Getting a Teaching Credential

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi!

    Archives show some similar questions but they are 15 years old. 

    In short: how do my husband and I get our NYC teaching licenses transferred over to CA? 

    Background: We both NYC certified teachers, w/ M.Ed. degrees. My husband was certified 6-12, but only taught High School full time (middle school just for fieldwork during the masters program). I was certified in Early Childhood Education, ages 0-7, and taught preschool full time. I spent some time on but became really overwhelmed and confused.  I think maybe the certification ages are different in CA? Would I need to get Elementary certification, which isn't what I had in NYC? I don't want just the Early Childhood Permit as then I can't teach in public schools. If anyone can offer any guidance we would greatly appreciate it! 

    Credentials often don't exactly match from state to state. I think you'll probably go for the multiple subjects credential and your husband the single subjects credential in whatever area he teaches. Go here for transferring an out of state credential:  If you're still not sure, contact the Commission on Teacher Credentialing directly at credentials [at] for the most accurate answer. I had a special ed credential from out of state, so my process wasn't exactly the same, but getting the initial credential was pretty simple, but there were classes I had to take/tests to pass that were CA specific before I could renew it.

    I can only speak to middle/high school certification, but I transferred my NYC teaching certification to CA a year or so ago and the process was relatively straightforward, provided you have all the paperwork. If you don't, they contact you and you have a certain amount of time to correct your application. I had a secondary, single-subject credential in NYC and that was what transferred over and probably what your husband has. It can seem overwhelming, but the two states have reciprocity and so it was pretty seamless. You do need a lot of documentation from New York--formal observations, etc., but I called the NYC DOE (intimidating all by itself) and they had my file, which was helpful, and sent some information. Once you open an account with the Cal site you can log in at any time and get a status update with your account. It can take a while for your application to process, however they announce the application dates they are currently processing, so that's nice. I do not have permanent certification in California--I have to get additional certification in teaching English as a second language--but I have my preliminary certification, which is a start. I believe it is good for five years. 

    Hi There!

    I moved from NY to CA in 2007 and transferred my MSEd dual certification (Infancy-6th grade) by going through the CTC. I was able to get my preliminary multiple-subject teaching credential (good for 5 years) after taking the CBEST. I also got my Child Care Director permit at the same time. It's possible that things have changed since then, but maybe not! More information here:

    Expect it to take a long time! (Note: Schools *may* accept you as a substitute if you're able to show that you've submitted your application to the CTC and demonstrate that you've passed the CBEST.) Best of luck!

    P.S. I'm not sure about the high school route... 

  • Passing the RICA

    (2 replies)

    Hi - I'm looking for recommendations for classes or tutors to help pass the RICA. I'm dyslexic and am a student teacher in a special ed classroom, and have completed all the coursework and passed all other standardized tests needed for a teaching credential, but have not yet passed this test and have now taken it three times.Any helpful suggestions would be most appreciated.  Thank you in advance.

    Do you think extra time would help? You could get testing to show the impact of dyslexia on your performance and qualify for extra time or a different format that would enable you to work to your ability. Please feel free to message me for details if you would like to learn more.

    Hi,  I sympathize with your struggles with the RICA. It can be an overwhelming test to study for. I'm mildly dyslexic and found reading all the test prep material to be very overwhelming. I ended up finding a video series on youtube that talked through the study material. Hearing someone explain it made all the difference for me. I used the series of videos here: 

    I also second looking to see if you qualify for extra test time. Best of luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Best place to get credentialed?

March 2013

hello, I am currently graduating this coming spring and considering in become a teacher in the near future, yet have not decided what age group I would like to work with. With that said, what are the best universities to receive my teaching credential and masters here in the Bay Area?? or universities anywhere in California? Thank you for your time

In terms of reputations of local teaching programs, St. Mary's probably comes in highest, followed by CAL, then Cal State East Bay. For me, the choice depended on being able to generate an income while getting my credential. Cal State East Bay worked best for me. They have/had a pipeline program in concert with local school districts. The program takes about 1 1/2 years to your preliminary credential if you can take classes straight through. I took the summer classes and then was given a classroom at a local high school (generally West Contra Costa Unified or Oakland). It was a little scary, but if you can control the class (big if), you will manage fine. Classroom management is 90% of the battle. I took two classes per semester in the evenings. Generally, I had the two classes following each other on two weeknights. Focus is on group projects and presentations. The most useful class was on Classroom Management.

