Teaching Degrees in California

Anyone who plans to earn a teaching degree in California or wishes to teach in the California public school system needs to know some important information about:

  • The impact of a master’s degree
  • Scholarships and grants
  • California teacher certification

Also included here is a list of additional resources and a comprehensive directory of fully accredited teaching degrees in California.

Teaching Degrees in California

California is the most populated state in the country. During the 2011-2012 school year there were more than six million K-12 students. Because of the state’s size and ongoing need for teachers, there are many teacher preparation programs from which to choose. California State University offers teacher preparation programs at 22 of its 23 campuses. The University of California prepares teachers at nine of its campuses, and most of the 77 private colleges and universities in California offer teaching degrees.

Forty-three percent of all teachers in California hold a master’s degree and can earn an annual salary bonus of $8,977. Of course these bonuses depend on many factors, such as available funding, teacher shortages, and school district size.

Teaching Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships in California

Students pursuing teaching degrees in California have a variety of state-based scholarship and grant options. Scholarship sources include the state government, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and professional teacher organizations. For example:

Asian Bilingual Scholarship
A California State University-Northridge scholarship for individuals with Asian backgrounds with bilingual skills in Asian languages. Scholarship awards range from $3,000 to $7,0000.

Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE)
APLE candidates must be pursuing a teaching credential in the state of California in critical need subject areas or designated schools. These subject areas and schools are determined by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Participants must be nominated by their postsecondary school.

Cal Grant C
Available to California residents only. Priority is be given to students pursuing occupational or technical training in areas that meet high employment need, high employment growth, and high wage criteria, such as preschool teachers (except special education).

Child Development Grant Program
Applicants must enroll at least half-time in coursework leading to a Child Development Permit whether as a teacher, master teacher, site supervisor, or program director. Recipients must sign a Service Commitment Agreement for providing full-time service at a licensed children’s center for one year and any additional year an applicant receives financial aid.

Ed Romeo Student CTA Scholarship
The California Teachers Association awards three $300 scholarships to undergraduate students at a four-year university. Applicants must be members of Student CTA.

The Guardian Teacher Scholarship
The Guardian Teacher Scholarship at the University of California-Davis was created to encourage and support former foster care youth to pursue careers in teaching in California.

KSTF Teaching Fellowships
Applicants must have earned or be in the process of earning a degree in a discipline related to science or math. Applicant must be committed to teaching high school math, physical science, or biological science.

L. Gordon Bittle Memorial Scholarship for Student CTA
To be eligible, the applicant must be a current and active member of the Student CTA (California Teachers Association). Students must be pursuing a career in public education and can be enrolled in an undergraduate, teacher credential, or graduate program. High school grade point average and college coursework should reflect high academic achievement.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to a California resident that is a member of a defined ethnic minority group, and is pursuing a college degree, credential, or certification for a teaching-related career in public education.

The Wilson C. Riles Education Scholarship
Five scholarships of $1,000 are available for first generation college students enrolled in a California State University teaching credential program.

California Teacher Certification

There are quite a few steps to becoming a teacher in California. Simply obtaining the preliminary credential, which is good for five years, has several requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally-accredited college or university
  • Passing score on the basic skills requirement test
  • Completed teacher preparation program approved by the California Commission, plus student teaching with performance assessment
  • A recommendation from the California college or university where the preparation program was completed
  • Proof of subject matter competence
  • Meet Developing English Language Skills requirements, including the reading requirement by completing a comprehensive reading instruction course
  • Complete a course on the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution or pass an exam given by a regionally-accredited college or university
  • Complete foundational computer technology course work including general and specialized skills for using computers in educational settings
  • Fingerprints and criminal background check

The five-year Preliminary teaching credential cannot be renewed or extended. To continue teaching in California one must obtain what is called the Clear Credential. Candidates must complete a Commission-approved General Education Induction Program, which includes the advanced study of health education, special populations, computer technology, and teaching English learners. Continuing education is necessary to renew the Clear teacher credentials.

Additional Resources about Teaching in California

The following resources provide additional information about earning a teaching degree and working as a teacher in California.

California Department of Education
Everything to do with education in California. Standards, curriculum, testing, finance, grants, data, statistics and more are all right here.

California Educator Credentialing Examinations
This website has test information for the CBEST, CPACE, CSET, CTEL, NES, and RICA. Prepare for the tests, register and get results all in one place.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing
This is the place to go with questions on obtaining teacher credentials.

Teaching Degrees
A wonderful resource that is broken down by state and provides information on teacher salaries, scholarships, degrees, and teaching jobs.

California Department of Industrial Relations
This website covers many topics of interest to workers in general, whether it is safety on the job, labor laws, or workers’ compensation.

California Teachers Association
The California Teachers Association is a strong advocate for educators and its website is packed with useful information. The group includes: teachers, school librarians, social workers, counselors, psychologists, and nurses in the K-12 school system.

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