California Alternative Certification Programs

California, like many other states, is experiencing a shortage of teachers. Instead of relying solely on individuals who graduate with a degree in education, California offers alternative certification programs designed to train individuals to teach without going through the traditional methods of certification.

Program Name: District Intern Certificate

Program Mission and Overview:
The District Intern Certificate program is designed for qualified individuals to earn teaching credentials. Prospective teachers can also obtain certification to work in bilingual classrooms teaching ESL students.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited school.
  • Satisfy the performance-based assessment.
  • Complete a course on the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution or pass an exam given by a regionally accredited school.
  • Be trained and mentored by a certified employee.
  • Candidates who will teach grades 6-12 must complete an approved subject preparation program and pass an exam on their chosen subject area.
  • Candidates who will teach kindergarten through grade 8 must complete an approved elementary education preparation program and pass the appropriate exams.

Applicants can apply for this certification by completing this application and the Request for Live Scan Service.

Financial Information:
The District Intern Certificate requires candidates to pay all fees for testing and licensing. For more information on the costs, which vary, contact the Commission’s Professional Services Division at 916.445.0184.

Program Name: Eminence Credential

Program Mission and Overview:
The purpose of the Eminence Credential is to allow those who have shown excellence in their field the opportunity to train young people. This credential is available only to those who are recognized by others as eminent in their field, meaning the individual is distinguished in a specific area and is “recognized as such beyond the boundaries of his or her community, having demonstrably advanced his or her field, and has been acknowledged by his or her peers beyond the norm of others.”

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Qualified applicants must:

  • Be recommended by the governing body of their employer.
  • Provide verification of employment.
  • Provide verification of specific prominent qualities, including:
  • Distinction outside the immediate community.
  • Demonstrated advancement in their field.
  • Recognition from peers beyond the norm for their field.
  • Submit a letter from an employer stating how the individual will benefit the school district.

Complete the form 41-4 application, along with the form 41-LS.

Financial Information:
No additional education is required, which allows individuals to complete this certification at little cost.

Applicants must pay the application fee of $70 plus $2 for online applications. Other fees may apply.

Program Name: Early Completion Internship Option

Program Mission and Overview:
The Early Completion Internship Option is an accelerated path for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree to earn their certification. Candidates must complete an approved internship program and demonstrate the necessary skills to obtain teaching certification. Some coursework may be required for certain individuals who have not met all requirements.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Candidates who are interested in this path must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Meet the basic skills requirement.
  • Pass the Teaching Foundations Examination.
  • Complete a course in the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution. Candidates may be exempt from this requirement if they can pass an exam on the topic.
  • Verify subject knowledge by passing an approved content examination or completing a commission-approved subject program.
  • Complete a Live Scan receipt.
  • Receive an offer of employment.
  • Be enrolled in a district intern program.

Candidates may apply by filling out this online form. Those who must also complete college-level coursework may apply directly through the institution of their choice.

Financial Information:
If candidates must complete coursework, they will be responsible for paying all tuition and fees at the institution of their choice. Scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans may be used to pay for these courses.

Program Name: Sojourn Certificated Employee Credential

Program Mission and Overview:
The primary goal of this program is to place non-native speakers in the classroom to teach foreign language courses and ESL classes. This program allows candidates to enter the classroom without obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education. Candidates are required to complete at least six semester credits per year toward a bachelor’s degree or an approved teacher preparation program to continue in the program.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Candidates do not have to have a bachelor’s degree, but they must meet:

  • Have 90 semester credits of college-level coursework.
  • Pass the CBEST basic skills test within one year of starting the program.
  • Be a native speaker of a foreign language, preferably Spanish.
  • Apply at an accredited institution to fulfill the course requirements for this program.

Financial Information:
Eligible candidates must pay for the costs of completing six credit hours of coursework at an approved institution. Candidates may apply for scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans to pay for these courses.

Program Name: University Intern Credentials

Program Mission and Overview:
Qualified candidates for the University Intern Credentials can obtain teaching certification through programs that include required coursework and teaching internship experiences. These programs are conducted through approved institutions and are typically completed in one to two years.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
To be eligible, candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Pass a basic skills test and a content knowledge test.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have an understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Gain approval from the teacher’s union of the employing school district.

Candidates who are interested in applying may apply directly through an approved institution. Each institution has its own eligibility requirements.

Financial Information:
Candidates are responsible for paying the tuition and fees charged by the institution they choose to attend — costs vary. Scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans may be used to pay for the program.

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