Generally, you choose elementary or middle/upper school fairly close to the start of the program. If you want to get your feet wet first, apply to WCCUSD as a substitute teacher. I subbed from 6 months, from K through 12 to find which groups I enjoyed most. If you survive that experience, you can survive your own classroom. Other districts may require a credential before you can sub (such as BUSD). The hottest fields to get jobs in are Special Ed., Math, and Science. Being bilingual is a big plus. Best of luck! We need good teachers! Former Science Teacher

Out-of-state credential, moving to California

Feb 2011

I recently moved to California from out of state. When I moved I contacted the state to have my multi-subject, elementary teaching lisnced moved over here. So I was issued a ''Preliminary Multi-Subject Teaching Credential.'' I would like to start looking for a job for next year, but I have a few questions that I am not sure who to ask, since I have no teacher education community here like I had in my old state. Is it likely to be a problem that this is a ''Preliminary'' credential. I had only been teaching about 1 year before I moved, so I think this has affected my credential here. It said I need to do three things to get a clear license. 1. A Commission- approved Induction Program - What is this and how do I do it? Do I need a job first? Can I get a job without this done? 2. My Basic Skills Test - Done! Yeah! 3. California English Learner Authorization - I understand that I need to take a class or pass a test for this. Most job postings seem to indicate I need this before I apply. I guess most teacher prep programs include the necessary classes, but it was not required in my old state. Is it possible to study and pass the test without any classes?(I don't want to spend a lot of money on classes when I am not employed!) If so, do you have any advice on what I can read or review to help me out. What is this test like? Finally, what happens after I get these things cleared? How long is my credential good for? Do I need to do ongoing prof. development? All of these questions were answered for me in my teacher prep program in my old state, and I could use any information you think might be helpful as I try to figure this out here and try to get ready to find a job! Thanks! Want to Teach Again!

Hi & Welcome to California! I'm not a teacher but work in HR as a Credential Analyst at Tracy Unified assisting teachers with their credentials.

Holding a Prelim is not a problem

1) A Commission-Approved Induction Program is a requirement that must be completed while holding a permanent position with a school district. A substitute position will not meet the requirements. At our District it is a 2 year program for ''Beginning Teachers'' at no cost to the teacher and a recommendation for your Clear credential is made to CCTC when completed.

2)Basic Skills Test - Good Job!!

3)California English Learner Authorization (ELA)- At our District ELA is a mandatory requirement and we do not hire a teacher without one as all our classrooms have at least one English Language Learner. You can do coursework through a Commission-approved program or you can take a test. The test is administered through NESINC It has been my experience that without some type of prep course the CTEL(ELA)exam is a bit difficult to pass. You may check with your County Office of Education to see if there are any free workshops or study material. I may have some study material for the test. If you want to send me your email I can forward what I have.

Once you've met the requirements the Induction program will recommend you for your Clear credential. A Clear credenial is valid for 5 years and renewable online with an application and fee of $57.00 to the CCTC. At this time Professional Development is no longer a requirment.

It's all a little overwhelming...It took me years to figure it out and then the CCTC changed the rules . You can access the CCTC website at Susie

I don't think you'll have too much trouble finding a teaching job in CA with a preliminary credential. You might want to think about the districts you'd most like to teach in and contact their HR departments with your questions. They can give you specifics about fulfilling the requirements locally. Good luck! OUSD Teacher

Best bachelor degrees for becoming a teacher

April 2010

Hello all--My daughter is a sophomore at UC Santa Cruz and is interested in becoming a teacher. She has worked or volunteered with children at places like YMCA's Camp Jones Gulch and Silver Tree for years and seems to have a talent for working with children. However, UCSC has no BA in Education, just a minor (which she is doing, along with a Dance minor). What are the best major options if you want to teach at the elementary school level? We're familiar with the certification process once she graduates...but what should she graduate in? It's a mess at UCSC due to budget cuts and she has had very little guidance. Psychology was so impacted she's only gotten into one class. Community Studies is frozen right now. She is a graduate of Buena Vista and James Lick's Spanish immersion programs and is fluent in Spanish, so she could do Language Studies fairly easily. Perhaps Sociology? Any ideas? I realize she could do the Education Master's degree next to kind of seal the deal, but even so, surely some bachelor degrees would be better received by schools than others? Where have all the guidance counselors gone?

I am a teacher in my third year of teaching. My main advice is for her to think about what subjects she wants to teach. If she ever gets a single subject credential she can add authorizations to teach additional subjects by having 20 units in that subject. For example, her dance major may allow her to get a PE authorization.

While a minor in education may make her seem like a better applicant to a masters program, a minor in something else might open up teaching options. A language, math, science, even English, will give her more options. All that said, many credentials can also be added by taking the subject area CSET.

Many life long teachers I know end up having multiple credentials. It allows you flexibility, an interesting change, and makes more jobs available to you (which is great in hard economic times). Depending on how competative a Masters program she wants to get into is a good indicator of what she needs to major in. Stanford, for example, has a great program, but UCEast Bay has a decent program too. I may be wrong, but I have never heard a teacher talk about getting a better job because of where they had a masters degree from. Most public school teachers I know do it for the increased salary.

