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California Teacher Certification – Your Complete Guide

The California teacher certification process can be a very rewarding experience. Individuals will find that this process includes a significant amount of training and education, but it can be a very good experience overall as it prepares you for the challenges of teaching in this very diverse environment.

You will need to meet all of the state’s requirements for prerequisite coursework to obtain a degree. Then, you will need to sit for all of the state’s licensing exams, pass background screening and then pass a final board review before obtaining a California state license to teach.online-classes

Course Work Requirements

In the state of California, individuals will need to complete approved education in order to obtain a teacher certification. The state requires anyone who wishes to obtain a specific teaching license to have at least a bachelor’s degree in education. There are no undergraduate credit hour requirements, however, specialized programs of study are required depending on the type of teaching you wish to do.

Students will need to complete all course work required to obtain the teaching level degree from an accredited university or college. The student then needs to complete fieldwork, which generally includes student teaching, field observations and later an internship.

In some cases, those who already hold a bachelor’s degree, but do not have foundational or teaching skills, can go back to school to obtain an alternative program of education, including getting a master’s degree with a focus on education. Teachers will also work with the BTSA, or Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program, which helps to prepare newly credentialed teachers for the workforce.

Licensing Requirements

Once you complete the required educational elements to obtain a teaching degree at the bachelor level, you can sit for the state mandated testing. These tests cover both the actual teaching skills developed and foundational knowledge in the skill areas you selected to learn as a focus for your career later. You will need to complete the following basic skills tests:

• The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or the Multiple Subject Plus Writing Skills Examination (CSET) or the Early Assessment Program/ CSU Placement Examinations (CSU). Which one you take depends on the type of license that you wish to have, and where you wish to work.

• In addition, all students must complete a subject area competence exam. In the state of California, this is the California Subject Examinations for Teachers or CSET test.

After successful completion of these tests, you can then apply for your California teacher’s certification. This application process is done through the California State Board of Education. A background check is completed and then all of your credentials are verified. If you meet all requirements, the state will then approve your licensing.

However, you will be required to get continuing education and, in some cases, your master’s degree in education. Individuals who wish to obtain their California teacher certification should count on spending four years to earn it, if starting with a bachelor’s degree in education.


Amy P'Pool is currently a student at California State University at Long Beach. Studying journalism, aspiring to be a professional writer someday. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, jogging thru the parks and along the beaches of California, some consider her to be true....

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