Becoming an English Teacher in California

While attaining credentials to teach English in California can be a lengthy process, teachers are in high demand; qualified English teachers should have good prospects for finding work. You can explore the credentialing process for California English teachers here. Schools offering Literacy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Teaching English in California

California is currently experiencing a teacher shortage, so demand is high for qualified candidates. Applicants should be aware that teaching English in California requires a bachelor's degree and proficiency in current teaching methodologies. Prospective teachers can research a common path towards certification below.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree; teacher preparation program approved by the state
Exams Required Basic skills test; subject proficiency test
Certification Validity Period Initial certification valid for five years; then a clear credential must be obtained through the state
Mean Salary (2018, California)* $75,660 (all middle school teachers), $80,510 (all high school teachers)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide)* 8% (all middle and high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

A typical school day for an English teacher includes providing instruction but will also often include a significant amount of work before and after school, including time spent grading student work and planning lessons. Some teachers also lead extracurricular groups and activities or provide extra instruction after school.

Secondary English teachers help students deepen their reading comprehension and think analytically about written material, often leading students in a comparison of the building blocks of essays, novels and other writing.

High school English teachers also play a substantial role in preparing students for college academics and the job market. Their instruction might focus on areas such as expository essay and report writing, research skills, and preparation for standardized testing.

English teachers are expected to regularly assess students' progress as well as generate lesson plans, develop activities, and administer tests and quizzes. Teachers often employ traditional instructional formats, such as lectures and assignments from textbooks, but might also utilize group activities, creative exploration, visual aids, and elements of film, music, or theater.

Education and Training Requirements

Middle school and high school teachers who want to teach in California will need to complete at least a bachelor's degree program. Some teachers have a bachelor's degree in secondary education, but they can also hold degrees more directly related to their subject matter, in this case, English.

Another important step towards becoming an English teacher in California is to complete an approved teacher preparation program. These programs include subject matter like curriculum development, teaching methodology, and classroom management. To meet certification requirements, they also cover reading instruction, health education, and the use of technology in the classroom environment.

There are several college programs available for students who would like to earn their bachelor's degree and complete a California teacher preparation program simultaneously.

Exam Requirements

Prospective secondary school teachers in California will need to apply for a Single Subject Teaching Credential, which authorizes the credential holder to teach subjects like English to middle and high school students. The credentialing process includes passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or submitting acceptable scores on another standardized test, like the ACT or SAT. Teachers who have not completed an English major approved by the state must also pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) English test.

Prospective public school teachers who come from outside California or the United States will have slightly different routes to achieving their teaching credentials in California.

Renewal Requirements

Once an individual has obtained a Single Subject Teaching Credential, he or she will be required to earn a clear credential before the preliminary credential expires (within five years). The requirements for the clear credential are fulfilled through one of two options: completing a Teacher Induction Program or earning certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. Once a teacher has obtained their clear credential, it is valid for five years; any renewal requirements necessary for a teacher's specific submissions can be accessed online.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
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    Popular programs at Pacific Oaks College:

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