Alternative Teaching Certification in California

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The State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing offers alternative pathways to teacher certification for those who already have specific skills and knowledge or for those who were in the Peace Corps. These are known respectively as the Early Completion Internship Option and the Peace Corps Teaching Experience.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in California.

The Early Completion Internship Option is designed for those who already have experience teaching students. To be eligible to participate in the Early Completion Internship Option, you must be accepted into a Commission-approved internship program and have an offer of employment from a school district.

If you have Peace Corps teaching experience, the credentialing process is streamlined to reflect your experience.

Alternative Certification Requirements

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Education Requirements

Expedite this process -- Click Here to learn more about USC's online Masters and PhD programs.

Early Completion Internship Option:
  • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • You must complete a two-semester course on the U.S. Constitution (or test out- see below)
  • You must either complete a Commission-approved subject matter program or test out – see below
  • You must complete a course in foundational computer technology

Peace Corps Teaching Experience Option:
  • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to obtain the Preliminary Credential, which is valid for five years and then must be converted to a Clear Credential
  • You must either complete a course in Developing English Language Skills or pass the RICA test (see below) to earn the Clear Credential
  • You must either complete a two-semester course on the U.S. Constitution or pass an exam (see below) to earn the Clear Credential
  • You must either complete a Commission-approved subject matter program or test out (see below) to earn the Clear Credential
  • You must either complete a Commission-approved Professional Teacher Induction Program or complete a fifth year of study at a California college or university with a Commission-approved teacher preparation program to earn the Clear Credential

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exam

Examinations

Early Completion Internship Option:
  • You must pass a Basic Skills examination
  • You must pass the Teaching Foundations Examination (TFE) offered by Educational Testing Services
  • If you did not complete a Commission-approved subject matter program, you must pass the appropriate subject matter examinations(s) (see this link for exams for Multiple Subject applicants and this link for exams for Single Subject applicants)
  • You must pass the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) on the first attempt. If you do not pass the TPA on the first try, you are no longer eligible for the Early Completion Internship Option and must instead enroll in the full teacher preparation program
  • You must pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)

Peace Corps Teaching Experience Option:
  • No examinations must be passed to earn the Preliminary Credential
  • You must pass a Basic Skills examination within one year of earning the Preliminary Credential to be eligible to continue teaching
  • You must pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) or complete a course in Developing English Language Skills to earn the Clear Credential
  • You must either pass a college exam in the Provisions and Principles of the U.S. Constitution or complete a two-semester course on the U.S. Constitution to earn the Clear Credential
  • You must either pass all appropriate subject matter exams for the Multiple Subject Credential or the Single Subject Credential or complete a Commission-approved subject matter program to earn the Clear Credential

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Experience

Early Completion Internship Option:
In order to be eligible for the Early Completion Internship Option, you must be accepted into a Commission-approved internship program and have an offer of employment from a school district. Information on district or university internship programs may be found here. A listing of school districts throughout California may be found in the California Department of Education’s California School Directory. To find a position in a California school district, visit EDJOIN.org.

Peace Corps Teaching Experience Option:
You must have Peace Corps teaching experience at the level of the credential you request, verified by letter from the Director of the Peace Corps of the United States or the Peace Corps County Director. You must have been in a Peace Corps assignment in a foreign country for at least 18 months and have spent at least 50 percent of your time teaching in a classroom at the level of the credential you seek.

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Criminal History Background Check

Regardless of the pathway you take to teacher credentialing, you must pass a criminal history background check, which includes fingerprinting. 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 the Early Completion Internship Option, visit this section of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website or call (888) 921-4213.

For more information on the Peace Corps Teaching Experience option, visit this section of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website or call (888) 921-4213.

Info to Explore

Terminology and Specifics

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