Find a Degrees For Teaching in California, CA

Start Here By Choosing Your Highest Level of Education:

Look over the information below and discover steps you should take to become a teacher in California.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

Having a high school diploma or a GED opens doors to many institutions of higher learning that can lead you to a teaching career in California. Bachelor’s degree programs typically require applicants to have a high school diploma.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, child development, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. The California Department of Education recommends that, once you decide what you want to teach, the next step is to attend a four-year college and earn a Bachelor in Education degree with a major in the subject area and grade level you hope to teach.
  4. Teaching young children may be possible for aspiring teachers who attend a two-year or community college and earn an Associate degree, along with certification in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  5. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help with making a decision about which school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree …

Attending a community college and earning an Associate’s degree is a valuable step toward becoming a teacher in California. Taking certain college classes before entering a Bachelor’s degree program may provide some necessary prerequisites for courses in the four-year program.

  1. Many community college credits can be transferred to public and independent four-year colleges and universities, where students can complete a Bachelor’s degree that may lead to a teaching certificate.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended and at which you took classes. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Attending a California community college or another two-year college is an essential step toward earning an Associate degree. A degree in an education-based major with transferable credits may qualify you to enter certain four-year colleges as a Junior. Pursuing and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Education may lead you to a teaching credential.
  4. Some aspiring teachers choose to use their Early Childhood Education or Child Development Associate Degree to start working with pre-school children. These degree-holders are eligible for employment as teachers in early care and education programs, including child care centers, preschools and Head Start classrooms.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree …

A Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution is essential to qualification for a California Teaching Certificate. If you want to teach in California and already have a Bachelor’s degree, the next steps toward teacher certification will often depend on your undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education that included an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you will have fulfilled many essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching license.
  2. Prospective teachers must pass mandatory tests before applying for certification or licensing with the California State Board of Education. To meet California’s Basic Skills Requirement, teaching candidates can take and pass either the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies is an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Many certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you received a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied the academic requirements recommended by many credential programs. Majoring in a specific subject commonly taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. California teaching candidates who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in a major other than Education, or who have not finished a Teacher Preparation requirement, must complete a Teacher Preparation Program at a regionally accredited institution. Some of these are Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs and some are combined with Master’s in Education degree programs.
  6. Once you have successfully completed all academic and experiential requirements, you are ready to begin the multi-phased application process that will lead to your certification as a California educator.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program

If you have a Master’s degree in Education, your major coursework may have included a Teacher Preparation Program. If your Master’s degree major is not Education, a Teacher Preparation Program must be completed. You can move forward in a few different directions once you have a Master’s degree.

  1. Some universities in California offer a Master of Arts in Education blended with a Teaching Credential program. Acquiring a Master of Science in Education or a Master of Arts in Teaching can lead to a credential in secondary education and post-secondary education. These majors typically include Teacher Preparation coursework and lead to educator licensure in California.
  2. If you want to begin your teaching career shortly after completing all of the coursework, passing all required tests, and fulfilling the student teaching requirement, the next step is to apply for your teaching certificate. Contact the California Department of Education to request information and an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. California has a variety of Educational Doctoral Programs. Gather information to discover the best school and program for you.