Utah Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Utah is experiencing a rate of growth that expects to add 50,000 new students over the next five years. In Utah you will have many opportunities to educate students in the arts and make a difference as you show students how creative thinking and creativity go hand in hand.

Utah claims to have one of the best public education systems in the country.  The state government is proud to recognize that art and science are valued equally as instruction priorities in the classroom. As a promising new art teacher in Utah, here are the basic steps needed to earn your state license:

Select a Degree Program
Take the Utah State Exams
Send in Your Application for Licensure
Continuing Education



Step 1. Select a Degree Program

As you explore your options for an education you will want to first decide what level of school to teach and then what program to participate in. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Here are ten possible universities and colleges that have been approved by the national accreditation NCATE/TEAC.

While many choose a bachelor’s with a teacher’s preparation program, here are a few other options:

Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL)

If you already have an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, you may be able to choose this path to get your teaching license.

Elementary Education grades K-8

Secondary Education with an art certificate

  • Option 1: Must have a degree in art as your major
  • Option 2: May past a subject proficiency test.

Master’s Degree and Teacher’s Preparation Program

Sometimes new teachers choose to pursue a master’s in education with a teacher preparation program. Going this route will help you start your new career as a well-qualified teacher. It will also allow you to potentially reach a higher level on the pay scale. For a Master’s in Education you will select art as your area of emphasis. After you have completed your undergraduate portion, the mater’s degree will typically be broken down by the following:

  • Core Courses 12 units
  • Models for instruction 18 units
  • ESL18 units
  • Elementary Math: 18 units
  • Technology: 18 units



Step 2. Take the Utah State Exams

There are several exams that may be required of you in order to qualify for your teaching license. The testing requirements for the state of Utah ensure that you are qualified to teach not only in art, but also that you are proficient in other areas as well. You will be tested in English, math, reading, and science if you teach elementary school. If you teach secondary school you will be required to also take an art content knowledge test. The specific requirements for each exam are available on the testing site.

When you are ready to take your exams:



Step 3. Send in Your Application for Licensure

After you have passed your competency exams you are now ready to apply for your Utah state teaching license. There are three levels for teachers in the state. Each one indicates a certain degree of experience and education. You will begin your career at level one.

When you are ready to apply for your license you will first need to create an account with the Utah Education Network (UEN). Once you have completed that step, next create an account with the Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS). After both of these steps, you will be able to apply for your art teacher’s license in Utah.

Level 1

Utah’s initial license for the professional educator is issued when you have completed your approved degree and teacher’s preparation program or you went through an alternative preparation program. The three main requirements to receive your Level One License include:

  • Complete your education and teacher preparation program.
  • Receive a recommendation from your college or university for licensing.
  • Pass your state exams.

Level 2

After you have held your Level One license for three years you will need to do all of the following in order to apply for your Level Two License:

  • Hold a Level 1 Utah License for one year.
  • Teach for a minimum of one year.
  • Have two qualified professional evaluations recommending your performance.
  • Pass the background/fingerprint check.
  • Receive a local education agency recommendation.
  • Achieve Highly Qualified Status in Art.
  • Must be able to satisfy the Ethics Review requirement.
  • Take a two hour qualified Suicide Prevention course.

Level 3

To receive the Level Three you will need to seek your PhD.



Step 4. Continuing Education

You will be expected to continue your education and professional learning even after you receive your degree. The Educator License Renewal Rule (R277-500) of the Utah State Board of Education reflects the desire that all educators in the state of Utah continue to strive for excellence in learning. They believe that students deserve highly qualified educators and as such, expect that teachers will make the effort to continue to learn.

When it is time to upgrade your Level One License to Level Two you will have three years to complete the requirements including the ethics review, the fingerprint and background check. The other requirement is known as the Entry Years Enhancement (EYE) program. This program will be completed during your Level One years. The professional development courses are very beneficial to new teachers through the EYE program as they include the added benefit of mentorship and portfolio development.

As you continue your years of teaching, you may consider a higher education and possibly seek Level Three licensing. This will require you to earn your PhD. This level of education will be beneficial on many levels including salary and possible administrative opportunities or college level teaching positions should you desire that at some point in your career.


Utah Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Utah (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $33,081, somewhat lower than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics 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 EmploymentMean Annual Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education15,87051,300
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education4,37052,580
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education5,83053,700


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 appears below (note that not all areas track the same categories):

Occupation Title EmploymentMean Annual Salary
Logan, UT-ID
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education66045,220
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education44050,180
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education3038,430


Ogden-Clearfield, UT
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education2,80054,250
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical EducationNot available53,560
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education46048,920


Provo-Orem, UT
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education2,68045,760
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education82049,700


St. George, UT
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education76037,690
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education38040,540
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical EducationNot available42,780


Salt Lake City, UT
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education7,06054,730
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education1,61057,400
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education3,46057,280


Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. The Utah Education Association publishes district salary schedules, but the most recent information is available only to members. Salary schedules from 2010-2011 are available here. The average salary and benefits for various schools in the 2012-2013 school year is available here along with other financial data.

Information on postsecondary art, music, and drama teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Provo-Orem UT
Salt Lake City UT

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