How to Become an ESL Teacher in Connecticut

As an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, you will help students whose native language is not English. In Connecticut, you can complete a bachelor's degree in order to become one.

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Connecticut has a current shortage of ESL and bilingual education teachers. You can earn certification in either one of these areas by completing an undergraduate or graduate degree program designed to train competent ESL educators. You'll also need to pass required subject area examinations.

Connecticut ESL Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Connecticut (2016)* $76,740 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education)
$77,250 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
$76,260 (High School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test; Praxis English to Speakers of Other Languages or American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages examination

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Step 1: Complete Educational Requirements

One way to become an ESL teacher in Connecticut involves earning a bachelor's degree in bilingual and elementary education from a state-approved teacher preparation program. However, graduate programs designed to prepare students for PK-12 certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are more common among the state-approved preparation programs.

Before applying to a preparation program, Connecticut requires that you demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics. You may fulfill this requirement if you have qualifying scores on any of the below tests:

  • ACT: Verbal score of 20 and math score of 17 (prior to 10/89); Verbal score of 22 and math score of 19 (on/after 10/89)
  • SAT: Combined verbal/math score of 1000 (prior to 3/31/95) or 1100 (on/after 4/1/95)
  • GRE: Combined verbal/math score of 1000 (prior to 10/1/11) or 297 (on/after 8/1/11)

If you did not achieve qualifying scores on one of these exams, you will need to take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test. Each preparation program in Connecticut can set their own passing score requirements for this test.

Regardless of whether you pursue a bachelor's degree designed to provide you with dual certification in elementary education and bilingual education or a graduate TESOL program, possible courses may include assessment for English language learners, ESL teaching methods, and the foundation for bilingual education, in addition to a student teaching assignment.

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Step 2: Pass Subject Area Tests

If you're aiming for the TESOL PK-12 certification, you will need to take a second Praxis examination after completing your degree. The Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages examination has a passing score requirement of 155.

If you want to earn certification in bilingual education, you will need to pass an oral proficiency interview and a writing test in a second language. This exam is created by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and passing scores vary depending on which language you take.

Step 3: Obtain Teaching Credentials

The final step in becoming an ESL teacher is to apply for your initial teaching certificate. Valid for three years, this certificate has a $50 fee and requires that you submit your college transcripts and the ED125 Statement of Preparing Higher Education Institution. The ED125 form verifies you have completed the required education. It must be signed by the appropriate college personnel and be affixed with the college's seal. Before getting hired to teach, you will also need to send your fingerprints off to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the state of Connecticut for a criminal background check.

After the initial certificate, the next tier of certification is the provisional educator certificate. Valid for eight years, this certificate can be obtained once you meet one of these requirements:

  • 10 months of in-state teaching experience in a public school after earning an initial teaching certificate
  • 30 months of out-of-state teaching experience in a public school (must be completed within 10 years)

The third and final level of teacher certification in Connecticut is the provisional educator certificate. The two requirements for this certificate are additional ESL courses and 30 months of teaching experience under the provisional educator certificate.

Certification Resources for Connecticut ESL Teachers

Before you take your Praxis tests, considering using these study guides to get ready for them.

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