Teaching in California
Learn About Becoming a Teacher in California
Whether you’d like to work in sunny San Diego, the Bay Area, a small town or more rural community, California offers teaching opportunities in a variety of settings.
Its large Hispanic population, especially in the south, offers jobs so that bilingual teachers can flourish.
Here’s what you’ll need to know about teaching in the state of California.
Why Become a Teacher in California?
While California’s standardized tests show a need for improvement in most areas, their 8th grade algebra test scores top the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s charts.
California teachers also get to contribute to the state’s successful college entrance rate, aided by its well-known offering of affordable in-state college programs.
Some potential teachers are wary of seeking employment in California because of well-known budget cuts and the proliferation of springtime pink slips, a mandated warning from school districts that signals many full-time teachers throughout the state that their job may be in jeopardy in the fall.
Elementary School Teacher Salaries
There are many opportunities for teachers to find good-paying, satisfying jobs once you get your California teaching credentials.
Teachers are well-paid in California, and they work in cities large and small, and in rural communities across the state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, secondary school teachers in California make a median salary of $75,060, making it the third highest paying state in the country.
If you’d like to share your passion and contribute to the success of kids of every age, teaching might be a great career choice.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Shortage Areas for California
Los Angeles teachers benefit from an opportunity to improve the lives of students in a crowded, underfunded district. While this brings challenges of its own, it also provides new teachers with an opportunity to get teaching experience and improve their teaching skills in entry-level teaching positions.
If you already have a California teaching credential and are looking for a teaching job in California, pursuing teaching positions within the city of Los Angeles is a good way to start.
However, if Los Angeles County isn’t your ideal location, rest assured that many parts of California continue to face teacher shortages in special education, reading, foreign languages, science and math. Pursuing endorsements in these subjects can help you land the California teacher job you’re after.
Teaching Credential Information
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) offers two licenses to become a teacher in California:
- A preliminary credential is valid for up to five years with a bachelor’s degree and successful completion of a number of courses and tests.
- The “professional clear” credential is available if you have completed an approved teacher training program or a fifth year master’s program, or by becoming a National Board Certified teacher.
Remember that while all California teacher credentials have similar basic requirements, some specialties require additional education or experience, so be sure to research the specific requirements for the teaching degree that interests you by contacting the California Department of Education.
Steps to Getting your California Teaching Credential
- Earn a bachelor’s degree from a university or college accredited in the state of California.
- Begin a teacher preparation program approved by the CCTC.
- Get classroom teaching experience. All California teacher prep programs include at least one semester of student teaching.
- Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST).
- Complete a U.S. Constitution Course or Exam.
- Pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). The CSET consists of five tests. You can take the single subject or multiple-subject exams depending on the certification you are working toward.
- Apply for your California teaching credential.
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