Among San Diego County’s largest school districts is San Diego Unified. According to Sandra Huezo, the district’s director of certificated human resources, 70 of San Diego Unified’s 7,228 contract teachers are teaching under provisional-level credentials. Provisional-level credentials aren’t considered full credentials, and include provisional internship and short-term staff permits, Huezo said.

So what does it take to obtain a credential to teach in a California public school? Prospective teachers must complete:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • The California Basic Educational Skills Test, also known as the CBEST, which assesses reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
  • A full teacher preparation program at a California college or university with a credentialing program that’s been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
  • And be recommended to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing by that college or university.

Those who want to teach in elementary school are required to earn a multiple-subject teaching credential, while those who want to teach high school obtain a single-subject teaching credential. To teach special education students, prospective educators need an education specialist instruction credential.

School districts can also request that someone who is in the process of obtaining full credentials be authorized to teach in the classroom under permits with a limited shelf life, such as a short-term staff permit or a provisional internship permit.

What’s a suitable amount of certification to sculpt today’s young minds? Is it a career path you would consider, given the credentialing hurdles?


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