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High School Teacher Requirements

To teach a specialized subject in most public middle schools and high schools, you must have a single subject teaching credential in that subject area.

This credential is a two-tiered system. First, you receive a "preliminary credential" which is good for five years. Then, take additional courses and complete a fifth year of study (which is met through your credential or teacher preparation program) to obtain a "professional clear credential." A clear credential is renewable every five years.

Requirements for a Preliminary Credential:

  • Obtain a Bachelor's Degree or higher from any regionally accredited university.
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Assessment Educational Skills Test) http://www.cbest.nesinc.com/.
  • Prove subject matter competence. This can be done by passing the CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) http://www.cset.nesinc.com/ in your subject area. As of January 2003, the CSET is being phased in to replace the SSAT/Praxis exams. Check to see which exam is right for you.
  • Finish an official teacher preparation or credential program that includes student teaching.
  • Complete an English Language Skills / reading instruction course.
  • U.S. Constitution requirement (this can be met with college courses or an examination; check with the University you are applying to).
  • If you have completed your CBEST and CSET, some universities offer special internship options. Internships typically allow you to teach while earning your credential. Call your university to see if they provide internship opportunities.

Requirements for a Professional Clear Credential:

  • Finish your fifth year of study (completing a teacher preparation or credential program will satisfy this requirement).
  • Finish approved courses in Special Education, Computer Education, and Health Education.

We do our best to provide you with the most up-to-date information on teaching credentials; however, requirements are constantly changing. For the most recent information available regarding possible changes to the credentialing process visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/default.html

Special thanks to TEACH California (formerly CalTeach), which provided much of this information.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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