Teaching in Utah
There’s nothing like a great outdoor adventure. And if open-air thrills are what you seek, Utah has plenty to offer the world-class hiker, mountain biker, backpacker, skier, and angler. When not taking outdoor recreation to uncharted heights, residents of The Beehive State enjoy a strong family culture, growing population, and winning business climate. Just as the Utah wilderness needs thrill-seeking adventurers, the state’s classrooms need teachers who love a good challenge. Projected job growth and big changes in the field of education make it an exciting time to start a teaching job in Utah.March 27, 2012 marked the start of major educational reform in the state of Utah. That was the day the Public Education Employment Reform Act was signed into law. This piece of legislation fundamentally changed the infrastructure of accountability for the state’s educators, and received overwhelming support from every imaginable sector. The bill revolutionized the evaluation method used for measuring teacher performance and moved it to a four-point scale, which is under development by stakeholders in Utah’s public education system. The centerpiece of the evaluation tool focuses on student growth and instructional quality. The law also links an educator’s job status, and salary, with his or her performance. If a teacher is evaluated at the lowest point of the scale in a given academic year, he or she cannot move up the salary schedule the subsequent year. It’s not all penalty, though—the infrastructure is also designed to assist teachers who are evaluated at the lowest level of performance. However, if that teacher does not make the prescribed improvements within 120 school days, he or she will become eligible for termination—another major change as a result of this law’s passage. In addition, any teacher dismissed due to performance may not be transferred to another school within the district, but must be unequivocally terminated. The bill reached all facets of education, including school administrators, who now too will receive performance-based pay. The law takes effect during the 2014-2015 academic year, with further initiatives rolling out during subsequent academic years. Another piece of proposed education legislation in Utah was the Education Savings Accounts Act. The proposed reform effort would alter the funding of ninth through twelfth graders, and instead give control over spending to students (and parents). For example, if a student were to choose to attend online classes for some credits and the local school for the remainder of the required credits, this would be deemed acceptable. In February 2012, the House Education Committee voted to hold the bill in committee for further discussion.Utah’s teacher licensing requirements are similar to those of other states. Applicants must complete an approved educator preparation program at a college or university. After graduation from the program, each applicant will need to submit a certification of completion to the Utah State Office of Education. Assuming the applicant clears a criminal background check, he or she is considered a licensed teacher in the state of Utah. Licensing is broken down into three levels. Level One includes the above requirements, plus a passing score on the Praxis II content test. Once a teacher is licensed and employed at Level One, he or she must complete the Entry Year Enhancements support program within three years in order to attain Level Two licensing. The Level Three License is given to applicants who, while possessing a Level Two license, earn National Board Certification or a doctorate from an accredited institution. For further information on certification terminology and next steps, visit the Utah Teaching Certification website.
- What’s the education climate in Utah?
- How’s the job outlook for Utah teachers?
- What benefits do Utah teachers have?
- What are Utah’s credentialing requirements?
- Find schools offering Masters in Education programs in Utah
What’s the education climate in Utah?Utah is serious about improving education, and about keeping students engaged and prepared. The state’s graduation rate is above the national average, and increased by seven percent from 2008 to 2011; high-school dropouts decreased by eight percent during that same period. However, the state has altered its goal from simply graduating its students to developing them into individuals who are career- and college-ready.
Utah Teacher Salaries
- Average Elementary: $45,850
- Average Middle School: $50,050
- Average High School: $46,540
- Average for all Utah jobs: $40,950