Part Time Teaching Licenses: Utah

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Utah results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Utah's policies

Utah offers the Eminence Letter of Authorization as a part-time license. The Eminence Authorization is designed to allow individuals with exceptional training or expertise to teach on a limited basis. Candidates under this license may not teach more than 37 percent of the regular instructional load.

The state requires documentation of exceptional training, skills or expertise but does not specify the evidence necessary to meet such requirements. Applicants must also pass a background check.


Recommendations for Utah

Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Utah is commended for offering a license that increases districts' flexibility to staff certain subjects, including many STEM areas, that are frequently hard to staff or may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position. Although this license is designed to enable individuals who have significant content knowledge to teach, Utah should still require a subject-matter test. While the state does require documentation of expertise and skills, only a subject-matter test ensures that teachers on the Eminence Letter of Authorization know the specific content they will need to teach.

State response to our analysis

Utah was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

Utah also stated that in addition to the Eminence Letter of Authorization route, the School District/Charter School Specific Competency-based License should be considered under this goal. This license allows a teacher to provide instruction to a specific Utah district based on the teacher's expertise. If the license is for an NCLB subject area, the individual must pass the appropriate content test in order to receive licensure.

Last word

While Utah is commended for the flexibility that the School District/Charter School Specific Competency-based License affords districts, it does not meet the intent of this goal, which is to allow a content expert to teach part-time. Under this license there is no indication that an individual is working on a part-time basis: "an educator who has not completed the traditional licensing process...teaches one or more core academic subjects."

Research rationale

The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis" at:

For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)