Are you a person who loves learning, being in an educational environment, and would love to influence the next generation? Teaching may be the career for you.
Each state has its requirements regarding licensing, education level, and experience when hiring teachers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California has more than 280,000 fewer public school teachers.
The California School Boards Association also noted that California needs roughly 100,000 teachers to provide high-quality education to the state’s students.
The shortage has significantly impacted the study of science, math, special education, and English as a second language.
This guide will help you learn the steps and critical information key to building a rewarding career teaching in California.
Is Teaching the Right Career for You?
Are you looking for a job with a great work-life balance? Teaching will fit you perfectly— especially if you’re passionate, patient and would love a job with continuous learning.
To thrive in teaching, you need great concentration skills, good communication skills, and have adequate subject mastery.
Most teachers view teaching as a vocation and not just about money. But teaching jobs offer stability and extra benefits of long vacations.
As a teacher, you will be involved with your students, their parents, and the surrounding community.
Compensation and benefits for teachers also vary by state, for instance, $45,574 in Mississippi to $87,275 in California.
State Requirements for Teaching In California
Each state has different requirements when it comes to teachers.
These requirements are often based on the current situation; for instance, a state experiencing a dire shortage of teachers might have fewer requirements than the rest.
Teaching requirements can also differ depending on the level you want to teach (primary, secondary, or high school).
Here are several requirements that you need to fulfill to teach in California.
1- Get a Bachelor’s Degree
All states require that their teachers hold a bachelor’s degree to be certified to teach.
Some of the key learnings and skills from a bachelor’s degree program that make a teacher qualified for the job include:
- Critical Thinking – The program equips you with the necessary thinking skills that enable you to consider the best interests of your students while remaining within the institution’s goals and standards.
- Patience- By learning how to be patient, you will be able to accommodate a variety of cultural backgrounds, intellectual abilities, and learning styles.
- Communication Skills: As a teacher, you are expected to possess effective written, physical, and verbal communication skills. The program equips you with solid communication skills, ensuring that your lesson materials and concepts are explicit as you present them.
- Leadership Skills-With efficient leadership skills, you can advance more readily to senior positions like the principal. The program teaches you how to practice leadership skills inside and outside the classroom.
Some of the bachelor’s degree programs in education include:
- Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Bachelor of Special Education
- Bachelor of Math Education
- Bachelor of Science Education
- Bachelor of Social Studies Education
- Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
2- Complete an Accredited Teacher Preparation Program
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing must approve an accredited Teacher Preparation Program in California.
Accreditation means that the program has attained the required standards of quality and effectiveness in teacher preparation.
Enrolling in an approved teacher preparation program to gain authorization to serve in California’s public schools would be best.
3- Gain student teaching experience
Before being allowed to manage a classroom, you must gain classroom experience.
The internship should be 120 hours long in a state-approved school district.
4- Pass a background check
A background check is an investigation of an individual’s history to confirm their background information in education, knowledge, and experience and that they have no criminal record.
States expect both private and public school employers to conduct finger-print based background checks on aspiring teachers.
To be employed to teach in California, you must pass the background check.
5- Get Certified
Each state has different certification processes for teachers.
Once you have passed your background check and have all other requirements in place, you can apply for teacher certification to teach in California.
You must ensure you have met the following requirements;
- Earned a bachelor’s degree
- Completed and accredited teacher preparation program
- Competed in 600 hours of in-class hands-on experience
- Passed a finger-print based background check
- Taken and passed required California state exams
- Acquired a recommendation from your teacher preparation program
An initial teaching certificate will be valid for five years before renewal.
Consider getting a master’s degree
Many states now require that their teachers hold a master’s degree or enroll in one in the first five years of teaching.
Consider getting a master’s degree since it gives you a competitive advantage over other candidates aspiring for the same position as you.
Alternative Route to Teaching In California
In addition to the traditional path outlined earlier, California offers an alternative route to teacher certification. This alternative route allows individuals with non-teaching backgrounds to become certified teachers.
The alternative route in California typically involves completing an approved teacher preparation program.
These programs are designed specifically for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree but do not have a background in education. They provide coursework and practical teaching experiences to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for teaching.
The time required to complete the alternative route varies depending on the program and the individual’s availability. However, it generally takes less time compared to the traditional route.
While the traditional route often involves earning a bachelor’s degree in education (which takes around four years) followed by a teaching credential program (additional 1-2 years), the alternative route can be completed within a shorter timeframe, usually ranging from one to two years.
Teachers of Tomorrow helps you become a teacher through the alternative route. It is particularly suitable for people who want to change their career or professionals seeking to transition into teaching.
Getting Hired as a Teacher
Your education, certifications, and in-class experiences are the most significant in getting hired as a teacher in California.
But various things also play a critical role in your getting hired.
Polish your CV
To have an effective CV, you will need to tailor it to each job ad.
This you can do by checking what most schools in the state require from their teachers and then revamping your CV accordingly.
Upgrade Your Skillset
It would help to acquire the relevant skillset for classroom management and curriculum instruction.
Here are some of the skills you need:
- Collaboration- Your interviewers are interested in seeing how well you can collaborate with other personnel in the institution. From the school counselor to the nurses to the psychologists.
- Effective Communication- to be an effective communicator, you should be able to adapt your teaching style to every learner. Other than clarity in speaking, listen keenly when students respond to your questions.
- Adaptability- you should understand when your lesson plans and materials need to be adjusted to fit the needs of the learners. Also, learn to modify ideas and strategies to accommodate different intellectual abilities and learning styles.
Begin your job search
Your considerations here include the school type, the size, the region, your qualifications, and your teaching goals. Also, getting a job in an underserved school maybe come with ease and added incentives.
To find teaching jobs in California State, search through job sites in California.
Also, contact the district you are interested in serving directly via email or phone and check if they are hiring.
You can also, send your resume to schools that you wish to teach in, even if they are not currently hiring; they may reach out to you in the future when hiring.
Join a professional organization and network
Professional organizations and networks are valuable to you as a teacher.
Here are some organizations and networks in California that may help you network with other educators in the state;
- California Teacher’s Association (CTA)
- California Federation of Teachers (CFT)
- California Teachers Empowerment Network
Ace your job interview
Each teacher must successfully pass an interview before being hired. Here are a few tricks and tips to acing that teacher interview:
- Learn about the institution and the position– Learn about the duties and responsibilities of the job, the qualifications, and the institution with which you want to get hired.
- Prepare responses for common questions– Understand the position, prepare answers to the most expected interview questions.
- Prepare an education portfolio– This is an essential interviewing tool that shows your educational talents. It may contain samples of lesson plans, test sheets, and learner progress records for any previous engagements.
Career Outlook & Salary in California
Many states, including California, are experiencing teacher shortages. The demand has seen teacher salaries increase in California over five years.
Also, a California bill seeks to address the teacher shortage by increasing teachers’ salaries by 50 percent over the next seven years.
Become a Teacher In California
Teaching in California offers a competitive salary while giving you an opportunity for professional development.
Other benefits include; health coverage, term life insurance, options of a diverse retirement package, and disability allowance.
Becoming a teacher in California is a gratifying career, so once you meet all the requirements, you can start your journey of making a difference in the next generation’s lives.