California Teaching Requirements For Out-of-State Teachers

Oct 20, 2021

Before beginning work in California, an out-of-state teacher will need either a multiple-subject credential or a single-subject one, depending what age group he or she will be instructing. Additionally, prospective teachers will need to show the state that their education and certification examinations comply with California's standards.

California Requirements for Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2019)* $82,560 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education)
$80,160 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special & Career/Technical Education)
$85,080 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special & Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Basic skills test equivalent to California's CBEST or CSET

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Credentialing Process for Elementary School Teachers

Out-of-state individuals wishing to teach elementary school in California must obtain a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. Those with the multiple-subjects credential may instruct students in all subjects, rather than just certain ones. Individuals will need complete an application for credential authorizing public school service (Form 41-4). The processing fee for this application is $100.00. Proof of the below minimum requirements must be submitted with Form 41-4:

  • Bachelor's degree: Applicants must submit official college transcripts.
  • Copy of one's out-of-state, elementary teaching license.
  • Fingerprint processing: Teachers will need to have their fingerprints taken at a law enforcement agency in their home state.

California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing recommends that teachers also submit the following with Form 41-4:

  • Passing scores on an out-of-state examination that is equivalent to a basic skills test like the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). Such an examination would display applicants' proficiency in such topics as mathematics and writing. It should be noted that teachers will have one year to complete this competency requirement if they do not have it at the time of application.
  • Evidence of two-plus years of work experience with satisfactory performance reviews (if applicable).

Credentialing Process for Middle School Teachers

The state of California does not offer a middle school teaching certification. Therefore, out-of-state applicants should check with the school where they are to teach, as some middle schools require the Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and others require the Single Subject Teaching Credential. As its name suggests, the single-subject credential allows teachers to specialize in a specific subject, such as art, English, math, music or science.

Alternatively, if an out-of-state candidate is authorized to teach both middle school and elementary or high school, he or she must choose the credential that matches the existing certification: multiple-subject certification for elementary school and single for high school.

Both of these credentials require submission of Form 41-4 and verification of the applicant's bachelor's degree, out-of-state teaching license and fingerprinting.

Credentialing Process for High School Teachers

Out-of-state teachers at the high school level will need to obtain a Single Subject Teaching Credential. Like elementary teaching candidates, they will need to complete Form 41-4 and meet the same minimum requirements, except their teaching license must authorize them to teach secondary school.

As with the multiple-subjects credential, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing high school teaching candidates to fulfill the basic skills requirement. For high school teachers, this is often done by submitting passing scores on a basic skills test like the CBEST, and if applicable, evidence of at least two years' full-time relevant teaching experience.

Certification Resources for Out-of-State Teachers in California

If an out-of-state teacher's home state's tests do not meet California's basic competency requirement, he or she will need to take the CBEST or CSET (Multiple Subjects and Writing Skills exams) within one year of receiving his or her credential. The below study guides can help teachers prepare for the examinations.

  • CBEST Test Prep Study Guide
  • CSET Multiple Subjects Subtest I Study Guide
  • CSET Writing Skills Test Prep
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