Also, the credential programs at most UCs will answer questions via email about the programs and requirements. I'm sure priate schools would also answer questions about the best majors for their programs. New teacher

Science! She will stand out in the market for having knowledge and skills in an area very few elementary school teachers have. And she will be one of the few elementary school teachers that can offer a real knowledge base when teaching young kids how the physical world they live in actually works. Our society is suffering because so few people understand basic science. And the elementary schools aren't helping much because the teachers don't know basic science. Your daughter can help the next generation do better. Scientist for science education

Unless times have changed, a Liberal Arts degree is the typical degree for elementary school teaching. The broad base of classes help prepare the teacher-to-be for the Multiple Subject teaching credential. She can also get a subject area degree (English, Math, etc.) if she thinks she might be interested in middle school. Whatever her degree, she will need to complete 18 units in each of the major subject areas--English, Math, History, and Arts or pass an exam. This is why most go for the Liberal Arts degree.

Her school will have an Education Department and/or a Credential Department. Even though she isn't to that point yet, they are usually good people to see for advice on the BA as well. They can also help her with her required pre-professional teaching experiences. educator

It doesn't really matter. I would suggest she choose the BA that she loves the most, enjoys learning about, and has the most passion for. The burnout rate for teachers is high so if she chooses the one that interests her the most and later decides to pursue another profession she is set up for success. torie Henderson torieHenderson [at]

It doesn't really matter. I would suggest she choose the BA that she loves the most, enjoys learning about, and has the most passion for. The burnout rate for teachers is high so if she chooses the one that interests her the most and later decides to pursue another profession she is set up for success. torie

In California there is no Education major. The state wants teachers to have a well-rounded education first and then build on that to learn the art and science of teaching. So, your daughter can major in anything that she loves. An elementary school teacher needs to teach almost everything so she'll be able to share her love of her major with her students no matter what it is.

There is a requirement that she has taken courses in something that discusses the Constitution and also courses that address cultural and linguistic diversity. Whatever she majors in, she should take classes that meet these requirements. It will make her life easier when she applies to credential programs. UCSC has a list of courses that meet these requirements here:

Also note that every state has it's own requirements and sometimes they are VERY different. Several years ago New York and California were the ''hardest'' to get. I'm not sure if that's still the case but it was easier to transfer out of California than into it so she might want to consider where she thinks she'll end up. Yeah for more teachers!

Last week I listened to KQED forum and the guest was Diane Ravtich, an Education historian from NYU (I think). She said that teachers, should have a BA in a specific academic field so that they are experts in their subject area. For elementary teachers, she suggested having expertise in two subject areas, for example, English and Art. The fact that your daughter is bilingual and speaks Spanish is a great advantage. I think that a specialty in one of the core academic subjects would help, particularly English or Math. anon

Your daughter can go into a teaching program from most majors. What is she most interested in? Is she more interested in being an elementary school teacher or a secondary school teacher. The tests are quite different that she needs to pass for her credential. Call Cal State East Bay which churns out most of the area teachers and talk with someone in the Ed. program. My favorite guy there is Dr. Stronck. I would also be happy to speak with her. I was a teacher for 13 years in the area (recently changed careers). I have helped several friends to enter the teaching profession by talking over what they would enjoy most and do best. kathryn

It's been awhile since I received my credential, but the best major would be one in general education or liberal arts, since an elementary school classroom is a multiple subject classroom - meaning the teacher teaches all the disciplines. If she doesn't have a degree in general education I believe she will have to take a fairly intimidating test. When I received my degree it was called the MSAT. There should be an education department at her university, and she should ask someone in that department for guidance. It extremely difficult to become a credentialed teacher today. Finally, I would say if her heart is in Dance, she should pursue that major, and worry about the credentialing process after her B.A.

Universities don't really have ''guidance counselors'', but the kind of advice it sounds like your kid needs/wants should be coming from the UCSC education undergraduate adviser or a UCSC career center adviser.

Personally, I would make an appointment with the undergraduate education adviser. From the info at , it looks like she should email education [at] to make an appt. There are drop-in times listed, but those are typically for class selection advising, rather than the 4-6 year school planning. alison

What subject matter does your daughter want to teach? History? Math? Dance? what age group? Early childhood development? Sounds like she has a lot on the ball, congratulations. I'd say pursue the subject matter.

The state of California does not want people to major in education if they are becoming teachers beacuse they want you to actually know a subject, that is why there is no BA available. Some CSUs have a major called Liberal Studies that aspiring elementary teachers take, but it is not necessary. My advice is for your daughter to major in a subject that interests her. Becoming bilingual in Spanish will definitely benefit her if she teaches in California.

To prepare for a multiple subject teaching credential in addition to her major she will need to take classes in a variety of ''regular'' subjects (English, History, etc.) Most will satisfy her GE requirements for graduation. If she needs guidance she should talk to the teacher credential program people in the Ed. Department at UCSC. If she does not take the ''right'' variety of classes there is a test that will satisfy the requirement. The test information should be easy to get from the Ed Department. Also, UCSC is the sponsor of The New Teacher Center which is on the forefront of a lot of the work being done on best practices in teaching... she might want to contact them for advice. Mentor Teacher and UCSC Alumna

just wanted to clarify one of the responses that I think is outdated. All multiple subject candidates must pass the CBEST and Multiple Subjects CSET. The poster said that the tests were intimidating. I would suggest you take a look at the released test questions for both tests and see that for most college educated adequate test takers they are not that difficult. They can be taken an unlimited number of times, and you only have to retake the part you did not pass.

