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Frequently Asked Questions

Credentials

I am a teacher outside the United States and would like to become a credentialed teacher in California. What do I need to do?

If you are licensed to teach in another country, you will need to provide foreign transcript evaluations of both your college and teaching programs, and proof of comparable teaching credential. If you have teaching experience in another state or country, you may be able to apply for a preliminary credential in California. To find out, you must answer some questions about yourself in the My Career Plan section of the TEACH California Web site.

Are there different types of credentials to teach math?

There are two basic types of mathematics credentials; the Foundational-Level Mathematics Credential and the Single Subject Mathematics Credential. The single subject credentials enables the holder to teach ALL math subjects. The Foundational-Level credential holder can teach all math courses up to and including Algebra II. Additional information can be found at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

I already have a basic credential and would like to add special education. What do I need to do?

Unlike adding multiple subject or single subject credentials to an existing credential, special education is more complicated and requires that you speak with an advisor based at the college or university in which you are interested in attending. Visit our Find the Right Preparation Program page for helpful information as you choose a teacher preparation program.

I am a paraeducator, and am assigned to a classroom that includes a couple of students with special needs. I'm thinking of becoming a special education teacher, but have to continue working while taking classes. Is there any program that can help me?

Some school districts provide paraeducator career ladder programs that help paraeducators obtain their credential. California School Employees Association, http://members.csea.co...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site, has also provided support to paraeducators. On our resources page, look for the Paraeducator (Brochure) near the bottom of the Outreach materials list.

I am a teacher who is interested in moving to California to teach. I have heard that the teaching licenses from other states are usually not accepted by California. Is that true?

California's credentialing requirements for out-of-state teachers have become much easier. If you: 1) hold a teaching license in a subject that corresponds with a California-issued subject area based on completion of a baccalaureate degree and a teacher preparation program or alternative program; 2) have completed a basic skills requirement; and 3) completed California's requirements for fingerprint and character and identification clearance, you are eligible for a preliminary credential. Our Out-of-State Teacher page has more details.

I am considering changing my career and becoming a teacher. I know I have to complete a teacher preparation program but I need to keep working in order to support my family. Is this possible?

If you are able to demonstrate subject matter competency (by either having completed an approved subject matter program or by obtaining the necessary score on the California Subjects Examination for Teachers (CSET), you may be eligible for intern programs. Intern programs are designed so that you teach during the day and attend classes during the evening or on weekends. You can easily locate intern programs by using our Web site to Find the Right Preparation Program.

I am thinking of moving to the US, am not a teacher now but would like to teach in California. What do I need to do?

If you do not have a teaching license from another country, you will need to obtain one, either from another country or California. If you decide to obtain a license once you are in California and have completed some college coursework, you will need to have your undergraduate degree evaluated by an approved agency. Then you can apply to a teacher preparation program. This process for obtaining a California teaching credential is described on our Out-of-Country Teacher page.

I have a master's degree in the subject I wish to teach. Do I just need to pass the CBEST in order to teach in a k-12 classroom?

In order to teach, you must obtain a teaching credential; a master's degree is not sufficient. Successful completion of a teacher preparation program is required. You can easily locate teacher preparation programs by visiting our Find the Right Preparation Program page.

I have been teaching in another state for many years and am now thinking of relocating to California. What do I need to do in order to teach in California?

Recent legislation has made it easier for you to teach in California if you: 1) hold a teaching credential in a subject that corresponds with a California-issued subject area (based on completing a baccalaureate degree and teacher preparation/alternative program); 2) can show passage of the basic skills requirements; and 3) pass California's requirements for fingerprint and character and identification clearance. The full description of steps you need to take can be found on our Out-of-State Teacher page.

I have read that the requirements for becoming a teacher in California have become easier for teachers from other states. Is this true for teachers from other countries?

The only changes affecting teachers from other countries relate to obtaining a clear credential for single and multiple subject credential. There are no changes for obtaining a preliminary credential or for special education teachers. Find more by visiting our Out-of-Country teachers page.

I understand there is a need for science teachers, but I've heard there are different types of science credentials. Can you explain the differences?

There are three general types of science credentials: foundation, specialized credentials in specific subject areas (biological science, chemistry, geosciences, and physics) and separate credentials in these same subject areas. Requirements for the three types differ, as does the subject matter that can be taught. The foundation credential holder may teach only introductory science, not integrated science or the subject specific classes (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Earth Science), the holder of a specialized credential may not teach general, introductory, or integrated science courses.

