Frequently Asked Questions

1. Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL)

2. Endorsements

3. Foreign Educators

4. Fingerprints and Background Checks

5. Level 1 to Level 2

6. License Renewals

7. Out-of-State License

8. Other


1. Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL)

What should I do first when trying to get a license through the Alternative Routes program?
Complete a fingerprint background check. See Educators License Renewal to begin the process. After your fingerprints have been scanned or cards are submitted, you may apply to Alternative Routes to Licensure. See the Alternative Routes to Licensure section. You will not be notified of background clearance.

Is there a fee?
There is a $75.00 evaluation fee that must accompany the application.

How can I teach without a license?
ARL allows participants to teach on a temporary license while working towards full licensure.

Will school districts employ someone without a teaching license?
Some school districts hire unlicensed individuals when a licensed teacher is not available for the position.

Will I have to take additional classes?
Once an applicant is employed by a Utah school or district as a teacher, a transcript review will be completed and a Professional Growth Plan, outlining additional requirements, is developed. A copy is sent to the participant and his/her principal.

When do I apply for teaching positions.
Applicants must complete applications for school districts, parochial and private schools. ARL will provide each applicant with a letter of introduction which can be taken to human resource directors as he/she seeks employment.



2. Endorsements

I've completed the coursework for an endorsement how do I get it?
Submit your transcript, along with the endorsement checklist as a cover sheet, to Teaching and Learning - Licensing.

My endorsement isn't showing up on CACTUS.
In CACTUS, click on your most recently received license to view your endorsement.

What do I need to do to get an endorsement?
Visit the Endorsement section of this website.

Do I have to pay a fee to get an endorsement?
Yes, there is a $25 evaluation fee.



3. Foreign Educators

What is the first step?
Have foreign credential evaluated by a service for U.S. equivalency.

How do I get a U.S. equivalency?
Choose one of the companies from the provided list.



4. Fingerprints and Background Checks

Can fingerprint results from somewhere else be accepted?
No. The State Office does not accept other results. We do a more in-depth check than other organizations.

Where can I find the Live Scan Authorization letter required to get my fingerprints done? 

After you purchase a background check online, a Live Scan Authorization letter will be attached to an email you should receive from This can take up to two hours and may end up in your spam folder. If you do not receive the email please email Stephanie Ferris at


Where can I get my fingerprints done?
Begin the fingerprint background process at Educators License Renewal and after paying a $40 fee with your credit card, you can print off a fingerprint authorization form and a list of live scan sites. Or, if you live outside of Utah, fingerprint cards will be mailed to you.

My fingerprints have been rejected, what do I do?
You should have received a letter with the rejected print card and a new card. Take the new card to the police station, sheriff's office or school district for a new set of fingerprints. Then return both the rejected set and the new card to USOE.

I have turned in my fingerprints; have they been cleared?
It may take 6-10 weeks for the result of the background check to be to be returned to USOE and posted on CACTUS.



5. Level 1 to Level 2

What about a teacher who is Level 1 in Utah but is currently teaching in another state?
This teacher may continue to renew the Level 1 license. If they are re-employed in Utah, the employing charter school or district may evaluate experience and make an appropriate recommendation for Level 2

What about a teacher who hasn’t taught for several years and is now applying for employment?
This person may renew the Level 1 license by earning points described in Categories of Acceptable License Renewal Activities or the Returning Teacher Re-Licensure Program. When they have three years of experience acceptable to the employer and at least one year of current experience, they may be recommended for a Level 2 license.

What about a teacher who has already taught for more than three years and has renewed a Level 1 license?
This teacher must complete all EYE requirements and qualify for upgrade at the time the current Level 1 license expires. They may qualify for a one-year extension upon the recommendation of their employer.

What about a teacher who has had a one-year extension but has not completed the EYE requirements?
After the one-year extension has expired there are no additional routes to maintain the license. The employing charter school or district may choose to provide a letter of authorization or a District/Charter School Specific License at the employer’s discretion.

What about a teacher who has attempted the PLT more than once and has not achieved a passing score?
This person may request a one-year extension. At the end of that year, the license expires. There are many tools to help a teacher prepare for testing including ETS study guides, university and district test-taking courses, and

What about a teacher who has taught for two years in another state and has now complete one year of service in Utah?
Acceptance of the years of out-of-state experience is at the discretion of the employer. This person must also complete all EYE requirements.

What about a teacher who is not NCLB Highly Qualified?
All teachers being recommended for Level 2 licensure must be NCLB Highly Qualified. In most cases, Highly Qualified status can be achieved by receiving a passing score on an appropriate ETS Praxis II content test.

What about a teacher who has had a one-year extension, but has not completed the EYE requirements?
There are many district and university resources available to help teachers meet EYE requirements. Teachers are responsible for seeking out resources and maintaining their own educator license. An employer may choose to extend a teacher’s time by providing a Letter of Authorization for up to three years.

What about a teacher who who was in the Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) program for the first three years of teaching?
The EYE program begins when teachers achieve a Level 1 license and are hired in a professional teaching position. Those in the ARL program and those who are paid interns should receive mentoring support but are not part of the EYE program.

What about a teacher who was a paid intern during their first year of teaching?
Interns are not part of the EYE program. Years of service that qualify under the EYE program require a Level 1 license and employment as a licensed professional.



6. License Renewals

See License Renewals Frequently Asked Questions.



7. Out-of-State License

How long does it take to get a license from an out-of-state application?
We try to process all applications in a timely manner; however, there are many factors that can delay the process. All applications must be received in one complete application packet. Any applications that are incomplete will be returned which will delay the process. The applicant should request all required paperwork be mailed to them and include them in their complete application packet. The only exception is transcripts electronically sent from the University to, and these should be sent before your packet is turned in. Please see the Out-of-State section of the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) website for all instructions and required forms. The background check should be requested at Educators License Renewal and started as soon as an applicant has decided they wish to apply for a Utah license. It should also be kept in mind that a license cannot be completed until the required Praxis test scores are in our office and the background check has cleared.

I have a license in another state. How do I convert it to a Utah License?
Visit the Out-of-State Application section of this website.

I have a license in another state. How do I renew it?
Contact the agency that issued the license.


8. Other

What types of transcripts are acceptable?

Original paper transcripts and electronic transcripts; sent directly from the college/university, through a clearinghouse are accepted. Original paper transcripts do not need to be sealed in an envelope, but they need to be originals, on the college/university transcript paper. Photocopies or transcripts you have electronically received will not be accepted. We will accept electronic transcripts only if they are sent directly from the college/university, through a transcript clearinghouse, to Not all colleges/universities are set up to send transcripts through a clearinghouse. Electronic transcripts should be emailed before you submit any paperwork.

I'm a new university graduate. What is the status of my license?
Universities forward your packet 1 to 2 months after graduation. When USOE processes your application a file will be created in the CACTUS system. You will be able to check your records. If you cannot access the system, USOE has not received your file. Contact your university to check the status of your file.

What is CACTUS?
Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS) in Utah Schools. This is a database of information needed by schools, teachers, and the State Office to track license information.

What do I do if my CACTUS file has incorrect information?
That depends. Some information is submitted by your employer; some was transferred from your original application information. Please be aware that USOE has records of all applications and transcripts from July 1, 1992 on file. All such documents for educators licensed prior to that date are not in our files.

Educators should go to our online website at  and click on “Update My Contact Information” where they can edit their demographic information (address, phone, and email). There is no fee for this service.

Birth Date
Send a letter requesting that USOE review original application information will suffice.

Degree Information
Active public school educators may submit a degree correction form to their personnel director to forward to the USOE Teaching and Learning - Licensing Department. Inactive and private school educators licensed after July 1, 1992 may submit a written request for a review of the teacher's original application and transcript. Educators licensed prior to July 1, 1992 must submit original transcripts with degree posted to change the CACTUS records. The transcripts will be returned to the educator. (URL to form for degree correction)

Post-1992, submit a request to review your original application. Pre-1992, submit an original birth certificate or other official document which verifies your gender.

Simply submit a letter indicating the ethnicity you prefer for your record.

To correct a spelling on your name, request a review of your original application to correct the error. To change to or from a married name, submit a copy of two forms of official documents (marriage license, passport, state identification card, court document, driver’s license or social security card) to verify name change.

Social Security Number
For those licensed after July 1, 1992, submit a request to review your original application to verify that an error was made in transferring the social security number from your application. For those licensed prior to 1992, submit a copy of your social security card plus one other official identification with a request to change the number. If you made an error in submitting the number, you must submit a copy of the correct social security card plus a notarized letter specifying how the incorrect social security number was submitted.

Are submitted by the employer. Contact your principal or human resource director to correct the information.

Work History
Teaching experience prior to 1984 is not recorded in any CACTUS file. Only work experience from 1984 and later is included. The Utah Retirement Office will have correct work record information for all work experience.

What tests are approved for Utah licensing?
Visit the Utah PRAXIS test page for a list of all approved content tests.