How to Become a Teacher in California
At Alliant, we believe that education is the great equalizer, the most powerful path to success, and the most valuable asset in the modern era. With our rapidly changing world, our children need the new skills required to compete in this new, smaller globe. They need to learn the basics, of course, but they also need a strong command of science, technology, engineering, and more—and that’s just the beginning. Alliant’s California School of Education (CSOE) sees a societal imperative to ensure that every child has the opportunity to get a quality education. We have dedicated ourselves to training our nation’s teachers to become the men and women who will give our children these vital skills, who will give them a truly 21st Century education, and who will create the leaders and agents of change of the next generation.
But, there are problems too. The next generation’s ability to get a quality education is being threatened by one of the worst teacher shortage crises in modern history. California alone is in need of over 100,000 qualified teachers to meet the the needs of the current population, and that is nothing to say for the growth we are continuing to experience in the state.
So, what can we, as a society, do to reverse this troubling trend? Well, the most effective method is to get a teaching degree and become a teacher yourself.
The situation has become so dire in some instances that many school districts are now offering signing bonuses and have increased entry salaries as a way to entice more teachers into their classrooms, and that is on top of the average salary for an elementary school teacher in the U.S. sitting at over $55,000 and almost $70,000 in California, based on the last report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016.
There are also several other organizations, such as Teach for America that are allowing recent college graduates to receive their advanced degrees in education while serving in the classroom, effectively teaching themselves while they learn to teach others.
So, now, the question is: “What does it take to become a teacher for today’s modern world?”
Becoming a Teacher in California
Becoming a teacher might seem an overwhelming or confusing process, but as the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”—you just have to know what steps to take; and here are those steps that will transform you into the educational agent of change you want to become.
Decide what you want to teach.
Before you start your education, you will need to choose which area of specialization most appeals to you. Do you want to teach at the grade school level, for instance? Or does teaching high school appeal to you more? Would you want to specialize in math, science, art, or computers? Would you be interested in helping children with special needs? The educational and licensing requirements you will need to meet will vary depending on the grade level or specialization you choose.
At CSOE, we offer degrees and credentials for all of these specializations so that you can become the exact teacher you want to be. If you want to teach at the elementary level, we have the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. If you want to become a higher school teacher in California, we have the Single Subject Teaching Credential. If you want to work with children who are in special education, we offer the Special Education Teaching Credential. We do this because we believe that education is the great equalizer—and that every classroom at every level should have a qualified teacher at the helm—regardless of the zip code.
Gain teaching experience.
An important—and required—aspect of becoming a teacher will be a teaching practicum. During this part of a California teacher credential program, you will actually teach in a public school alongside licensed teachers as part of a student teaching or intern teaching experience. This is your chance to pick up invaluable information from working professionals and get the real-world experience needed to step off of our graduation stage an already-impactful teacher.
Alliant also offers a unique path to teacher credentialing through our intern teaching track. This allows students to serve as the teacher of record in their classrooms while earning their credential, as opposed to the traditional method of student teaching centered on shadowing another teacher after completion of credential coursework. This prepares teachers more quickly by allowing them to practice their trade, ensuring the truest form of hands-on, professional practice.
Pass all required tests.
Another important part of the credentialing process is proving you have the proper skills to be a teacher by passing a number of exams. Required exams include:
- California Basic Skills Requirement (CBEST): This test will verify that you are proficient in basic skills. The CBEST test contains three sections: reading, writing, and mathematics.
- California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET): The test will verify that you are competent in the subject matters you want to teach. For Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials, you will take the CSET Multiple Subjects exam, which is comprised of three sub-tests. For Single Subject Teaching Credentials, you will take the specific CSET for whichever subject matter you want to teach.
- Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA): If you wish to become an elementary school teacher or special education teacher, you will need to pass this exam. The RICA test is designed to assess the knowledge and skills of prospective teachers to provide reading instruction to their students.
Get Started Today
If you are ready to start your journey to becoming a teacher, Alliant is here for you. Our California School of Education offers a myriad of teaching credential and educational degree programs to help new educators start their teaching career. To learn more about our programs, or to talk to an Alliant representative to learn more on how to become a teacher, as well as guide you in your program decision, contact us today!