I would like to try substitute teaching to see if I like teaching. What are the requirements?

There are three main types of substitute teaching permits: the 30-day substitute teaching permit, the emergency substitutes teaching permit for prospective teachers, and the emergency career substitute teaching permit. Full descriptions of the differences among these permits can be found on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

Special Education Career - Interpreter for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: What are the credential requirements?

The Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Teaching Credential, http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site, granted by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is needed for sign language interpreters to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in California public schools.

Special Education Career - Physical Therapist: What are the professional licensing requirements?

A professional license, http://www.ptbc.ca.gov...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site, from the California Department of Consumer Affairs is required to work in public schools as a physical therapist.

Special Education Career - School Psychologist: What are the key credentialing and related information?

Trained in psychology and education, school psychologist’s work duties, http://www.cde.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site with students, teachers, and parents focus on creating the best learning environments.
Those who want to be a California school psychologist must hold a Pupil Personnel Services Credential granted by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site

Special Education Career - School Psychologist: What kind of preparation programs are available?

There are two kinds of Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved professional preparation programs: a) Traditional preparation programs that must be completed prior to employment offered by colleges and universities, districts and county offices of education and other entities, http://cig.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site; and b) Internship preparation programs allowing employment while completing all the program requirements, http://cig.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

Special Education Career - Special Education Administrator: What are the credential requirements?

The most common credential that a special education administrator has is the Administrative Services Credential, http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site, granted from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Special Education Career - Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP): What are the credential requirements?

California public schools typically utilize individuals with an SLP credential granted from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) but public schools are also allowed to use state licensed SLPs. Both the license and the credential require a masters degree and a national written exam with a nine-month monitored first year experience. California has masters degree SLP preparation programs, http://www.csha.org/programs.

Special Education Career - Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP): What are the kinds of preparation programs available?

California has masters degree SLP preparation programs, http://www.csha.org/programs. One of the following types of professional document is needed for employment: a) Speech-Language Pathology Services Credential granted by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site; OR b) Speech-Language Pathology License approved by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, http://www.speechandhe...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

Special Education Career - Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant (SLP) Assistant: What are the credential requirements?

There are also SLP Assistant programs, http://www.csha.org/programs, which are Associates of Arts (AA) degree programs leading to a license as a SLP assistant, http://www.speechandhe...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site, from the California Department of Consumer Affairs. SLP assistants work under the supervision of a licensed or credentialed speech-language pathologist.

What is an "approved teaching preparation program"?

Approved teaching preparation programs are programs that have been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), the state agency responsible for accrediting teacher preparation programs and credentialing teachers. A full listing of these programs can be found by logging on to http://www.ctc.ca.gov/...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

What is the CBEST and how long does it remain valid?

The CBEST stands for the California Basic Educational Skills Test. As required by law, this test is used to assess and verify proficiency in mathematics, reading, and writing skills. The CBEST does not have an expiration date. Please note that passing the CBEST is just one way to satisfy the basic skills requirement. The following are ways to meet this: Passing the CSET: Multiple Subjects, and the CSET: Writing Skills exam, passing the California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program or CSU Placement Exams, or passing the basic skills exam of another state.
Financial Aid

I am not from California and I am wondering if I am eligible for any California-based financial aid.

No. If you are from another state in the United States of America, you could research all the federal scholarships, grants, or loans. We have compiled a list of What's Available If You Are from Another State.

I am on active duty and thinking about becoming a teacher. Are there any programs that can help me?

Yes. The Mountain Pacific Troops to Teachers program, http://www.mwttt.com/ is designed to help military retirees, separating active duty personnel, and currently drilling members of the reserve obtain their teaching credential.

I am only interested in getting a student loan. Do I still need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Yes. The loan amount is calculated based on information obtained from the FAFSA.

I have been researching different scholarships and I have found some services that will do the search for you, for a fee. Is this a good deal? Are they helpful?

If you are able to do Internet searches, you are able to do what many of these companies will do for you. Often, there is no guarantee that they will find any scholarships for you. We suggest you save your money and do the searching yourself. You can start by letting us help you Find Financial Aid.

I have heard about National Board Certification and would like to know if there are any financial benefits to obtaining this certification.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Incentive Program provides a $20,000 incentive award for California National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) who teach in high-priority schools. More information about this program can be found by viewing our Sources of Financial Aid resource matrix.

I know there is a shortage of special education teachers but are there any programs to help someone obtain their Education Specialist Instruction Credential?

