Requirements for Becoming a History Teacher in California

The path to becoming a history teacher in California involves several steps. Read the following guide to find out what it takes to become an accredited history teacher in California. Schools offering Teaching - Social Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info for California History Teachers

In California, the requirements for becoming a teacher are set by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), a state body overseen by the Department of Education. Under its guidelines, any teacher in California, be they a history teacher, math teacher, or geography teacher, needs to meet a series of education and testing requirements before applying for a preliminary credential.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree; completion of a teacher preparation program
Exam Requirements California Basic Educational Skills Test and California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET)
Certification Renewal Period5 years
CEU Credits Required for Renewal N/A, full clear credential obtained after completing the Teacher Induction Program
Average Salary (2017) $77,390 (for California high school teachers*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (for all high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

This is the first step to be a teacher in California. Regardless of the age of the students you wish to teach, you need a bachelor's degree from a recognized and accredited university.

The subject of the degree, notably, isn't as important as you think. But if your heart is set on teaching history, you may find it useful to have a history or social science major as a way to help demonstrate the necessary subject matter knowledge.

Relatively unique to the state is the requirement that law all teachers take a course on the US Constitution, so it's worth researching to see if your university has such classes and that they are approved by the CTC. Otherwise, you will have to pass an exam on the subject.

Demonstrate That You Have Basic Skills

There are numerous ways to go about doing this, but one of the smoothest is by passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test. In this test, your reading, writing, and mathematics skills will be tested to ensure competence. You can take the test as many times as you need to pass (a minimum score of 41 is required), and once you have passed the test, your scores remain valid indefinitely.

Alternatively, if you have high ACT or SAT scores, these are also sufficient to show you have the necessary skills.

Demonstrate You Have Sufficient Subject Matter Knowledge

If you want to become a history teacher in California, you have to show subject mastery. There are two key ways of doing this.

You can take a California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). As you want to be a history teacher, you'll need to take the exam in social science, which includes subjects like US history and World History.

Alternatively, completing your undergraduate education in a CTC-approved subject matter preparation program at a California university (this is different from the Teacher Preparation Program discussed in the next section) will allow you to demonstrate your history knowledge and meet this requirement.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

Teacher preparation programs are likely to include a mixture of study and fieldwork where you will learn the essential skills necessary to become a teacher. These programs are typically offered as teacher education majors or programs of study to be completed alongside a history or social sciences bachelor's degree.

In the course of your study, you will likely come across the following topics:

  • Essential health education, including training in CPR and the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use
  • Technology and computer skills instruction (especially in an educational context)
  • Techniques for developing English language skills, including reading and language comprehension

At the end of this program, you'll need to secure a recommendation letter from your teacher preparation program, which will be essential for your teacher application through the CTC. Completion of this process and the prior four steps enables you to be eligible for a five-year teaching credential that allows you to teach in any of California's public schools.

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:

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