Launching a career in teaching opens the door to a profession that allows you to positively impact the lives of young learners. If you are considering a career in teaching in the sunny and diverse state of California, it is important to understand the requirements and process of obtaining a California teaching credential.

Requirements for Obtaining a California Teaching Credential

Before embarking on your journey to become a teacher in California, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). These requirements are designed to ensure that educators possess the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach and guide students. Fulfilling these requirements is a significant step toward achieving your goal of becoming a credentialed teacher in California.

Different Types of Teaching Credentials in California

California offers several types of teaching credentials, each with its own specific requirements and authorizations. The most common types of teaching credentials in California include:

  • Multiple Subject Teaching Credential: This credential equips educators to teach a wide spectrum of subjects to a single class of students, usually in elementary schools. It’s the perfect fit if you’re passionate about guiding young minds through their foundational years.
  • Single Subject Teaching Credential: If you prefer to dive deep into a specific subject area, the Single Subject Teaching Credential offers an ideal avenue. Geared towards middle school and high school educators, this credential enables you to specialize in a particular subject, such as mathematics, science, English, history, or the arts.
  • Education Specialist Instruction Credential: This credential is designed to empower educators with the tools and insights necessary to support students with special needs. By fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding, you can make a profound difference in the lives of students who require specialized attention.

Each of these credentials cater to different teaching scenarios and grade levels, ensuring that educators are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to meet the varying needs of students.


What Degree Do You Need to Be a Teacher in California?

To become a teacher in California, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. To teach at the elementary level, you’ll need a broad degree like Liberal Studies that covers a range of subjects that teachers would be expected to cover, as well as a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential. For middle school and high school teachers, there is no specific major required; but it is advantageous to major in the subject you wish to teach, especially if you are pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential. Having a strong foundation in your subject area not only enhances your teaching effectiveness but also makes you a more competitive candidate for teaching positions.


Steps to Becoming a Teacher in California

Becoming a teacher in California requires several steps, which can seem overwhelming at first. However, by breaking down the process into manageable stages, you can navigate your way to obtaining a California teaching credential.


  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Enroll in a Teacher Preparation Program
  3. Choose Your Teaching Credential
  4. Complete Prerequisite Coursework
  5. Gain Classroom Experience & Student Teaching
  6. Apply for Your Credential
  7. Pass Required Exams and Assessments
  8. Application Review & Credential Issuance

The California Teaching Credential Application Process

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program, you are ready to apply for a California teaching credential. Some programs, like the one at Los Angeles Pacific University, combine a bachelor’s degree and a California teaching credential into one program. Enrolling in a program that seamlessly integrates both of these prerequisites offers a remarkable convenience and leaves graduates ready to take on a classroom.

California Teaching Credential Exams and Assessments

To obtain a California teaching credential, you must demonstrate your knowledge and competency through various exams and assessments. The most common exams include the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR), the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), and the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA). Note that CSETs are not required if you have one of the approved BA degrees, like Liberal Studies. These assessments are designed to ensure that you possess the expertise needed to effectively teach your chosen subject matter and provide a high-quality education to your students.

Tips for Successfully Obtaining a California Teaching Credential

Obtaining a California teaching credential can be a challenging process, but with the right approach, it can also be a rewarding journey. Here are some tips to help you successfully navigate the path to becoming a teacher in California:

  • Stay Organized: Keep track of deadlines, requirements, and application materials to avoid last-minute stress.
  • Seek Guidance: Reach out to experienced educators, mentors, and university advisors for advice and support.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated with educational trends and teaching techniques to enhance your classroom skills.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Teaching often requires adaptability; be prepared to adjust your strategies to cater to diverse student needs and learning styles.

Pursuing a teaching career in California is an exciting and fulfilling endeavor. By understanding the type of degree needed to pursue a teaching career as well as the various types of teaching credentials, you can embark on your educational journey with confidence. If you are passionate about education and making a difference in the lives of students, start your journey toward obtaining a California teaching credential today!


Remember, each step you take brings you closer to becoming an influential educator, poised to shape the future of California’s next generation of learners. Reach out to our admissions team if becoming a teacher in California excites you, so you can be fully equipped with all the information you need to know!

Career Blog

August 10, 2023

School Counselor vs Clinical Counseling Professional: What’s the Difference?

In today’s complex and ever-evolving world, the need for mental health professionals has become more pronounced than ever before. As...

Read More
Career Blog

July 10, 2023

Can You Become a Teacher With a Liberal Studies Degree?

In the dynamic landscape of education, the paths to becoming a teacher are as diverse as the students we aim...

Read More
Close Bitnami banner