- Teacher Certification Map
- Become a Teacher in California
Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $63010
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $64860
Teacher Salary vs. State Average: 145%
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15
This page is sponsored by our partner 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.
A few quick notes on California's teaching landscape:
- 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.
Step One: Prerequisite Coursework
Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. CertificationMap.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: 3/22/2016
The first step to getting certified as a teacher is choosing a specialization and/or grade level and earning your bachelor's degree.
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.
Visit The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs database to verify whether or not your institution is accepted.
Step Two: Teacher Preparation
Next, you'll need to complete an approved teacher preparation program. Visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website to find a state-approved teacher preparation program in California.
After, make sure to fill out an program recommendation form, complete the Professional Fitness Questions (PFQ), and submit payment via the Comission's CTC Online system to verify the completion of an approved program.
Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork involved in an accredited teacher preparation program. 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.
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.
Step Three: Required Tests
Next, you'll need to complete the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). The California Commission on Teacher Credentials requires all prospective educators meet this as the state’s basic skills requirement.
Visit the California Educator Credentialing Examinations website for more information on state testing requirements and registration dates.
|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
- Biological sciences, specialized
- Chemistry, specialized
- Foreign languages
- Foundational-level general science
- Foundational-level mathematics
- Geosciences, specialized
- Health science
- Home economics
- Industrial and technological education
- Physical education
- Physics, specialized
- Sciences: biology, chemistry, geosciences, physics
- Social science
Step Four: Application Requirements
Finally, submit a completed licensure application to get the show on the road! It's highly recommended that you first create a CTC Online Educator Profile if you are a first-time applicant. You can apply by submitting a paper or online application.
Make sure you have all your supporting documents! Here's a complete checklist of things you need to submit along with your license application for first-time applicants:
- Processing fee of $100
- Any supporting documention including appropriate official transcripts, letters verifying experience, examination score reports, and other information needed to determine your eligibility for the current issuance of the credential
- A copy of the "Request for LiveScan Service" form attached to the application packet as proof that fingerprints were taken and the finger processing fees were paid
Step Five: License Endorsements
In addition to your teaching license, if you would like to earn additional endorsements to your valid California teaching license, follow the outline below:
1. Achieve a passing score on the appropriate subject-matter examination(s). Information, including passing scores and registration, can be found in Verifying Subject-Matter Competence leaflet CL-674S.
2. Complete a Commission-approved subject-matter program or its equivalent and obtain verification of completion from the person authorized by the program sponsor. Click here for a list of institutions with Commission-approved subject matter programs.
3. For Specialized Science subjects only, individuals may take and pass the appropriate subject matter examinations or obtain verification of completion of subject-matter course work from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Information, including requirements and procedures, can be found in Coded Correspondence 03-0010.
Visit the Adding Authorizations or Teaching Area Requirements page to find out more.
California Certification Reciprocity
California will accept some teaching credentials from all but the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, and Iowa. Contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.
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