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Community College Student Planning a Special Education School Teaching Career

If you are planning a career as a special education teacher, there are many things you should be doing right now. You need to plan what you will need after transferring to a 4-year college. Almost all California Community Colleges offer Teacher Education and Early Childhood Education programs. Some may be transferable as part of a liberal studies or blended program. Contact your local community college to see what specific courses they offer.
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Community College 4-Year College Teacher Prep  
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Participate in a teacher recruitment program at your community college.
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Gain experience and learn what teaching is like by volunteering in classrooms for different grades, tutoring, or mentoring students. Check out service learning activities. Volunteer with local education foundations.
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Research and plan to take teacher preparation-related courses that are transferable to the 4-year or teacher preparation program you plan to complete.
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Complete a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
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Satisfy one of the following requirements for subject-matter competence:
Provide verification of subject-matter competence by either passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).
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Complete a Commission-approved single subject-matter program or its equivalent and obtain certification of completion from the authorized person in the education department of a California college or university with an approved program in the subject area.
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Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA).
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Complete a course or pass an examination on the U.S. Constitution.
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Complete a Commission-approved Education Specialist Credential ProgramIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site in an education specialist category resulting in formal recommendation by the Commission-approved program sponsor.
     
Note: Verification of RICA and subject-matter competence are not required for the area of Early Childhood Special Education, nor is it required of individuals who hold a valid California Clear, Life or Clear teaching credential based upon possession of a bachelor's degree and completion of a professional preparation program, including student teaching.

Browse the Special Education Credential Requirements for details and resources.
The following answers paraeducators' questions about becoming credentialed special education teachers:

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