Teacher Certification Made Simple!

Become a Teacher
in California
California Teacher Certification

This page is sponsored by Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in California.

 

To become a certified teacher in California, you will need to fulfill all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating the site with new information on a regular basis. To stay up-to-date with the latest in teacher certification, please complete the form in the right sidebar.

Certification Requirements

Application Requirements

The California Commission on Teaching Credentialing requires that all potential California educators submit the following documentation and forms when applying for licensure:

  • Completed application form
  • Supporting documentation, including college transcript(s) and exam score(s)
  • Non-refundable $70 application fee made payable to the Commission on Teaching Credentials
  • Copy of completed Request for LiveScan Service form (proof of fingerprinting)
  • Completion of the following courses:
    • English Language skills course(s)
    • U.S. Constitution course (more information here)
    • Foundational computer technology course

California Teacher Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Prerequisite coursework for teaching in California varies depending on different teacher preparation programs and credentials; however, most programs do not have specific undergraduate credit hour requirements.

California Teacher Preparation

How to Become A Teacher in California
Teacher preparation includes the completion of an accredited teacher education program. Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. It should be noted that Education majors are not offered at colleges and universities in California. Information about alternative California teacher certification can be found here.

The California Department of Education and Commission on Teacher Credentialing co-sponsor the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Program. BTSA is one of the best state-funded induction programs in the country. The program is designed to aid in the development of newly-credentialed teachers, and to help 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.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers specific to the State of California visit our California Teacher Scholarships page.

California Required Tests

The California Commission on Teacher Credentials requires that all prospective educators meet the state’s basic skills requirement by passing the following exams: California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

 

Accepted/Passing Score(s) Assessment Test
Passing score of 41 per section and/or total average score of 123 Measures basic reading, writing and mathematical skills that are required for the job of educator in the state of California. [Required for all teacher certifications.] CBEST
Passing scores are dependent on the test; visit CSET for information about your specific testing requirements. Measures examinees knowledge and skills towards a specific subject area. CSET

 

The CSET offers exams in the following areas:

  • American sign language
  • Art
  • Biological sciences, specialized
  • Business
  • Chemistry, specialized
  • English
  • Foreign languages
  • Foundational-level general science
  • Foundational-level mathematics
  • Geosciences, specialized
  • Health science
  • Home economics
  • Industrial and technological education
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical education
  • Physics, specialized
  • Sciences: biology, chemistry, geosciences, physics
  • Social science

California Certification Reciprocity

California will accept some teaching credentials from the following states. Contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

 

Alabama Arizona Colorado Connecticut
Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii
Idaho Illinois Indiana Kansas
Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Nevada
Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska
New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York
North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma
Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah
Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming

 

California Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: California provides differential pay for teachers teaching in high needs schools and for teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: The California Department of Education and Commission on Teacher Credentialing co-sponsor the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Program. BTSA is one of the best state-funded induction programs in the country. The program is designed to aid in the development of newly-credentialed teachers, and to help teachers fulfill the requirements for the California Clear Multiple and Single Subjects Credentials.
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: The average elementary school teacher in California makes $63,010
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: The average secondary teacher in California makes $64,860
  • Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in California makes 145% of the salary of the average worker in California
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: The average teacher in California receives 15 weeks of vacation per year

Applying for Certification

Fingerprinting

The State of California requires that all prospective educators receive fingerprint clearance on a state (California Department of Justice) and federal (FBI) level. The California Department of Justice accepts fingerprint images/clearance only from LiveScan. Out-of-state teaching candidates may submit fingerprint cards from their respective states. Please visit the California Department of Justice to read more about the LiveScan process.

Contact Information

 

California Department of Education
1430 North Street
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 319-0800 – Email
California Commission on Teaching Credentialing
1900 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, California 95811
(916) 322-4974 –

 

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