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Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Programs in California

Earning your Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in California allows you to teach with confidence across different subject matters. Learn more about how to obtain your credential in California.

Overview of the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

In order to receive your Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in California, individuals must successfully complete a qualified, commission-approved program. Obtaining your Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in California authorizes you to teach all subject matters within a self-contained classroom setting, such as in an elementary school or junior high school.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree in education, early childhood education, or similar field; completion of California commission-approved induction program
Exams Required California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST); California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)
License Validity Period Preliminary license good for five years; after the five-year preliminary period, teachers must apply for their Clear/Level II Credential in order to remain eligible to teach in California
Certification Renewal Process Once preliminary licenses are cleared, credentials must be renewed every five years either online or via mailed application
CEU Credits Required for Renewal N/A
Average Salary in California (2018) $80,100 (elementary); $75,660 (junior high school)*
Estimated Job Growth 2016 – 2026 7% (elementary); 8% (junior high school)*

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

Career Overview

Elementary and junior high school teachers are the only instructors eligible to pursue a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Elementary school educators typically teach students from grades K – 5 (sometimes K – 6, depending on your district) in order to prepare them for middle school. Junior high (or middle) school instructors usually teach students from grades 6 – 8, building upon their experience in elementary school to prepare them for senior high school.

Benefits of Obtaining a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

Those interested in teaching a range of subjects within their own self-contained classroom benefit most from receiving a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. This credential authorizes teachers to instruct reading, writing, math, and the humanities from grades K – 8. Earning this credential is perfect for those who enjoy working closely with children and value building tight-knit communities within their own classroom.

Education and Training Requirements

Earning your Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in California first requires you to receive your bachelor's degree in education, early childhood education, or a related field. Upon graduation from a regionally-accredited college or university, aspiring teachers must complete both the CBEST and CSET exams to be issued a preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Teachers may also earn their preliminary credential by completing a commission-approved elementary subject matter program. Completion of a commission-approved program must also be accompanied by verification and written recommendation by authorized personnel within the education department of your chosen California college or university program.

Exam Requirements

Teachers must only pass the CBEST once and their test scores remain valid indefinitely. The exam contains three sections: mathematics, reading, and writing. In order to pass successfully, the total score for all sections must average to be at least 123.

To pass the CSET, teachers must achieve a score of at least 220 on each subtest they complete. Scores are issued on a scale from 100 – 300, and those who pass must use their valid scores to obtain their Multiple Subject Teaching Credential within 10 years of receiving their test results.

Preliminary/Level I and Clear/Level II Credential Process

In California, licenses are issued on a preliminary (or Level I) basis and teachers are required to apply for their Clear/Level II Credential after the five-year preliminary period expires in order to be officially licensed by the state. There are two options for teachers looking to clear their preliminary credential:

  • Option 1: After completing your commission-approved credential program, submit an application for clear credential through the induction program sponsor
  • Option 2: If you are certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in either Early Childhood or Middle Childhood, you may be eligible to submit a mailed application to the California commission

Clear credentials — similar to preliminary credentials — last for five years; however, teachers may renew their cleared credentials either online or via mailed application without providing additional proof of ongoing education or professional experience.