A few days ago

Becoming a teacher (K-6) in California. Questions.?

I live in California. I want to become a teacher. Right now, I have no concrete understanding of the process of getting a teaching credential.

If you are a teacher and you became one in California (that is, you went through the program to get your credential), what was your experience like?

How long did it take you? Was the program hard?

What were the requirements? Were the tests, CSET and RICA (I already took the CBEST for something else) really difficult?

Do you have any general tips for what I can do to prepare to enter a program like that?

Was it hard to get into a program? What sort of questions do they ask at the interview, and are there any hidden requirements? Do you think it will matter that I’ll be just-turned-20 when I apply to the program (if I do)?

Also, how long did it take you to get a job after finishing the program?

Top 4 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

Here is what I remember about the process (15 yrs ago so some might have changed, but your school will let you know)

You need your BA for acceptance into a credentialing program at a university. There are alternative programs in some districts. Some bigger disctricts partner with the uni to create district intern programs where you do not have to pay for your credentialing process. you take 3yrs of support classes (all paid via the sd) and agree to work for the district for 5 yrs.

Once accepted into the credentialing program, youll need to complete the classes, pick a grade level, do student teaching, and pass tests.

picking a grade level: youll need to decide secondary or elementary. student teaching and the type of tests are based on this decision. Once you get your credential it is in this area and you will not be able to teach kids of the other group.

Student teaching: the school must certify that you are ready, and california requires student teaching. it must happen in two different age groups.

testing: you will need to verify subject matter knowledge. in secondary this means subject specific tests, in elementary a general test. In my case it was the PRAXIS (called the cset now… i think different company providing tests). For biology there were 2 tests i passed. Seperate from this is the requirement in California to teach english language learners.

you will need to pass the rica to get your clad.

difficulty: I thought I knew my stuff, but I didnt pass on the first try. I didnt prepare for the breadth of questions. They are all reasonable however… (definetly a frustrating and scary time)

There are classes through the uni and test prep books that should help you pass on try 1. (you can take as many times as needed, but they only offer the tests 4 times per yr)

time and difficulty: I took about two years to be fully certified, and no it was not difficult.

Job: I had my job prior to finishing. This is mainly because Los Angeles is such a high need area, and I teach math and science. Depending on the school you pick, they might have a district partnership where they help you with placement.

Hope this helped some, good luck!


A few days ago
The process is basically the same no matter what state you live in. Assuming you are coming straight out of high school with no other degrees, you’d enroll in a teacher preparation program at the university level. You would need to decide if you wanted to do elementary (usually 1-6, K is considered early childhood), or secondary (middle/high school). The typical program is 4-5 years and includes at least 1 semester of student teaching. Although, the more respectable programs usually include a full year of student teaching and exposure to the classroom during your freshmen – junior years.

After completing the program, you take the state certification test. After it is passed, you may apply for jobs as you will be considered a “certified teacher” in your state.

The teacher education program I attended was hard, but high acclaimed. I never opened a book through high school and even when I attended a state university for 2 years. When I got into my teacher preparation program (I transferred to a private university) I had to work my butt off. But it was well worth it. I was 24, married, and had my first child before graduating with my Bachelors in Elementary Ed. So what I’m saying is, it doesn’t matter. If it’s something you want to do, do it now instead of looking back 5 years from now saying “I wish I would have….”

Good luck.


5 years ago
1. Special Education teachers are in high demand. Secondary Education majors (Middle School + High School) who choose their major/minor in subjects such as Chemistry, Math, Physics, Spanish Language, etc. also have a better chance at finding a job. Spanish Language may be a good option for you if you are planning to study and teach in California. All universities are different in what they offer, the majors/minors that you can choose, etc. Your best bet is to contact a university that you think you are interested in to get more information on what your options are. 2. It’s hard to say which takes the least time. It really depends on which major/minor you choose, how many courses you take per semester, etc. If you have not completed any college courses as of now, you should plan on being in school for approximately 5-6 years. Keep in mind that you will have to student teach at the end as well. 3. Special Education teachers typically have a higher pay in my area, especially at the secondary level. 4. Yes. You will need to become certified in Elementary and in Secondary Education. 5. I am currently studying to become a teacher. I am majoring in Special Ed and minoring in Early Childhood Ed. When I am done, I would have been in school for 8 years BUT keeping in mind that two years were part time. So therefore, I would say that it will have taken me a little over 6 years to complete my schooling WITH student teaching. If you have no experience with children, you may want to try to get a job at a summer day camp or even just babysitting for a local family. A summer day camp may be an ideal job for you because you will be around children of all ages, and some of the day camps focus a portion of their day on academic learning. There are also some summer day camps that are completely focused on academics. I used to work for one about 6 years ago and I ended up being a teacher’s aide in many different classes, ranging from math class to acting class. Good luck!!!

A few days ago
I assume you have a BA/BS or better degree

Go to the California Public Education site and see what they require. You generally need to take another 9 units of special teaching programs at a college, student teach for 10 weeks and take the uniformed test for the grade and subject levels you want to be credentialed in.