How to Become a Teacher in California

As the most populous state in the nation, California contains a growing student population that reached more than 6.7 million K-12 students in the 2011-2012 school year. Within that increasing population lies a budding Hispanic community that accounts for more than 52% of the state, along with numerous students from other backgrounds. Despite these statistics, California only employed 286,969 teachers in the 2010-2011 school year, highlighting the need for educated and certified teachers from various walks of life. For those who seek to respond to this increasing demand for qualified educators, here are some tips on how to become a California certified teacher.

Education Requirements

For those interested in becoming a teacher in California, it is important to know how to obtain a California teaching license. It is imperative that candidates hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges or universities. However, as educational degrees are not available at the undergraduate level, students must first complete their bachelor’s degrees in the academic field that they hope to teach, such as math or English. Students must then complete a teacher training program approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). Teaching programs can be found through colleges, universities, community colleges, online schools, K-12 school districts, and certain community or regional service centers. Lastly, prospective teachers must pass certification tests, as determined by the CCTC.

After attaining a bachelor’s degree, completing a teaching program from on-campus or online teaching schools in California, and passing the certification tests, prospective educators may apply for additional certification based on previous experience or course work. As the state of California has a strong Hispanic population, bilingual certification is actively encouraged for teachers of all grade levels in order to improve their job prospects. Furthermore, the California Department of Education recommends procuring national board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, as this certification demonstrates a high level of competency as an educator.

California Teaching Certification

To teach elementary school in California, you must have the multiple subject teaching credential which authorizes teaching in preschool, kindergarten, grades 1-12, and classes for adults.

To teach middle or secondary school in California, you must have the single subject teaching credential.

Required Tests

For either a multiple subject (elementary) and single subject (middle-school and secondary) preliminary teaching credential, a candidate must pass:

Candidates for a clear teaching credential must complete a professional teacher induction program and obtain National Board certification.

State Certification Reciprocity

If you hold a teaching credential from another state, you can apply for a preliminary teaching credential in the same subject area. Requirements for obtaining a clear credential will be determined by the number of years of satisfactory, full-time teaching experience you have.

If you have National Board Certification, you can obtain a California clear credential in the subject area in which you have received certification. More information for out-of-state teachers who wish to teach in California is available on the Teach California website.

Helpful Resources

Academy of Art University

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79 New Montgomery
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 274-2200

Type of School:

  • Private for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

Accrediting Agency:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Alliant International University-San Diego

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10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131
(415) 955-2100

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Biola University

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13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001
(562) 903-6000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

California Baptist University

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8432 Magnolia Ave
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
(951) 689-5771

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Masters

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

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1 Grand Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
(805) 756-1111

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

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3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768
(909) 869-7659

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

California State University-Bakersfield

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9001 Stockdale Hwy
Bakersfield, CA 93311-1099
(661) 654-2782

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters

California State University-Chico

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First and Normal Sts
Chico, CA 95929-0150
(530) 898-6116

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters

California State University-Dominguez Hills

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1000 E Victoria St
Carson, CA 90747-0005
(310) 243-3300

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

California State University-Fresno

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5241 N Maple Ave
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-4240

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

California State University-Long Beach

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1250 Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840-0115
(562) 985-4111

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

California State University-Los Angeles

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5151 State University Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-3000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

California State University-Sacramento

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6000 J St
Sacramento, CA 95819-2694
(916) 278-6011

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

California State University-San Bernardino

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5500 University Pky
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397
(909) 537-5000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

Cerritos College

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11110 Alondra Blvd
Norwalk, CA 90650-6298
(562) 860-2451

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Chapman University

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One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 997-6815

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

El Camino Community College District

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16007 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA 90506
(310) 532-3670

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Fresno City College

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1101 E. University Ave
Fresno, CA 93741
(559) 442-4600

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Fresno Pacific University

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1717 S Chestnut Ave
Fresno, CA 93702-4709
(559) 453-2000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors

Holy Names University

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3500 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619-1699
(510) 436-1000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters
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