In addition, if she does not meet the constitution requirement through classwork, you can take a fairly simple exam as well. I do think taking a course is a good idea though. teacher

Where would you get your teaching credential?

April 2009

I want to become a teacher. I would love to teach middle school, but I want to earn my multiple subject credential first. And surprisingly, I WANT to teach in Oakland in a Title 1 school.

I have been to orientations for Cal State East Bay and Holy Names College. They both have up and down sides. I have tried to get a hold of the people at Mills without the openness of the other two schools.

So, for those teachers out there, if you had to earn your credential all over again where would you attend and why? What would you look for in a program? What would you look for in a school where you wanted to teach? And, finally for those of you who still LOVE teaching, how did you get over the ''humps'' of dissatisfaction that are inevitable to get back to the love of teaching?

If you teach in Oakland what do you love? And finally, for those outside Oakland Unified what do you love about the district, school and students you teach? Looking forward to my life long journey

In short, I would say that where you get your credential is not as important as where you end up teaching. It is nice to go somewhere that grants both a credential and MA in the same program. Not knowing your financial situation, I do know many people who regret paying big bucks for private school credential programs.

I have most enjoyed teaching in schools where creativity is valued (this does not happen as much, in my experience, at Program Improvement schools--but not all Title 1 schools are in PI), where the principal is fair, smart, and likes kids and teachers, where colleagues collaborate, where there is a clear discipline program, and where staff morale is fairly high.

Getting over the ''humps'' is a toughie, honestly. Right now is a hard time to be a teacher due to the budget crisis. It's hard to put in hours creating a wonderful program for kids only to be pink-slipped year after year. I would say that if you find a middle school in OUSD that works for you, great. If not, then try another school or district. Finding a good match is key to enjoying the profession. And I think the first 5 years should be all about staying in teaching. It is a really demanding job. Good luck! anon

I know that UC Berkeley Extension has good teaching credential options. Their website Yeah for teachers!

I spent 15 years as a stay at home Mom and then got a Multiple subjects teaching credential at Mills College. I now work at a Title 1 school in East Oakland. I loved the program at Mills--it's very much about equity for students, about respecting the students that you teach and where they come from, learning as much from them as you can, and adapting your teaching to your students' needs and backgrounds. It places a great deal of emphasis on reflection. After one year and two assignments as a student teacher, I feel that I was as prepared as I could have been for having my own classroom. Still, that first year of teaching was the hardest thing I ever did (next to raising teenagers!); the second year was better; the third year was when I started to feel like I knew what I was doing!

What do I like about my school? I have a very supportive principal who actively seeks input from the staff and works harder than anybody; I work with great people, which is vital since the school supports and encourages collaboration amongst the staff, giving us time in grade level teams and cross-grade level teams for planning throughout the year. Most of the families of my students are very appreciative and respectful of teachers. My school is given flexibility with regard to how we teach and implement curriculum, so that we do not have to follow a script.

No, it's not a highly paid profession. But every day is something new and I get to spend my time with really sweet kids. And you get 2 months to recharge over the summer. Feel free to write me if you would like to know more. Emily

You should look for a program at a university that is partnered with a school district, that way you won't have to find your own student teaching assignment. You should also consider a year long program over a 2 year long one. You just take more classes the first 2 quarters, then student teach most of the remainder of the program.(why stretch it out over 2 years when you don't have to?) The classes you take will be the same at any university (and some of them are a joke), what is important is your student teaching or intern assignment. That's where you really learn to teach- by watching others.

I don't teach in Oakland, but I do teach in an very socioeconomically diverse district. Teaching is very political but if you can find a school that values you as a professional, values collaboration among colleagues, has a strong union and a competent administration then you have a good chance of enjoying your job. The kids will be wonderful wherever you go- they are all the same really, it's the parents and everyone else that can be trying at times. Some need more attention in certain ways (like feeding them breakfast, calling them at home so they will return their library book, or just telling them you are proud of them) or if you are in a district like where I live and my children go (Lafayette- NOT where I teach)- the kids won't need the same kind of attention-but need attention just the same. Anyway- what I love about my job is how it is dynamic, yet constant. Every year I get a new class of youngsters to mold, yet every year it stays the same- I teach the same grade, same room, mostly the same curriculum, usually teach with the same people, etc. You get the idea. Year after year I see little happy 7 year olds grow into bigger, happy 8 year olds- with the same joys, fears, and wonders as all the other 7 and 8 year olds all the years before them. Yet they are each unique and different. I also love that I get to be creative and feel that I'm changing the world in some small way, by showing my students how to be good people. good luck to you! Be one of the many, many good teachers out there (I'm so tired of people thinking America is full of bad teachers, I don't know any and I've been teaching for 10 years!) changing the world

As a teacher, and friend of many teachers, and partner of a professor in a Teacher Ed program, I can promise you that it really doesn't matter where you get credentialed. I went far away to what has been called the best ''urban teaching credential program'' and is ranked #2 by all those College reports (UCLA), and nothing that I learned in my ''social justice,'' ''urban ed,'' focused on retaining teachers at title 1 schools'' $$$ education, helped me be a great teacher. All of it I learned from being in the classroom and working with a SUPPORTIVE staff and administration.

