Teaching in Connecticut

Connecticut is close enough that many commute to jobs in Manhattan, yet it has all the benefits of a suburban life. The state is also home to many ocean-side and maritime resorts, which residents can use year-round. Connecticut even has a statewide driving tour, the Connecticut Chocolate Trail, which features tasting visits to the state’s many talented chocolatiers.

Connecticut is also a sweet place for teachers to call home. As they enjoy some of the highest teaching salaries in the nation, low class sizes, and high academic expectations, teachers are proud to be part of the Connecticut school system.

Educational Climate in Connecticut

Driven by a standard of academic excellence, Connecticut is not only recruiting promising teachers, but also finding new and creative ways to develop and retain them. Teachers benefit from state programs which include a highly supportive mentoring program for novice teachers; teacher collaboration in education reforms; a fair teacher evaluation system, and responsive support for teacher improvement; and other professional development resources.

Teaching salaries in Connecticut

Below are the median salaries for Connecticut teachers:

  • Elementary School: $66,920
  • Middle School: $68,740
  • High School: $66,870

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Connecticut has joined the rest of the nation in school reform, and is continuing to determine what types of reform will be most effective for its teachers and children. Connecticut was one of several states granted a No Child Left Behind waiver in 2012. The waiver gives the state and local school boards more flexibility in how they track progress, evaluate schools and teachers, and educate students to meet national standards. The waiver also gives schools flexibility with Title I money, which allows teachers to better meet the needs of at-risk and/or low-income students.

Among the issues that have been debated in Connecticut’s school reform plans are the expansion of early childhood education, to ensure kindergarten readiness; intensive intervention and support programs to turn around failing schools; strategies to hire the most qualified and effective teachers, administrators and staff; eliminating bureaucratic red tape, especially in high-performing schools, to better foster an environment of creative education; and the distribution of additional resources to high-need, floundering schools.

Career Outlook in Connecticut

The market for teachers in Connecticut is expanding, though modestly. While the state is experiencing minor population growth, job growth has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 economic crash. However, the state government has made it a priority to attract new business, which in turn will create new jobs and generate tax dollars—which should result in even more teaching positions.

Teachers greatly improve their chances of receiving a teaching contract if they apply at one of Connecticut’s struggling schools. Nearly half of all Connecticut schools have failed to prove academic progress under the No Child Left Behind guidelines. Below is expected job growth for teachers through 2016, as predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Elementary School—4.8 percent
  • Middle School—5.7 percent
  • Secondary School—4.1 percent

The state also reports teacher shortages in bilingual education and special education in all grades; as well as middle- and high-school shortages of teachers in the areas of English, math, science, and world languages.

What are some of the benefits of becoming a teacher in Connecticut?

Connecticut attracts some of the best-qualified teachers, by offering some of the highest salaries in the nation (see above). Also, class sizes are intentionally kept small; Connecticut goes out of its way to hire enough teachers to give each student adequate personal attention.

In addition, the state offers a student loan-forgiveness program for teachers willing to teach in its failing and struggling schools. Also, 26 of Connecticut’s school districts offer home-mortgage assistance; this allows teachers to purchase homes within their districts at lower cost, which improves the atmosphere of the neighborhood while boosting teachers’ personal finance situations.

Connecticut school districts also provide very good health, dental, and life insurance plans. Teachers have access to retirement planning tools, and a fantastic pension plan. Extended vacations and paid sick leave are among the other perks of being a Connecticut teacher.

Teachers benefit by joining the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) which voices teacher concerns with lawmakers and the Connecticut State Department of Education, and also negotiates such matters as teacher salaries, benefits, retirement plans, paid sick leave, paid vacation, working conditions, and educational environment. The CEA also sponsors regular professional development and leadership conferences.

Teachers may receive other benefits by joining additional teacher-related organizations (see Getting Involved in Connecticut) as well. These organizations provide supplemental insurance, additional resources, lesson plans, teaching tips, project ideas, mentoring programs, conferences, and other professional development opportunities, as well as a professional community.

How do I become a teacher in Connecticut?
Getting involved in Connecticut

Connecticut has many teaching organizations, as well as organizations that provide additional services and resources for both current and prospective teachers. Among them:

To become a teacher in Connecticut, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in the area of focus you wish to teach. In addition, teachers must complete an approved teacher preparation program. Many colleges and universities now offer online classes, and sometimes even entire degree programs online; this broadens a potential teacher’s choices considerably. To find out which programs might be most beneficial to you, explore Masters in Education programs in available in Connecticut. Find more information about certification requirements on the Connecticut Teaching Certification website.

Toward the end of their teacher-preparation program, teachers must also complete student teaching requirements and pass all three Praxis I exams.

Teachers who already hold a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certificate from another state, or who already have teaching experience should also explore the Connecticut Teaching Certification website, to discover alternate routes to certification in Connecticut.