The Connecticut State Department of Education is the administrative arm of the state’s board of education, and is the licensing body for Connecticut art teachers. Connecticut has made a commitment to strengthening the arts in education: the State Department of Education recently joined with several other state institutions to offer mini-grants up to $50,000 for schools to enhance arts instruction through partnerships with local and state arts institutions, organizations, and artists.
To become an art teacher in Connecticut, follow these steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program|
|Apply for Your License|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your License|
|Pursue Graduate Work|
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming a teacher in Connecticut is usually to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree and educator preparation program at a regionally accredited college or university. A relevant list of accredited schools in Connecticut can be found from the Connecticut State Department of Education here. Three schools in Connecticut currently offer undergraduate specializations in art education for pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 that can be used to prepare for certification endorsement in art teaching. However, the Department notes that because rules change, candidates should seek advisement directly from the individual institutions for specific information about programs leading to Connecticut certification.
Classes designed to prepare you for being an art teacher will vary by school and by the grade you are preparing to teach, but they usually cover the history of art, various art making techniques (drawing, painting, etc.), the theory and principles of arts education, critical dialogue about art, a student teaching component, and a portfolio review. More general teacher prep classes will cover the principles of effective teaching, learning how to create dialogue in the classroom, and, depending on the program, learning to teach the basics of reading, writing, and/or math.
According to state law, you must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of B- for all undergraduate courses. However, some programs may set higher GPA standards, and some may waive the minimum GPA requirement at their discretion. You must submit official transcripts verifying completion of your degree when applying for teacher certification.
Step 2. Complete Testing
By state law, all individuals seeking formal admission to an educator preparation program or certification in Connecticut must take and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) tests in Reading, Writing and Mathematics, or obtain a State Board-approved waiver. The Praxis Core tests replace the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) that had previously been offered.
The Praxis Core tests measure basic skills in reading, writing, and math, through multiple choice questions and two thirty-minute essay questions. Passing scores in Connecticut are as follows:
- Reading: 156
- Writing: 162
- Mathematics: 150
To become an art teacher in Connecticut certified to teach prekindergarten through grade twelve, you must also pass the Praxis II Art: Content and Analysis test. A passing score is 167. The test is a computer-delivered, two-hour exam with 85 selected-response questions and three constructed-response questions that cover the process and techniques of art making, the historical and theoretical foundations of art in Western culture and beyond, and arts analysis. The analysis portion of the test asks you to write about verifiable art historical examples from memory, and to write about work you have created in two different media.
Step 3. Apply for Your License
To become an art teacher in Connecticut, you must hold a valid Connecticut certificate or permit. The state has a three-tier system of certificates. The first license to apply for is the Initial Educator Certificate, which is valid for three years. This certificate is issued to applicants who have a completed a bachelor’s degree and teacher prep program and the required tests, and who have fewer than three full school years of appropriate successful teaching experience in the past 10 years. Certain kinds of interim licenses are also available.
You may apply online at the sate’s Department of Education website. The nonrefundable application fee is $200. The endorsement code to apply for becoming an art teacher in prekindergarten through Grade 12 is 042.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Connecticut has two further levels of licensure after the Initial Educator Certificate:
1. Provisional Educator Certificate: The provisional educator certificate is the second level of Connecticut certification and is valid for eight years. To qualify for the provisional educator certificate, you must complete one of the following:
- 10 months of successful appropriate experience under the initial educator certificate or interim initial educator certificate in a Connecticut public school and a teacher induction/mentoring program made available by the Connecticut State Board of Education; or
- 30 months of successful appropriate experience within 10 years in a public school system, approved nonpublic school, or nonpublic school approved by the appropriate governing body out of state.
2. Professional Educator Certificate: The five-year professional educator certificate is Connecticut’s highest level of certification. To qualify for this certificate, you must complete the following requirements:
- 30 school months of successful appropriate experience in a Connecticut public or approved nonpublic school under the provisional educator certificate; and
- Any course requirements, as prescribed by current Connecticut certification regulations. Specific coursework requirements vary depending on endorsement, and potential applicants are encouraged to inquire with the State Department of Education for further details.
Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work
In 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly passed new legislation that will, as of 2016, require a master’s degree to advance most provisional level educator certificates to the professional level. Two schools in Connecticut currently offer graduate programs in education with an arts-focused component.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may want to consider the following types of graduate degrees:
- Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree programs
- Art Education (MS)
- Educational Leadership (Sixth Year Certification or Ed.D.)
- Elementary Education (M.S.)
- Post-Baccalaureate Official Certificate Programs that focus on art
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership
Connecticut Art Teacher Salaries
According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Connecticut as of the 2012-2013 school year was $42,924, which is significantly higher than the national average of $36,141.
The Connecticut Department of Labor does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:
|Occupation title||Employment||Annual mean wage|
|Elementary School Teachers||15,940||$68,580|
|Middle School Teachers||9,900||$69,660|
|Secondary School Teachers||14,310||$69,290|
However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities in the state appears below:
|Elementary School Teachers||4,460||$70,750|
|Middle School Teachers||2,560||$72,690|
|Secondary School Teachers||3,910||$72,340|
|Elementary School Teachers||750||$67,260|
|Middle School Teachers||430||$70,090|
|Secondary School Teachers||480||$68,510|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT|
|Elementary School Teachers||5,200||$69,440|
|Middle School Teachers||2,720||$69,220|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,420||$69,160|
|New Haven, CT|
|Elementary School Teachers||2,070||$68,800|
|Middle School Teachers||1,750||$69,680|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,350||$69,380|
|Norwich-New London, CT-RI|
|Elementary School Teachers||1,230||$60,800|
|Middle School Teachers||670||$68,950|
|Secondary School Teachers||940||$66,600|
|Elementary School Teachers||2,880||$63,840|
|Middle School Teachers||1,550||$64,170|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,800||$64,640|
|Elementary School Teachers||890||$65,390|
|Middle School Teachers||580||$67,700|
|Secondary School Teachers||820||$68,270|
|Elementary School Teachers||2,580||$64,590|
|Middle School Teachers||1,660||$66,430|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,140||$67,770|
Minimum salary schedules vary by school district. According to the New Haven-based education-reform group ConnCAN, the starting salary for teachers with a bachelors’ degree ranged from $37,00–$39,000 in districts such as Lebanon and Winchester, to $51,001–$53,000 in districts such as Franklin and Greenwich. The average first year salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $46,972. The average maximum salary for a teacher with a PhD degree was $88,263.
Further information on postsecondary art teacher salaries in some areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: