California Teaching Certification

california

Learn how to become a teacher in California (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

California Ed. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary $63,010
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary $64,860
Teacher Retention (?) 95%
Average Admin. Salary $105,250
Vacation Wks/Yr 15

Getting Involved...

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Initial California Teaching Certification

According to the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, as of the 2009-10 school year there were a total of 347,046 educators working in the state’s public schools. The number of new qualified candidates available to teach in California classrooms, however, has been dwindling, with just 20,000 new candidates in the 2009-10 school year as compared to the 2003-04 high of 31,397 new teachers. The good news is the Commission anticipates more Californians will become teachers in the next few years, motivated by desire to help educate California’s youth and hopeful of strong job prospects as competition for new positions has decreased. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in California.

education

Education Requirements

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The State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing [ph: (888) 921-4213] issues an Elementary Teaching Credential (Multiple Subject) and a Secondary Teaching Credential (Single Subject) to qualified applicants. To earn a Preliminary Credential, which is the first type of teaching credential available to new applicants and is valid for five years, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and complete an approved California teacher preparation program. Additional educational requirements for preliminary credentialing are as follows:

Elementary Teaching Credential (Multiple Subject):
  • Complete a comprehensive reading instruction course that includes:
    • Phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding
    • Language, literature and comprehension
    • Diagnostic and early intervention techniques
  • Complete a two semester unit course on the U.S. Constitution
  • Complete a course on the foundations of technology including general and specialized computer skills in education

Secondary Teaching Credential (Single Subject):
  • Complete a Commission-approved subject matter program in the subject in which you wish to be credentialed (in lieu of taking the program, you may opt out by examination, which will be explained below)
  • Complete a two semester unit course on the U.S. Constitution
  • Complete a course on the foundations of technology including general and specialized computer skills in education

If you do not enroll in an approved California teacher preparation program, you may still be eligible for California teaching credentials:
  • If you are an applicant for the Elementary (Multiple Subject) Credential and attended an out-of-state teacher preparation program, review these requirements.
  • If you are an applicant for the Elementary (Multiple Subject) Credential and attended a foreign college or university, review these requirements.
  • If you are an applicant for the Secondary (Single Subject) Credential and you attended an out-of-state teacher preparation program, review these requirements.
  • If you are an applicant for the Secondary (Single Subject) Credential who went to a foreign college or university, review these requirements.

For an overview of California certification requirements for prospective teachers, visit the Certification Requirements section of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) website.

exam

Examinations

For comprehensive California Commission on Teacher Credentialing examination information, click here.

Basic skills testing:
All candidates for preliminary teacher credentialing in California must satisfy the basic skills requirements. This may be accomplished by taking one of the following examinations and receiving the corresponding scores:

If you are pursuing Elementary (Multiple Subject) Teaching Credentials, you must also pass a Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA).

Content area assessment testing:
You must also pass examination(s) in the subject(s) in which you wish to become credentialed.

For Elementary (Multiple Subject) Teaching Credentials, you must fulfill this requirement by passing all portions of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) with the following scores:
  • Subtest I (Reading, Language and Literature; History and Social Science): 220
  • Subtest II (Science, Mathematics): 220
  • Subtest III (Physical Education, Human Development, Visual and Performing Arts): 220

For Secondary (Single Subject) Teaching Credentials, if you did not complete a Commission-approved subject matter educational program, you may take the appropriate Commission-approved subject matter examination. The proper subject matter test in the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) must be passed in order to become credentialed in that subject. Subject examinations available include:
  • Agriculture
  • Art
  • Business
  • English
  • Health Science
  • Home Economics
  • Industrial and Technology Education
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Preliminary Educational Technology
  • General Science
  • Biology/Life Science
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Planetary Science
  • Physics
  • Social Sciences
  • Languages Other than English: Subtests I-V
  • Languages Other than English – American Sign Language
  • Languages Other than English – Hebrew, Italian and Portuguese

If you wish to become credentialed in Latin, there is currently no CSET exam offered for this. However, you may have the teacher education department at one of the following California universities evaluate your transcript and issue you a single-subject equivalency letter:
  • CSU Long Beach
  • University of California, Irvine
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Diego State University

experience

Experience

If you attend an in state, Commission-approved teacher preparation program, you must also complete the student teaching portion of that program, under California rules. During this field placement, which varies in length depending upon your college or university’s policies, you will be placed in a classroom specific to the credential you are pursuing and will work under the supervision of a mentor teacher. This mentor teacher will offer you guidance and advice, and track your progress as you lead the class, prepare and implement lesson plans, and perform the day-to-day duties of a classroom teacher. At the end of your internship, your mentor will provide a written assessment of your student teaching program.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has also enacted special requirements for applicants who have experience teaching in a private school. Under these rules, if you have three to five years of private school teaching experience, you are exempt from the student teaching requirement. If you have six years of private school teaching experience, you are exempt from completing a teacher preparation program and from fulfilling the student teaching requirement. This experience must be documented and supplemented by copies of performance evaluations. More information for applicants who have private school teaching experience is available here.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have completed educational and examination requirements, fulfilled your student teaching prerequisite, and completed the criminal history background check (see below), you are ready to apply for your California teacher credential using the Application for Credential Authorizing Public School Service (Form 41-4). You may complete the application online, or submit this form along with the following necessary supporting documents, to State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Certification, Assignment and Waivers Division; Attention: Applications; 1900 Capitol Avenue; Sacramento, CA 95811-4213:
  • Official, unopened college transcript(s) listing your bachelor’s degree, completion of your California approved teacher preparation program, and the fulfillment of any specific course requirements
  • Photocopies of examination score reports
  • Copy of completed Request for LiveScan Service (see below)
  • Application fees
  • Signed Oath and Affidavit (located on application)

history

Criminal History Background Check

As part of the teacher credentialing process, you must complete a criminal history background check, which includes fingerprinting, and apply for a Certificate of Clearance. To begin the process, print three copies of the Request for LiveScan Service. Submit these copies to the LiveScan operator who takes your fingerprints (locations may be found here). If you complete the credentialing application online, you will be given instructions on how to verify the fingerprinting process has begun. If you submit the application via postal mail, you must attach a copy of the Request for LiveScan Service to verify that your fingerprints were taken.

The fingerprint and character identification process will take one to three days to complete. When you have met the requirements for the Certificate of Clearance, you will receive an email from the Commission notifying you of this..

contact

Contact Information

For more information on California teacher preparation programs, contact the colleges and universities that offer them.

If you need further information on the teacher credentialing process in California, contact the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at (888) 921-4213 or visit their website.

**Teacher Retention Sources - U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”), and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.