California’s credential system is made up of a number of different tiers and subject requirements. You can choose between multiple subject credentials, single subject, special education, and vocational education. For each, there are different requirements and levels. Basic requirements include a bachelor’s degree or higher, a teacher preparation program, and a basic skills requirement.

When applying for certification in California, you must first determine whether you’d like to pursue a Multiple Subject credential for the elementary level, a Single Subject for secondary and middle school, or a more specialized credential that allows for special education or vocational education. California-educated teachers will be required to receive a recommendation from a California college or university. If you are an out of state teacher that’s graduated from an approved program, you’ll be issued a non-renewable, one year Teaching Credential until you take the California Basic Educational Skills Test, after which you’ll be issued a Preliminary Teaching Credential good for two years. Credentials can also be earned through Peace Corp experience, internships, or experience in private schools.

California is a very large state with a host of educational needs, so it should be fairly easy to find a teaching job in an area you’d like to work in. Specifically, there are shortages in urban areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, San José and San Francisco and in rural areas, and subjects like math, science, special education, and bilingual education. The Los Angeles Unified School District is easily the largest in the state, and only second to New York’s public school system for the largest in the US. You can visit EDJOIN and find thousands of job openings for teachers and beyond. TEACH California offers a great deal of helpful information for researching salaries, academic performance, and more.

Preliminary Teaching Credentials in California are good for two years, and can be extended by performing specific educational tasks. In the first renewal, you’ll be required to pass competency in the teaching of the US Constitution, reading, and subject matter. For an additional two years, completion of health education, special education, and computer education will be required. Once that has been completed, you’ll be issued a Professional Clear Credential.

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