You are in luck. The federal government has funded programs throughout the state that provide financial and academic support for future special educators. A list of these programs can be found on our Sources of Financial Aid matrix. Follow the instructions given at the bottom of the page.

I missed the March 2nd priority filing date of the FAFSA. Does that mean I am not eligible for financial aid?

March 2nd is the priority filing date for certain California financial aid programs. Missing this date means that you will not be considered for all sources of financial aid. However, you still may be eligible for federal aid or a community college award. Each year, March 2nd is the priority filing date so do not forget to file by this date next year.

I need to look for scholarships but I don't even know how to begin. Can you help?

Hundreds of scholarships go unclaimed each year because students have not applied for them. Often, the scholarships are created for a specific type of person; someone majoring in a particular field, or someone from a specific town. The company where your parents work might offer scholarships for children of their employees. Do you have any hobbies, play any instruments, or do any volunteer work? It is very likely that there is a scholarship for someone with your interests. You just need to search the groups and organizations that reflect your interests.

I want to become a teacher but am worried about tuition. How do I apply for financial aid?

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid which can be found at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. (The priority deadline is March 2nd.) The FAFSA looks at your income, your parents' income, and family assets. The form also takes into account the age of your parents, their retirement planning needs, and the number of children in the household and in college. Information on the FAFSA form is used to determine your family's financial contribution to your school costs. Your school's financial aid office will use this figure to determine your eligibility for aid.

I would like to live in the neighborhood in which I teach but I do not think I can afford to purchase a house. Are there programs that could help me realize this dream?

There is one program that may help you: The Housing Urban Development (HUD), Teacher Next Door Program. More information can be found about these programs by viewing the Sources of Financial Aid matrix.

I've heard that there are some new financial aid programs for future teachers in high need areas. Do you have any information about them?

Yes. You are referring to the new SMART grant and TEACH grant. Each can provide up to $4,000 per year for eligible students. More information about the SMART grant can be found by logging on to http://studentaid.ed.g...Icon indicating a URL to an external Web site. For more information, view our Sources of Financial Aid.

What is the FAFSA and who has to file it?

The FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the application required of students wishing to obtain federal and most other financial aid. It asks for information about your income, your parents' income, and family assets. The form also takes into account the age of your parents, their retirement planning needs, and the number of children in the household and in college. Information on the FAFSA form is used to determine your family's financial contribution to your school costs. Filing the form is free. The form can be downloaded by logging on to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Jobs

Do I need to major in the subject I wish to teach?

No. Prospective teachers can take the California Subject Examinations for Teacher (CSET) before entering a teaching preparation program. For detailed information, please seek advice from a teaching program advisor at an accredited university of your choice. Register for the CSET by logging on to http://www.cset.nesinc.com Web page.

I am from out-of-state and understand that each school district in California does its own hiring. Do I have to call each school district, or log on to each district's Web site, in order to see what jobs are available in the state?

Looking for teaching positions in California is easy. Just log on to the Ed-Join Web site, which can be found in our Find a Teaching Job section, and conduct your own search of jobs, using any combination of variables.

I am not sure what grade level I wish to teach. What would be the best ways for me to figure this out?

Volunteering at a school, in different grade levels is one way to find out with which age group of students you are most comfortable. If you have a bachelor's degree, you can also substitute teach or, if you are still in school, do a service learning project with different grade levels. Ask your high school counselor to help in that case.

I want to teach but I want to make sure I can get a job. Are there some types of teachers needed more than others?

The needs vary greatly across the school districts in California, but generally, special education teachers are needed everywhere, and most districts are looking for science and mathematics teachers. Bilingual teachers are also in demand in some regions. This does not mean that you can not get a job teaching other subjects. Teacher retirements are affecting most school districts so hiring for various kinds of teachers is taking place throughout the state. You can get an idea of the jobs available by viewing our Find a Teaching Job section.

I've been working in private industry for many years and am seriously considering changing my career and becoming a teacher. I can't go back to school 100% as I have a family to support. What are my options?

Alternative certification programs target individuals who have related work experiences and subject- matter preparation or who are seeking a career change and have to work. These programs are structured so that the student teaches during the day (and gets paid for teaching) while taking classes at night, during weekends, or during school breaks. The intern program is one type of alternative certification program. You can find this type of program in the Find the Right Preparation Program area of our Web site.

What is an intern program?

An internship program provides participants with classroom experience while they are completing requirements for the California preliminary or professional clear credential. There are two types of intern programs: district/county office of education and university. The ability to demonstrate subject matter competency is required of both program types. One special feature of intern programs is teaching employment during the internship.