Can I teach in Utah without a teaching license?
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
When we talk to students on campus, we often hear something like this: "I might want to be a teacher, but isn't there a way for me to finish my [fill in the blank] degree but still teach in Utah?" The answer is yes, BUT there's definitely a lot to consider.
Before 2016, a teacher could only be hired in Utah if they already had a teaching license. However, as the teacher shortage continued to worsen, the state could not find enough qualified individuals to fill the empty positions that were piling up. Officials temporarily patched up this issue through programs such as APT (Academic Pathway to Teaching) and ARL (Alternate Route to Licensure), which made it possible for graduates with a bachelor's degree in any major to get hired as teachers. APT was the easier of the two, offering a teaching license to those who: had a bachelor's degree, passed a standard proficiency test, and passed a background check. That was it! This program is now gone, officially closing its doors on September 1st of 2019. Now, the only option for those who want to teach (but who didn't major in Education and earn a teaching license) is the ARL program...and it's not exactly a walk in the park.
Here's how it goes:
Bachelor's degree is required, though not any specific major.
Applicant is required to be hired at a school before applying. The school official responsible for the teacher-in-question makes the request to the state. Those whose majors closely align with the content material will have a greater likelihood of getting hired on.
The forms must be completed exactly as instructed. Otherwise, the application may be sent back.
Once the forms are accepted, certain courses must be completed. These are completed through a state partnership with SLCC (Salt Lake Community College) and are funded by the applicant. Courses include pedagogy and possible area-specific training, depending on the teaching field in question. These take at least one year to complete but must be completed within a three-year grace period. ARL will no longer be available to the individual if courses are not completed within this time.
Praxis exam must be taken. The Praxis tests knowledge of content in teaching areas. The only exception is when the applicant's bachelor's degree very closely aligns with their teaching area (ex: BS in Mathematics, hired to teach math).
For those who are close enough to their graduation date in their non-education major, there still is hope. The ARL program is still available for those in your situation. However, if it is still possible to get a bachelor's degree in education, it is by far the better route for future teachers. The experience, the in-depth preparation, and the opportunities that are provided will set you above your peers who get involved in teaching by way of the ARL program.