters of recommendation can show off your strengths in a way that’s hard to do for yourself.
To get a stellar letter of recommendation, it’s important to follow some basic asking etiquette. We’ve got you covered there too—take a look at our letter of rec guide and template for more.
For many teaching programs, you’ll need to interview with program admissions staff. This is an opportunity to tell your story, share what you’ll bring to the program and show why you’ll make a great teacher.
It’s a great idea to prepare for your interview—so we’ve gathered a few of our favorite pieces of interview advice. (Need more of an interviewing 101 refresher? Check out these interviewing tips from The Muse.)
How to prepare for your teaching program interview
Practice talking about yourself
You’ll get to explain why you want to be a teacher—and why you’ll make a great one—in your admissions essay. The interview is your chance to tell your story out loud. Ask a friend or family member to listen to your answer, then aim to tell the story in about two minutes, give or take.
You’ll also want to practice explaining what you will bring to the program. What will make you a great colleague to your fellow classmates? What unique perspectives or teamwork skills do you bring?
Get to know yourself on paper
Your interviewers may want to know more about your academic background or have questions about specific courses, changes in major or grades on your transcripts. Review your transcripts with a critical eye. What questions might your interviewers have? Practice answering them.
As with your admissions essay, this is your chance to use potential negatives to your advantage, showing how you have grown from challenges.
Prepare to give specific examples that show how you work
Interviewers often ask about how your life experiences demonstrate the qualities they’re looking for. They may want to know how you creatively tackle challenges, collaborate on projects or handle stress.
You’ll want to do more than tell them you’re creative and a great collaborator. This is your chance to show your great qualities with short anecdotes. Think of specific examples from your school work, jobs you’ve had or other experiences. Come ready with a few great stories that illustrate your skills and how you work.
To set yourself apart, follow your interview by sending short thank you emails or a handwritten card to your interviewers. Let them know you value their time and are excited to get started in the program!
International Applicant Requirements
If you’re from outside the U.S., you may need to provide additional paperwork to show that you’re ready for your program or licensure. This may include:
Validation of any degrees earned abroad through a state-approved third-party agency
Documentation that you are eligible to work legally in the U.S. This could include a copy of a valid work authorization, a permanent resident card or a U.S. passport.
Copies of any relevant test scores.