How Do I Become a Teacher?
Claremont Graduate University’s Teacher Education Program prepares highly effective teachers who believe that education is a social justice enterprise. We seek teachers deeply committed to academic excellence, equity, and integrity.
Our Teacher Education faculty and staff can guide you toward a rewarding career in teaching. We offer a Preliminary Credential program and an Induction program—both necessary steps to becoming a teacher in California. Our Teacher Education program enables you to work toward a preliminary credential while simultaneously earning a Master of Arts in Education. And our Induction program is a great alternative to Beginning Teacher Support & Assessment (BTSA), the typical district-run induction program.
In addition, CGU offers a Direct-to-Clear Path that enables candidates to earn their full credential in California, allowing you to earn a preliminary credential, a Master of Arts in Education, and a clear credential.
Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a California Teacher
We strongly recommend that candidates apply to our Teaching Education programs with enough real-world experience working with youth that they consider teaching a calling. Consider volunteering in schools, shadowing a teacher, substitute teaching, coaching, or working at a summer camp. Tutoring can also be helpful—but understand that working in a one-on-one setting is dynamically different than working with groups of youth.
In California, credentials are categorized in various ways. The multiple-subject general education credential is the credential you earn if you want to teach multiple subjects to the same group of students, typically in grades K–6. The single-subject general education credential prepares you to teach a specific subject, typically in a middle or high school. Claremont Graduate University offers five single-subject credentials in Math, Science, Social Studies, English, and World Languages (Spanish, French, or Chinese).
We also offer education specialist credentials in both mild/moderate and moderate/severe for those who want to work with youth who have disabilities.
California teachers are required to take two tests. The California Basic Education Skills Tests (CBEST) measures aptitude in reading, writing, and mathematics and must only be passed once. The California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) is a multi-version test for which you take the version for the credential you’re earning (those who wish to teach high school mathematics would take the Math version). Those don’t apply to a teacher credential program within five years of passing the CSET will need to retake the test.
Most people earn their preliminary California teaching credential at a university. Although every university needs to meet the same standards articulated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, each program is structured differently and has different admissions requirements. Be sure to research programs in depth to find the fit that’s right for you.
Claremont Graduate University prepares its teacher candidates with instruction in the theory of teaching/learning alongside practical classroom experience. This method lets our students engage in scholarly research while imparting practical and valuable experience in a real classroom setting.
Clinical experience in a California classroom is essential to being competitive in the job market. At Claremont Graduate University, our candidates are placed in a classroom setting starting in their first semester. By the time they graduate, our candidates will have acquired more than 1,100 hours of time in the clinical setting.
At CGU, there are two pathways to acquiring experience in the classroom. The Residency Pathway places teacher candidates under the tutelage of a Master Teacher and is geared toward students who desire the mentorship of a seasoned practitioner. The Internship Pathway gives teacher candidates the opportunity to obtain a position with one of CGU’s partnering school districts to become a “teacher-of-record”—a paid position, under contract, earning an average salary of $48,000.