I plan on serving my country again, by making sure no child is left behind in my classroom.
– James, ELL English and History Teacher  


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How it Works

Not for the faint of heart, an alternative certification program is demanding, yet highly rewarding. Acceptance to a program entails the steps below.

Basic Skills Test: Complete the CBEST test, designed to test reading, mathematics and writing skills that are important for the job of an educator.

Deep Content Expertise: Pass the CSET test, which tests subject area competency in the desired area of instruction or complete a state-approved major in a single subject content area.

Education: Have a B.A. or B.S. from an accredited college or university. Some credentialing programs may have specific GPA considerations.

Pre-Classroom Preparation: Complete an equivalent of a semester’s worth of instruction in pedagogy, classroom management, lesson design, English language learner instruction and more.

Actively Teaching: Be employed with a participating public school district, teaching in the subject area in which you want to earn your credential.

A teacher is first issued an “intern credential” (which lasts two years for general education and three years for special education) during which they are:

  • Actively participating in an alternative certification program
  • Acting as the official teacher of record
  • Working with the support of one or more mentors, including a veteran teacher for the duration of their intern credential
  • Completing all preparation courses offered by the credentialing program, which are taught by experienced, knowledgeable instructors, including current practitioners.

After earning an intern credential, teachers receive a preliminary credential, which lasts a maximum of five years. Within those five years, teachers must complete additional coursework and convert to a Professional Clear credential in order to continue teaching within California’s public schools. A Professional Clear credential is issued when all credential requirements have been completed.

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