If you are looking to get credentialed first, I say go to the cheapest program out there. This should be CSUEB or SFSU. DO NOT waste your money in an expensive credentialing program! You won't make enough money after you are finished to pay it back in a timely fashion, and it's that is not worth the stress.

What you will hear about public credential programs is ALL TRUE. they suck, they aren't supportive, they are a waste of time. But they are apart of the bureaucracy you must endure to get licensed. But don't trip off that. Not worth your time. Work on making friends in your program that want to do what you want to do, that you can lesson plan with and vent to, and that are POSITIVE. It is so easy to get wrapped up in negativity as a teacher, because the system is so messed up. We know that, we can talk about that forever and ever, but make some friends that are ready to be proactive in changing it! Not talking about all that isn't working.

Figure out what population you want to work with, i.e. Spanish speakers, low income, etc... Go to and look at the demographics, size, test scores, computers, etc for various Oakland schools. And when you are student teaching/observing ask the teachers whether they feel supported at their school. If you get a lot of ''yes'' tell the Principal early that you are interested in working there. If you get a lot of ''no,'' run far far away. Best of luck to you! ashley

I was able to work on a dual credential, one single subject and a multiple subject credential at Mills College (many years ago). I ended up staying at the elementary level because this is such a critical stage of development. Given the pressure on schools and the pressure to teach to the test, I urge you to do interviews with teachers to be sure this is what you want to do. Also, think about expertise that you can develop that would give you an edge in this job market such as math, a language, special education. I wanted to work in Oakland, my community, but the district was so dysfunctional it didn't call me for an interview until midyear after I already had a job in another district. anonymous

if money is a concern, absolutely go with the CSUs. I got my credential from CSU sacramento and the only difference between me and my coworkers who went to holy names or mills is that they have a LOT more debt than I do. you don't make the money back very quickly in teaching. teacher

Since you want to work in Oakland, do your credential with whichever program in linked up to the Oakland Internship program. I think it is CSU. In any case, CSUEB or SF State are perfect for the credential. It is not worth it to pay a lot of money for your credential. anon

I attended CSU East Bay for my teaching credential program and absolutely loved it! I am now a middle school teacher, as well. I was in a single subject cohort but took a few additional classes so that I could earn my multiple subject as well. CSUEB was organized and the classes were well thought out. The schedule allowed us to easily work or student teach, our advisors were supportive, and it is much less expensive than a private school. Overall, I would recommend their program. I'm not sure what subject/subjects you are interested in teaching but you might want to consider earning your single subject if you are interested in middle school. In middle school only ''cored'' subjects can have a multiple subject credential (ex. you teach a sixth grade English/social studies core class where you have the same students for both periods). If you were to teach just English, you would need a single subject credential in English.

As for looking for a teaching position, I would look for a school where the staff is closely knit (or at least the staff in your potential department) and who believe in and practice collaboration. Having an experienced staff member to help you plan lessons or give you project ideas is absolutely invaluable --and you will contribute to the relationship too, helping to improve or modify lessons and presenting new ideas on how to teach a topic. The key is a staff who is willing to work together, not just in the same building. Good luck! Happy Teacher

Streamlined credential process for Science Teachers?

March 2009

Hi there! My husband, who has a masters in Science as well as an MBA and many years experience working in Biotech is thinking of becoming a Science teacher. Is there any way to stream line the credential process so he won't miss two years of income while doing it? I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

Check out I believe they help place people into districts immediately to begin teaching while simultaneously credentialing (takes two years, maybe?). They have info nights, and I have known two people who got their credentials using this program, so they are credible.

I believe that your husband will need to pass both the CBEST and another teacher test (sorry, don't know the name of it) before Project Pipeline will take him--but this should be covered in their info night and possibly on their website.

Your husband may also want to look into substitute teaching immediately. He can register with more than one school district, it pays quite well, and with his knowledge base, I'm sure that he would get called quite a bit. anon

If you sign up with Project Pipeline or Oakland Teacher Corps they give you an assignment and you work on your credential while pulling down a salary. But you have to make a comittment to work where they put you. These are in Oakland, I don't know about Berkeley, and you might want to go to an Oakland high school or middle school to see what you are getting yourself into. kr

Good advice I got when I started was to spend some months subbing before entering a program. I subbed for WCCUSD and they were happy to take me without a credential (I have a Master's). First he should take the CBEST test. Look up the other requirements on the California Teacher Credential site. I did an internship with Cal State East Bay where they partner with a district. Oakland and WCCUSD have these programs. You take several classes over the summer, then are put into your own classroom with a couple night classes per week. You are paid a beginning teacher's salary. I did this because I needed to keep the income coming in. CAL's program was two years of classes and unpaid (student) teaching from what I could see. Best of luck to him. I was a science teacher and found jobs easily. kl

