Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/15/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of California, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Step Four: Submit a California teaching credential application.
Getting a teaching credential in California will require you to fulfill the designated undergraduate coursework, a teacher preparation program, and standardized testing. Teaching at the elementary level requires a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, teaching at the secondary level requires a Single Subject Teaching Credential, and teaching special education students requires an Education Specialist Instruction Credential.
Novice teachers begin with a Preliminary Credential, with which they are allowed to teach for up to five years. At the end of that period, they must meet the criteria for a Clear Credential. The requirements for the Clear Credential can be satisfied in one of three ways:
General Education Induction Program
General Education Clear Credential program at a California college or university
Certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
All states require that prospective teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program to receive certification. Some states also have specific course and credit-hour requirements.
Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements—curricula and fieldwork.
Curricula generally include instruction on teaching fundamental skills, pedagogy (the science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design, and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Fieldwork often includes field observations, internships, student teaching, or a combination of all three.
California does not list specific course or credit-hour requirements, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. However, all California teachers must take a class on the U.S. Constitution, as well as a Developing English Language Skills course. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for more information.
Step Two: California Teacher Certification Programs
Teacher preparation typically involves the completion of an accredited teacher education program. Teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula include foundational knowledge and skills, contemporary pedagogy, and lesson plan implementation. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in California can be found through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Approved Program dashboard.
You can learn more about these California certification exams by visiting the CSETandCBESTinformation pages provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online practice tests and study guides for each exam, plus a variety of paid test prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.
BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.
Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.
Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.
The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.
Alternative Teacher Certification in California
Aspiring teachers with a bachelor’s degree that is not in education who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. (Note: California does not offer undergraduate majors in Education.) Here’s a list and description of some alternative routes to certification in California:
California students between grades two and 11 take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The online tests "ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and on the job," writes the California Department of Education, which reported significant improvement in the scores at every grade level and in every student group in 2016 over the previous year.
California is one of the highest paying states for teachers, with elementary school teachers making an average of $72,360 per year and secondary school teachers making an average of $74,770 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Teacher salaries vary by location within California. The 2015–2016 salary schedule from Los Angeles rewards teachers with a slight increase in salary for each semester unit of undergraduate coursework taken, as well as for years of experience. California teachers are eligible for the Good Neighbor Next Door program, which provides a significant discount on housing in certain areas. Learn more about teacher salaries.
Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2016–2017, and was determined by examining the most recent data about unfilled teaching positions; positions filled by teachers certified by irregular, provisional, temporary, or emergency certification; and teachers teaching in subject areas other than their area of preparation.
California’s Department of Education has a number of professional development initiatives designed to improve the quality of teaching and keep it dynamic. Development opportunities include staff mentoring, peer assistance review (PAR) programs, and statewide workshops. Resources include seminars on iTunes U. The California Department of Education and Commission on Teacher Credentialing co-sponsor the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Program. The program helps newly credentialed teachers fulfill the requirements for the California Clear Multiple and Single Subjects credentials. The California Department of Education also offers information on internship programs for prospective teachers.
A master’s degree in the field of education gives teachers more field experience and pedagogical knowledge, which leads to increased competence in the classroom. The Los Angeles teacher salary schedule offers a flat $584 annual salary increase for teachers with a master’s degree, in addition to a slight increase for each semester unit of courses taken.