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Formal Background Checks and Application to Teach in California

In California, teacher certification is necessary for those who wish to teach within the state. The State Board of Education requires specific educational and licensing requirements to be met in order to ensure the individual is able to properly teach students within the school system. These requirements can change over time. California does recognize licenses from other states, but it is by an individual basis -meaning your education and licensing requirements in your previous state are considered.

Getting an Education to Teach

The first step in obtaining your certification in California is to meet the required education, which must come from an accredited teacher education program. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another area of study, and have not earned a traditional teaching certificate, you can obtain what the state calls an alternative certificate.
You will need to take some additional courses and combine this with fieldwork to obtain your license. This state does not have a set number of undergraduate credit hour requirements for you to follow beyond meeting a certified teacher certificate through a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree.

Required Licensing Exams in the State

After obtaining your education, you will then need to sit for the required licensing exams. The California teacher certification will require you to complete the Basic Skills Test in the Subject Area of Competence you have selected. This is the area, in which you plan to teach. The PPST or Pre Professional Skills Test is administered by the state.
Then, you will need to complete the Praxis II: Subject Tests in the specialty area you have selected. This licensing exam will provide information about your skills and ensure you have the means to actually teach according to the state’s requirements. Passing both portions of this test is incredibly important if you plan to get your license.

Formal Background Checks and Application to Teach

After completing this information, the next step is to go through a formal background check and to ensure that your application to the Board of Education for the state is in order. You will need to submit all of this information to the state’s Board of Education for review. The board will review the information and then verify that you met all requirements from education through the testing. You will need to have passed all required background screenings, too. It is only then that you can actually receive your license to teach.
Most of the time, you will find that it will take about four years to get your education to teach in the state of California, this includes the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. There are requirements for students to refresh exams (especially if you allow your license to expire) and you may need to take continuing education courses to keep your license up to date. For those who wish to become a teacher, the California teacher certification programs can help you to do just that. For many, becoming a licensed teacher here is well worth the hard work it takes to get to that point.


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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