Guide to Becoming a Teacher in California
If you’re interested in pursuing a teaching career in California, ToBecomeATeacher.org is here to help. This page outlines the key steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal and obtain a teaching position in California, which is currently one of the top U.S. states in terms of compensation (the state’s teachers generally make much more than they do in other U.S. states) and hiring (California employs more educators than any other U.S. state).
1. Choosing a Program: First, select a teaching program that is right for your budget and career goals.
- Finding an appropriate program is critical. To get started, ask yourself the following questions: What is important to you as a student? Are you concerned about the amount of debt you might incur completing an education program? Are there alternatives (e.g., ways to work while gaining the required credentials to teach in California)? Do the program’s graduation or job placement rates matter to you? Are you concerned about the program’s reputation outside the state? All of these are critical questions to ask when selecting a program.
2. Planning for Licensure in California: In California, you will need a minimum of a bachelor degree and in most cases, a post-graduate degree in education. You will also need to write and pass applicable certification exams.
3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and passed the state’s applicable exams, you can begin searching for a job.
- There are thousands of teaching positions in California, so it is important to have a clear sense of where you hope to teach and in what type of school. Are you interested in working in a rural or urban context? Are you interested in working in a high-needs school? Are you a bilingual English/Spanish speaker? If so, would you be interested in teaching in one of the state’s many dual language schools? As you consider your options and narrow your search, it is essential that you also remain current in the field. To this end, you should keep developing your resume, expanding your education by completing professional development courses for teachers, and gaining additional teaching experience (e.g., working as a substitute or temporary teacher).
Choosing an Education Program in California
ToBecomeATeacher.org understands that choosing an education program is never easy and no where is this more apparent than in California where there are a wide range of accredited education programs to choose from at top-ranked state universities and private colleges. To make this task easier, we have streamlined the process. Using a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in California for 2015. Our testing criteria reflect your needs. Our team has analyzed total expense, student to faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, return on investment and much more.
Every school ToBecomeATeacher.org lists below is committed to the pursuit of excellence and has shown exemplary dedication to quality of the highest caliber. These programs comprise California’s best. Find out which ones stand above the rest by reviewing the information posted below.
The following schools are home to some of the California’s top-ranked education programs. Taking selectivity, student-to-faculty ratio, costs and expenses, and return on investment (ROI) into account, ToBecomeATeacher.org has ranked each program with your top priorities in mind.
California State University-Long Beach
California State University-Fullerton
California State University-Fresno
California State University-Dominguez Hills
San Diego State University
California State University-Channel Islands
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
San Francisco State University
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
California State University-Northridge
|#||Name||Expense Score||Acceptance Rate Score||Graduation Rate Score||ROI/Value Score||Student to Faculty Score|
|1||California State University-Long Beach||9.6||8.4||6.65||9.6||2.3|
|2||California State University-Fullerton||9.8||6.9||5.95||9.8||0.92|
|3||California State University-Fresno||9.4||5.6||5.49||9.4||2.3|
|4||California State University-Dominguez Hills||10||5.7||3.23||10||2.1|
|4||San Diego State University||7.7||8.3||7.51||7.7||0.71|
|6||California State University-Channel Islands||8.6||5||5.83||8.6||4.1|
|6||California State Polytechnic University-Pomona||9||6.2||5.86||9||0.1|
|8||San Francisco State University||8.8||5.1||5.26||8.8||2.3|
|9||California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo||6||8.3||8.05||6||3.5|
|10||California State University-Northridge||8.2||6.8||5.32||8.2||0.92|
Ranking Factors Explained
Our ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.
How to Become a Teacher in California
There are many pathways to becoming a teacher in California. Below, we outline the most popular but by no means the only ways to obtain the credentials required to teach in the State of California:
- Pathway 1: For aspiring elementary school teachers, the most popular pathway is to complete a bachelor’s degree and a multiple subject teacher credetialization program in one of California’s many approved education programs. Elementary teachers must also complete the California Basic Educational Skills Test and the appropriate California Subject Examinations for Teachers test.
- Pathway 2: For aspiring high school teachers, it is first necessary to complete at least a bachelor’s degree in the subject that you wish to teach. If you satisfy the state’s basic skills requirements, you can then enroll in an state-approved education program leading to licensure. Before you can obtain a teaching license, you will also need to pass all applicable exams.
- Pathway 3: California also offers alternative pathways to licensure for candidates with experience teaching in independent schools and for candidates who have gained teaching experience through the Peace Corps. For details, visit the state’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the State of California?
Jobs for elementary teachers are expected to experience a 13.4 percent increase between 2012 and 2022. While the growth rate is considered average when compared to all jobs across the U.S., since California is among the nation’s most populous states, this 13.4 percent rate of growth for elementary teachers translates into an estimated 18,700 new jobs and over 30,000 additional jobs when retirements are taken into account. Jobs for middle school teachers will also experience a 13.4 percent rate of growth over the coming decade. While jobs for high school teachers are only projected to increase by 6.5 percent, due to retirements, an additional 24,000 jobs are still expected to open up for California high school teachers between now and 2022.
What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in California?
- The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is the a key resource for teachers with questions about initial licensure and license renewal.
- California teachers are represented by two large and powerful teacher unions—the California Teachers Association, which represents over 300,000 educators, and the California Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 120,000 educators across the state.
- For job applicants, the California Department of Education provides links to several career resources for teachers currently in the job market in California.
- Finally, California is home to many organizations that support the work of teachers in specific subjects; subject-specific organizations include the California Association of Teachers of English, California School Library Association, and the California Mathematics Project.
What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of California?
California State University at Fullerton offers a master of science in education leading to licensure at the secondary level through an online and hybrid format that combines online courses with on-site courses. At the University of Southern California students can pursue a master of arts in teaching leading to licensure at the elementary or secondary levels. Another popular and highly flexible option is the CalState Teach Program, which helps aspiring teachers, as well as teachers pursing alternative pathways, such as an internship or Peace Corps option, gain the course work they need to become fully-certified teachers in California.