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Become a Teacher in California

Become a Teacher in California

California is a ‘land of golden opportunities’ for aspiring teachers who really want to make a mark in their career. Schools in the state range from those found in downtown Los Angeles, with its beaches, great neighborhoods, nightlife, and culture to those located in the quainter mountain towns in and around the Big Bear and other mountainous or rural areas. The Los Angeles Unified School District is easily the largest in the state, and only second to New York’s public school system.

Read on to know more about what it takes to become a teacher in California.

Basic Requirements

  1. All residential candidates must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. In order to earn a teacher certificate in California, resident candidates must also:
    • Pass either the CBEST, CSET, or CSU examination, satisfying the basic skills requirement
    • Complete either a multiple subject teacher preparation program, for aspiring elementary school teachers, or a single subject teacher preparation program, for aspiring middle school and high school students.
    • Pass a subject matter proficiency examination
    • Achieve a passing score on the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment
    • Complete a comprehensive reading instruction course
    • Complete a course on the United States Constitution
    • Complete a course in foundational computer technology
  2. Residents will find that there are a number of alternate routes open to them. One of them may include serving as a substitute teacher for up to 30 days for any one teacher during the school year.
  3. Teaching in California’s elementary and secondary schools requires the reading instruction competence assessment, a passing score on the necessary subject matter examination, and either the CBEST, CSET, or CSU examination. In regards to the subject matter examination, candidates have the option of instead completing a preparatory course.
  4. Those with teaching experience in another state may apply their out-of-State bachelor’s or master’s degree to satisfy the program requirement. California will also accept the proficiency scores of another state’s teacher certification exams. However, candidates must complete the necessary courses in computer technology, reading instruction, and Constitutional knowledge.
  5. Any number of bachelor’s degrees may qualify an individual to teach in California, so long as the degree is pertinent to the subject that candidates choose to teach. For example, an English teacher may hold a degree in American literature, English language, or English literature.

Note:Any discussion of how to become a teacher in California will differentiate between the requirements for individuals wishing to pursue elementary education and those interested in secondary education, as the testing and program requirements differ between the two. Those with an interest in special education or professional education will also find that they have different requirements.

Scope of Your Career as a Teacher in California

California is a very large state with a host of educational needs, so it should be fairly easy to find a teaching job in an area you’d like to work in. Specifically, there are shortages in subjects such as math, science, special education, and bilingual education in some rural areas and in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San José, and San Francisco. Since the benefits of being a teacher by far exceed the efforts made in becoming one, competition becomes fierce and having a regular college degree is not enough. So it is highly recommended that aspiring teachers earn a master’s or a PhD degree or any other specialization in order to stand out from the rest.

Favored Provisions for Teachers in the State of California

  • California provides teachers with excellent tools and first-class resources to make big positive changes in the lives of thousands of children. As a bonus, teachers are often offered the chance to further increase their income by getting the opportunity to work during the 15 weeks they have off every year.
  • The state also provides incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas.
  • The California Department of Education and Commission on Teacher Credentialing co-sponsors 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.

Teacher Salary Information

  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: The average elementary school teacher in California makes $63,010
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: The average secondary school 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

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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