Find the Right Preparation Program in Three Steps
Teacher candidates are required to demonstrate competence in the subject matter they will be authorized to teach before beginning student teaching. There are two options to meet this requirement:
- The Commission-approved undergraduate subject matter programs are offered through institutions of higher education.
- The subject matter examinations are administered through a private contractor.
Completing an approved subject matter program that satisfies the standards helps a candidate to efficiently qualify for a credential at the baccalaureate level. Be cautious. Not all baccalaureate degree programs fulfill the Commission's standards for subject matter preparation. (New changes effective: April 1, 2017, for elementary and special education credentials).
Step Two: Think about all the factors impacting the decision — California specific
Selecting the right teacher preparation program for you is critical. Spend time in analyzing all the relevant information. Your research can save you time and money.
Range of Teacher Preparation Program Options
If you are a high school student, consider enrolling in a Commission-approved blended or integrated baccalaureate program.
Look for local dual enrollment programs between your high school and local community college.
Complete lower-division, pre-requisites courses at your local California Community College (CCC). Some CCC's have a
Teacher Preparation Pipeline Project that specialize in assisting
Career Technical Education (CTE), science, math and bilingual teacher candidates. These programs also help with K-12
credentials and Early Childhood Education permits. Talk to your academic advisor in advance about transferring credits
to the baccalaureate program of your choice.
Not all colleges and universities offer all the types of teaching credentialing programs.
Be efficient. Consider enrolling in a Commission-approved subject matter program while you obtain your baccalaureate degree.
Consider an Intern program (alternative route) for the type of credential you want. If you need to make money while becoming
a teacher, already have your baccalaureate degree, can handle the pressure of being a student, and teaching at the same time,
The California Teacher Corp provides information on alternative
certification programs and resources.
Obtain credit if you have experience teaching. Talk to the academic advisor of the teacher preparation program you choose.
If you have no teaching experience and a college degree, you might want to enroll in a traditional program (Post-baccalaureate program).
Start at a California Community College; completing pre-requisites and
obtain an AA-T degree that can transfer to a CSU campus. This current cost CCC is $49 per credit unit.
Tuition and fees differ greatly, even for campuses within the same education system (California State University or University of California).
Although the tuition for private colleges/universities is higher than state-supported universities, private colleges
sometimes offer bigger scholarships that can offset the cost and offer the required courses on a faster schedule.
Online teacher preparation programs approved by CTC may be a good option to keep costs down. There are no programs that are
totally online since there is a student teaching component that must be supervised by a fully credentialed teacher.
- Utilize tools from the U. S. Department of Education:
Any of the 113 California Community Colleges could be a good place to complete the lower division, first two years, of the required coursework.
Talk to your academic advisor.
Many teacher preparation programs offer some of their courses online, potentially reducing the number of times you have to go to campus for class.
Time Classes Are Offered
Are you going to have to work while you take classes, or do you have family responsibilities that will limit the time you are available to
attend class? Many teacher preparation programs offer some of their courses online or during the evening, which might make it easier
for you to enroll in their program
- Intern programs (alternative route) offer classes at night, on the weekend, online, and during teaching breaks.
Length of Program
Blended or Integrated program starts in the undergraduate years and can extend beyond the traditional 4 years of coursework because
they include student teaching
- A shorter program will probably be less costly, but the pace of the courses will probably be a lot faster. Also, not all colleges and universities offer all the types of credential programs.