Blended programs for banker entering teaching

March 2008

I'm thinking of changing careers and becoming a teacher. I've always thought of teaching and then for whatever reason went into banking (mostly for security). Now I'm a SAHM and have thought more and more about becoming a teacher. I have a BS, I'd love to hear from any others that have made this change. I've been to the cal teach website, but would love to hear real life experiences regarding the blended programs, whether getting a masters is a good deal, and specific recs on the different schools availalbe in the area...I'm thinking of elementary school, but not totally decided. ready for a career change

Hi there, What is making you want to quit your current job? Is it not fulfilling? Is it not allowing you to be creative? Do you want a longer summer vacation? If any of the above, it is possible that you might find teaching more rewarding. POSSIBLE, not probable, given the extreme pendulum swing towards scripted curriculum and teaching to standardized tests.

If you do not feel respected or supported in your current job; if you feel frustrated by the constraints placed on your desire to make a difference;if you feel that your professional judgment is often second-guessed; if you want more freedom-- then DO NOT become a teacher, at least not a teacher in a public school.

Of course there are probably plenty of public schools in which the teachers are respected (though society at large will not respect you if you are an elementary school teacher), allowed to use their professional judgment, recognized for their hard work and ingenuity, and supported by administration and families. This had not been my experience in three public schools over the course of ten years. On the contrary, my experience has been frustrating, demoralizing, and discouraging, and the increasing pressure to perform on standardized tests only makes things worse.

If you want to do something good for the world, consider using your skills in another way. As a teacher you will find that your hands are too often tied by bureaucracy and you are made responsible not for the lessons you teach(which you actually could control)but for factors beyond your scope (such as whether the students in your class ate breakfast/went to bed at a reasonable hour/are getting the counseling they need to deal with their troubled home lives). And when you find this other career path, do let me know what it is! --Frustrated, dedicated elementary school teacher

I'd recommend looking into the BATTI program ( where you work as a paid assistant at a private school while getting your credential. Takes longer than the fast track programs, but you get a much more comprehensive experience and more support (lots of new teachers quit bec. they haven't had enough time practice teaching before they are our on their own!) e bay educator

I write books about degrees and credentials, and get a lot of feedback from readers. Some of the most positive has been about the online teacher credentialing program of Rio Salado College in Arizona. All classes online. They arrange local student teaching anywhere in the world. Good for licensing in nearly every state. Not wildly expensive. Friendly helpful people. John

Think long and hard about this. It's so much work for so little pay and eventually that can wear you down. Certainly, don't do what I did and go to Stanford for a Masters and Credential b/c it is way too expensive (40K/year thereabouts). Sorry to sound so sinical...teaching can be rewarding and fulfilling but just make sure you're in it for the right reasons. Living in the Bay Area in the current market has made me very money oriented and I feel stuck b/c I am a teacher with a huge loan, despite some state forgiveness programs. Definitely go for the young kids b/c I think you can have more of an impact there. I know a lot of people who have gone through both Berkeley and Mills programs and all have had great things to say about them. good luck. Wish I felt better about what I do.

You need really good training. But first, get yourself into an inner city elementary school classroom as a volunteer and see how you like it. After several visits, if you're happy, then apply to a program. There are lots of them and if you want, you can take classes while teaching. Of course that means you'll be thrown to the wolves which is not a great idea. Better to get yourself into a more traditional credential program where you get to observe first. See if there are classes that teach you interventions for typical classroom situations i.e. hungry kids, abused kids, violent kids, etc. That's what you'll need if you're going to make it as a teacher in the 21st century. Curriculum comes second and if that's all the program addresses, it's the wrong program. You're going to be the parent, psychologist, social worker, etc. so your training will be very important. Teaching with all its demands is a calling, not a career. Anon This is the program I am doing, its designed with people who already have a full life in mind. I recommend attending an information evening. Feel free to contact me directly, I am also a graduate of the waldorf school system. Lyssa

Getting credentialed - switching from corporate exec to teaching

July 2007

I'm thinking about making a total career switch - from being a corporate executive to teaching. How do you do it? I'm still pretty young (not quite 30) and I think that I'm ready for something new. I've been thinking more and more about teaching lately. I have a daughter now and I would love to be able to spend summer's with her. Plus, I've always really liked children and I feel the need to do something that might actually make a difference in this world. I'm thinking I would want to teach elementary children, maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. So what do I do? I have a BA, but not in education. How do I get certified? Where do I even go to find a teaching job? And I guess more importantly, could I survive on a teacher's salary? My husband and I combined now make over $150.0k a year and are barely making it, what with a nice size mortgage, childcare, car payments, etc... Obviously a life style change would be an absolute must. I guess I'm just clueless as to where to even begin! I never thought I would be in the spot - 8+ years into a career and now wanting to get out of it. Please help me find my way! teacher at heart

hi-i was in the same exact boat as you, with the exception of the salary. i did, however, take a huge paycut in order to work in a school-aged daycare just to see if i could work w/kids at all. found out i loved it, and then was in the same situ as you, not a clue where to start. i got VERY discouraged when i found out how hard it is to get into a ''real'' program like cal state's. thus, i ended up at nat'l university, where you essentially pay for your degree but was able to obtain a teachers cred and a masters in ed. my b.a. is in psych. you also have to take tests in order to get your cred, and pass fingerprint reviews. its very expesive to get a credential that will eventually earn you about 43k a yr, so you have to LOVE it.

