Where to get teaching credentials in California

As of 2009-10, there were 347,046 teachers in California. California has seen a steady decline in newly qualified teachers. In 2003-04 31,397 new teachers appeared, but in 2009-2010 there were only 20,000 new teacher credentials available.

The good news is that the Commission expects more Californians to become teachers over the next few years, driven by a desire to help educate California youth and stronger job opportunities as competition for new positions wanes. Prospects are expected. Find schools in California that offer teaching certification programs.

teaching credentials

Education Requirements

There are two types of teaching credentials in California. They are the Primary General Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and the Secondary Single Subject Teaching Credential.

The applicant needs at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, an approved teacher preparation program, and five years of experience to take the certification test that will be valid for five years. The additional educational requirements for the initial credential are as follows:

Primary Teaching Credentials (Multiple Subjects):

• Phonetic awareness, phonetics, and decoding
• Literature, Language, and knowledge
• Diagnostic and primary interference techniques
• The US Complete a two-semester unit course on Constitution.
• You can qualify for a teaching credential by taking a course on technology foundations, including common and specific computer skills in education.

Secondary Teaching Credentials (Single Subject):

• Get your teaching credentials by taking a Commission-approved subject matter program.
• Completes two-semester unit course on US Constitution
• You can qualify for a teaching credential by taking a course on technology foundations, including common and specific computer skills in education. You may still be eligible for California Teaching Credentials with taught-credentials courses if you are not enrolled in an approved California Teacher Preparation Program:
• You should have a reviewed out-of-state teacher preparation program to get a teaching credential in California.
• Foreign college or university students can review these teaching credential requirements for the primary credential.
• Applicants for the secondary (single subject) credential that have participated in an out-of-state teacher preparation program may review these requirements.
• The university or foreign college student can review your teaching credentials qualification for the secondary (single subject) credential.

Note: You can get an overview of teaching credentials in California by visiting the Certification Requirements section of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) website.


  1. Basic Skill Test – Candidates must meet the Minimum Skill Requirements for an Introductory Teaching Credential to teach in California, which can be completed through one of the following tests obtaining a score.
  2. You must get a score of at least 41 in every section (reading, writing, and math) to pass the California Basic Skills Education Test (CBEST).
  3. You must pass the California Subject Test for the Teacher’s Multiple Subject Plus Writing Skills Test (CSET) with a 220 scale score.
  4. To get through the Early Assessment Program at California State University, you will need an “Exempt” or “College Ready” score in the English and math sections.
  5. Scores 151 in maths and English to pass California State University’s placement exams (English Placement Test and Entry Level Mathematics).
  6. If you received your teaching credentials from another state, you need to provide a photocopy of your score report. You don’t need to retake the exam. There is no recurring requirement for the date you passed the Basic Skill Test.

You will also be required to pass a Reading Instruction Competency Assessment (RICA) if you hold the primary (Multiple Subject) Teaching Credentials.
You must also pass the subject(s) test for the subject for which you wish to receive credit.

  1. Material Area Evaluation Test:

• When applying for a California teaching credential, you must pass all parts of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) with scoring outlined below:
• Subtest I ( Language, Reading, Literature; History and Social Sciences): 220
• Subtest II (Math’s, Science): 220
• Subtest III (Physical Education, Visual, Human Development, l, and Performing Arts): 220

The secondary teaching credential requires a passing score on the CSET. It covers relevant information from commission-approved subject matter programs. The list of available tests includes the following:

• Agriculture
• Art
• Business
• English
• Health Science
• Home Economics
• Industrial and Technology Education
• Mathematics
• Music
• Physical Education
• Preliminary Educational Technology
• General Science
• Biology/Life Science
• Chemistry
• Earth and Planetary Science
• Physics
• Social Sciences
• Languages Other than English: Subtests I-V
• Languages Other than English – American Sign Language
• Languages Other than English – Hebrew, Italian and Portuguese


The Education Commission of California mandates that candidates for certification must complete the end-of-teaching program. This Includes completing both practical instructions at your college or university and practical teaching in a public school district. Under the supervision of a mentor teacher, you will be immersed in a continuous learning environment that will teach you how to lead a lesson, create and implement lesson plans, and perform all other parts of teaching.

Candidates for teaching credentials in California can submit transcripts and teaching experience documentation. There are few mobility programs for teachers in California. Suppose you have three to five years or six years of private school teaching experience. In that case, you may be exempt from certain steps in the path to teacher certification – including student tutoring requirements and teacher preparation programs.

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have met all criteria to become a teaching credential in your State of residence, submit the required documentation listed by the Department of Education in your State. If you reside in California, You can submit your applications on their online page or follow the instructions. Once done, you are ready to complete an application for teaching credentials with the State.

• You can have your California teacher credentials granted with the official, closed school transcript by having a Bachelor’s degree in education, completing an approved teacher preparation program in California, and completing extra courses.
• Report a duplicate copy of the exam score.
• Fulfill the request for the Live Scan service.
• Application process fee
• Signed Oath and Affidavit (located on the application)

Criminal Background Check

When you are trying to ensure that you have all of the necessary teaching credentials in California, the process requires that you get the live scan to check your criminal background. These take 3 copies of Request for Live Scan Service (Live Scan) forms. Bring these copies to the live scan operator who takes your fingerprints.

The fingerprint and character recognition process will take one-three days to complete. When you have completed the teaching credential requirements, you will receive an email notification from the Commission.

To learn more about the teaching credentials process in California, contact the State of California commission on the teacher credentials website.

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