Teacher Preparation Guide

Qualifications depend on the level of education at which you would like to teach. California public school teaching in Kindergarten through high school (K – 12) requires credentialing through California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Visit Teach California for requirements specific to the type of K-12 teaching you are interested in. Qualifications for teaching in California’s public colleges and universities are based on the attainment of the appropriate degree in the subject you wish to teach. Teaching in private schools is not governed by the state and each school has its own requirements.


To obtain a preliminary K-12 credential, which is valid for 5 years, you must satisfy all the following requirements:

  • Complete a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university

  • Demonstrate that you have mastered basic skills in English and mathematics via CBEST exam

  • Demonstrate that you know the subject (s) you intend to teach (referred to as “subject matter competence”) via CSET exam

  • Complete a professional teacher preparation program (credential program), including student teaching, and obtain a formal recommendation for the credential by the California college or university where the program was completed

  • US. Constitution course & foundational computer technology course

  • Pass RICA exam for multiple subject & education specialist instruction credentials · Link to California Educator Examinations and Assessments (BEST, CSET, RICA, etc.)

Note: If you are proficient at the intermediate level or higher in a language other than English, you may be able to obtain an additional BCLAD (Bilingual, Cross Cultural, Language and Academic Development) Certificate.

K-12 Teaching Summary

To Teach:


Required Tests*

Credential needed

Elementary School (K-5 or K-6)

BA degree, completion of approved program, including student teaching


Multiple Subject Credential

Middle School (6-8 or 7-8)

BA degree, completion of approved program, including student teaching


Multiple Subject or Single Subject - varies per school system

High School or Secondary School (9-12)

BA degree, completion of approved program, including student teaching


Single Subject Credential

Special Education Specializations: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Visual Impairments, Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing, Physical & Health Impairments, and Early Childhood Special Education

BA degree, completion of approved program, including student teaching


Educational Specialist Instruction Credential in area of specialization

Bilingual  (ESL - K-12)

BA degree, completion of approved program, including student teaching


BCLAD Certificate - Multiple Subject or Single Subject

Academic Pre-Requisites:

Qualification for teaching in a pre-school is based upon acquiring a Child Development Permit. There are several levels of such permits: Assistant, Associate Teacher, Teacher, Master Teacher, Site Supervisor, and Program Director. Only the last requires a baccalaureate degree. The SRJC Child Development Department offers certificates, associate degree programs, and other coursework through which students can qualify for the remaining permits.


For academic teaching in a public college or university, the earning of a degree in a particular subject meets the minimum qualification to teach that subject.

  • Qualification to teach academic coursework in a California Community College (CCC) requires a Master’s degree in the subject you wish to teach. Those who are interested in teaching in CCC Career Technical Education (CTE) can qualify based on a combination of education and experience.

  • Qualification to become a professor at a university requires a Doctorate (PhD). Some universities employ “lecturers” based on attainment of a Master’s degree.

Commonly Required Course Pre-requisite list

There is no specific undergraduate major that leads directly to a teacher preparation program. However, most universities offer subject matter preparation programs for the Multiple Subject credential. (Examples at Sonoma State University are American Multicultural Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, Environmental Studies and Planning, and the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies.) Each university requires specific courses for their diversified, Multiple Subject preparation majors, and the preparation coursework sequence is aligned with California’s Student Academic Content Standards and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Most of these courses can be completed at SRJC prior to transfer.

Considering Teaching? California needs more bilingual educators!
Local Programs
Professional Resources