i could go on but this is long enuf! if you need more advice, i'm sure lots of ppl will post about this...if not, you can email me.

by the way, if you can try subbing at first, you may save yourself tons of time/money in the end! good luck Frannie

In California a BA in Education is neither necessary or desireable for becoming a teacher. If you want to teach younger grades then if you have a degree called ''Liberal Studies'' you usually can satisfy the subject competency requirements, otherwise with a regular BA in any subject you simply take the CSET which are multiple choice and essay subject profiencency exams. In addition to the CSET to become a teacher you need to take the CBEST and earn a credential. Both sets of tests are usually a requirement to enter a credential program.

If you want to be paid for your student teaching then you should look into an intern program where you are working full time as a classroom teacher while taking your credential. Otherwise you pay to go to school and do unpaid student teaching under the supervision of another credentialed teacher.

I teach in the WCCUSD (West Contra Costa Unified School District. We have intern programs through CSU East Bay (was Hayward). Without a credential you will be paid aprox $30,000 for the school year. Once you have a credential you would move up to aprox. $35,000. Other districts pay more, I believe we are in the bottom five for the Bay Area. In general teacher pay goes up with each year of service. Pay can also go up by earning additional units. I've been teaching for 7 years (2 outside of the district) and make about $40,000. No one goes into teaching for the money. I could make more if I changed to a higher paying district, but I live close to my job and that is the trade off I have made. Plus WCCUSD pays full benefits for me and my family which a lot of higher paying districts don't cover.

I'm sure you will get lots of advice so I'll cut this short... good luck. I think that if teaching keeps coming to you as ''what you should be doing'' than you should give it a chance. That was what I was going through before I started... in my late 20's also. I went the intern route because I felt that at least I wouldn't loose a year of pay on the ''experiment''. I figured I could do anything for a school year and could go back to my office job if I didn't like it. Obviously that didn't happen for me. teacher mom

What you would need to do is a credential program. It doesn't matter what your BA was in. You just need to pass the CBEST and the subject matter tests. A credential takes about a year. But before you make the switch, do the math. I am your age and I have been teaching for 8 years, so I have that many years on the payscale, STRS, etc. I have colleagues older than us that have switched from private enterprise to be with their kids and they are finding they can't stick with it because of the money, so they are going back to business, having wasted a lot of time and opportunity. If you are feeling the pinch with what you are making now, I just don't know if you are going to be able to deal. This has been my job as long as I have been an adult so I am used to it. I just think that you should think hard about whether you want to teach or if you just want to change jobs, stay home with your kids for awhile, work part-time or something else. modest mortgage teacher

Teaching credential - part time program?

April 2007

I am looking to earn my teaching credential in a part time program. I have a B.F.A and an M.F.A already, so lots of debt. I was recently accepted into both \xc2\x93Teach for America\xc2\x94 and \xc2\x93Oakland Teaching Fellows\xc2\x94, but happily found out I was pregnant, and could not follow through with either program. I have a beautiful 11 week old baby now and am looking for Bay Area programs where I could earn a credential (K-8 special ed mild to moderate) on a part time basis. Would be teacher.

All CSU's have credential programs you can complete part time. Try SF State or CSU Easy Bay (Hayward). A few years ago CSUEB had some joint programs with UCB that held classes in Oakland. National also has programs you can complete part time. Good Luck

Hi -- I'm interested in virtually the same thing, but have no idea how to work it out while taking care of a baby... I am hoping that someone posts some advice, but if not, I wanted to give you my email address in case you discover some info -- I'd love to know what it is! Thanks! kevin

Look into Project Pipeline, which is a part-time credential program where you teach as an Intern while attending classes in evenings and on Saturdays. I didn't use this program myself, but have worked with new teachers who were in the program. I believe it is relatively inexpensive (a non-profit program), but can be intense since you are in the classroom as you are learning to be a teacher. It's also only offering single subject or special ed credentials. Kathy

Teaching credential from another state

August 2006

I have recently received my masters in elementary ed. in Hawaii, taken their required Praxis tests, and am now ready to begin working in the bay area again - and have some teaching or education job questions. I am wondering what the teaching job availability actually is for elementary school teachers in the Berkeley and Marin County areas? Is the sample CBEST at a good representation of the test? Standards are all the thing in Hawaii - do schools expect me to know California's standards by heart? Valerie

I just want to say that the CBEST is very easy! When they say ''Basic Educational Skills'' they really mean, enough math to do a gradebook, enough reading and writing to stay ahead of the kids. If by some accident you fail one part, you can retake just that part and your passing scores on the other part stand. On the writing part, don't be too fancy, just be organized and clear.

