The requirements for gaining teacher certification vary from state to state. A lot of states have different levels of certification for their teachers based on subject area or the age group that they wish to teach. California gives recognition to all the other states in America for teacher licensure reciprocity. The teachers are allowed to apply for a Certification on Professional Clear Teaching or a 5-year Preliminary Teaching. There are different ways to gain teacher certification in California. You would have to consider which circumstances best fit your current situation.
- Undergraduate education. Many states require you to have a Bachelor’s degree from a reputable institution. If you intend to teach in the elementary department, you have to get an undergraduate major (education) or at least a Master’s degree. If you intend to teach the secondary subjects, you must be an undergraduate in the preferred subject. In addition, you must have spent a certain number of hours (45 hours of observation is spent here) in student teaching or a practicum program that involves classroom exposure and student management. You must be able to complete 150 hours of professional development requirements.
- Teacher education. You must be currently enrolled in a teacher education program when you start your preliminary certification. Look for reputable universities that would allow you to study in the classroom or even through online means if your work schedule does not permit it.
- Testing for certification. California belongs to the majority of states that require teachers to pass a state licensure examination or the PRAXIS® exam for demonstrating the individual’s suitability and educational foundation. Alternatively, the CBEST® (California Basic Educational Skills test) exam might be passed during the initial year of certification.
- Fingerprint documentation. When you do pass the CBEST® or the PRAXIS® examinations, you must have your fingerprints taken and cleared at the California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation or at local police department. They need the fingerprints to verify if you have any pending legal liabilities that need to be cleared first before you teach in any school.
- Check the Preliminary Teacher Certification Packet. It must contain the completed application package, official transcripts of all the degrees and credits you’ve earned, the LiveScan® receipt, scores from the CBEST® or the PRAXIS® and photocopy of receipts paid for current fees. You must mail them to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at Sacramento.
- Postgraduate education. To obtain a better salary grade and higher degree of certification, a Master’s degree in education is sometimes preferred in some California schools. You could actually start teaching after the preliminary certification but it would be best to continue your professional development with a master’s degree.
California is one of the populous states in the USA. The abundance of schools and universities in this state assures that certified teachers would have a rewarding career in the field of education. The certification allows you to get hired easily by schools that currently have vacancies in your field of expertise.