Teaching Credential without a Degree?

July 2004

I've checked the CA website for obtaining a teaching credential and I'm pretty sure I know the answer, but am hoping I'm wrong. :) I have 21 years of work experience and have taught my own 4 children (through 5th grade) but never obtained a bachelor's degree. I got into the computer industry way back in the day (before PC's) and climbed the technical ladder without any credentials. I'd like to work as a substitute teacher but am concerned that I'd have to get a bachelor's degree first. Is there any way around this? Would my work experience (both homeschooling my own 4 and in the business arena) suffice together with passing the CBEST? Thanks for any advice. Kathy

You need a Bachelor's degree to take the CBEST, and you need to pass the CBEST in order to work as a substitute. I myself am a substitute, and it may please you to know that many of the computer lab teachers I have encountered have no credentials or degrees. They are good with children and computers. I wish I could tell you in more detail how they got their jobs, but I do know it's possible. Meg

Need to work while attending Credential Program


I am 50 years old, Masters degree,twenty years in the corporate training world, and now I want to satisfy my search for greater meaning by becoming a grade 3-6 elementary school teacher. I am trying to find a good credential program that doesn't take more than a year and which enables me to either work (paid as a teacher) during the credential program or work at my old job (classes, student teaching after work/weekends). I can't afford to have no income for a year as main breadwinner for my family. I also want to start as soon as possible. I've discovered JFK, Holy Names, and St. Mary's as possibilities and wondered if any one has experience with and can recommend these schools and their programs. How are they in the educational community? Which has the best education/internship/mentor program? Etc, etc. Christine

mid-life teacher credentials programs: The New College of California, on 17th & Valencia in s.f. (in the mission, easily accessible by BART) also has a one year (with a summer) credential program. My husband and I both earned our credentials there five or six years ago. The program itself was & is quirky, and intensive, but it was worth it for us--I worked full time throughout, and he taught in a classroom while getting his credential. If you want more info, please email me Jessica

I have another college option for you: Bethany College in Scotts Valley (near Santa Cruz), CA. They have a one-year weekend Teacher Credentialing Program (TCP) that meets the State's Requirements for a California State Teaching Credential. I must point out that they are a Christian College (if that makes any difference to you). I don't believe the weekend TCP requires any Bible courses, though -- as far as I know, you only take the courses required by the State of California to receive your Credential at Bethany's TCP. You may want to double-check that, however. If you're interested, Bethany's phone number is 1 (631) 438-3800 and the Teacher Credentialing Analyist's extension (Dr. Marilyn Abplanalp) is x1527. April

To Christine who inquired about teacher credential programs for a person making a mid-life career change: This year I investigated the same idea and now I have been admitted to a one-year credential program at San Francisco State University and will start school there in the fall. SF State has several credential programs, and one of them might work for you. However, it is very difficult to complete the work in one year while working another job. Most programs seem to take a little longer or require you to quit working or cut back on work hours. I also checked out St. Mary's, and they were supernice, are very flexible, seemed to have good classes, but the fees are high. You may want to consider an internship program (like Cal PIP offered through UC Extension or others offered through Cal State Hayward). Good luck to you! Betsy

Cal State Hayward is worth a look too. It is inexpensive ($600 per quarter), and you will be done in one year. You can work as a teacher in several different ways and be paid for your student teaching. Personally, I worked in a private school where I had a lovely teaching situation and got all my student teaching done except for 1 month part time in public summer school. I've also seen people teach in the public schools in a special partnership between certain school districts and Cal State Hayward. You may not feel quite as nurtured as at Holy Names, etc, but not having any student loans to pay at the end feels pretty great, and the education is delivered quite competently at CSUH. --a satisfied alumna lee

You might also want to check into the San Francisco State credentialing program. It is designed for working people (and will help you arrange teacher placement if that is what you want). I think it is very reasonably priced. Specifically, ask about the Bay Area Teacher's Center option. SFS has been working with two schools (Head-Royce in Oakland and Lick Wilmerding in SF) to provide credential programs that don't require you to take all your classes at the SFS campus. Instead these programs are based in real schools and designed to be practical. I don't know if they do elementary credentials, but they might. Try calling Lily N ing at 415-333-4021 ext. 236. She is head of the Bay Area Teachers' Center and would be a good person to talk to. Stevie

There are some wonderful credential programs in the bay area, including Dominican University in San Rafael and Mills in Oakland. Science and Math teachers are in particularly short supply. Michelle

The teacher shortage that you speak of has created a lot of different ways to enter the profession. Some programs allow you to work in a classroom right away on an emergency credential while you complete your course work (I believe CSU Hayward, SFSU, and Holy Names College all have programs like these). There are also tuition grants available if you commit to teaching a certain number of years in low-performing schools, which makes more traditional credential programs accessible to more people. You can contact UCB's Graduate School of Education for that info ( Ilana