Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Teacher Prep Program and education as a career field.

TEACH California, California Department of Education’s teacher recruitment website, is a very comprehensive and user friendly tool that highlights new web functions and credential changes impacting prospective teachers.

Visit TEACH California

Elementary school teachers teach all subject areas and typically stay with the same students throughout the day. The California State Department of Education establishes the curriculum to be taught in the classroom which includes: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts. Middle/High school teachers teach the subject they are authorized to teach and have specialized in. They will teach a different group of students in different periods of the day. For example, a high school English teacher has probably majored in English (though not always) and must be knowledgeable in composition, grammar, oral communication and literature and will teach only those subjects.

PCC has internships, classes, and numerous referrals for tutoring and volunteer activities. The Polytechnic Internship is a paid internship and offers direct classroom experience in grades K – 8. Polytechnic’s campus is minutes from the PCC campus and offers a select group of PCC students the opportunities to gain valuable experience of what happens in a classroom, the opportunity to assist in curriculum planning and outdoor recreation activities.

Two courses from PCC’s Education (EDUC) discipline are an ideal foundation for the student considering a teaching career as well as for those already committed. Students will get a focused sense of what it means to be a teacher in California through their experiences in EDUC 30 Teaching as a Profession, a broad introductory course and EDUC 13 Teacher Preparation Foundations and Field Experience, a course with 45 hours of direct classroom observation.

Additionally, certain General Education courses include education pedagogy relevant for the prospective elementary school teacher: Math 38 Foundations of Elementary School Mathematics, Geol 3 Earth and Space Science, and Physc 3/3L Physical Sciences.

The Teacher Preparation Office, C-350, provides referrals of volunteer and paid positions for the PCC Teacher Preparation student. Please complete a Teacher Preparation Information form at C 350 so that we may have your information as a prospective teacher.

Middle and high school science and mathematics teachers and Special Education teachers at all levels are areas of greatest need. A report from Critical Path Analysis of California’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation System projects that California will need more than 16,000 new math and science teachers within five years.

At the current rate of teacher preparation, California will not meet this demand by a 30 percent shortage. 

1) Foundational Level General Science Credential:

The new Foundational Level General Science Credential authorizes instruction in general, introductory life science, introductory physical science and integrated science courses. 

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has reported previously that as many as 20 percent of science teachers are under prepared to teach science in California classrooms.  Of the 80,000 science courses taught in public schools (2006-07), over 43.000 of them were at the foundational level.  An individual with the new Foundational Level General Science Credential (FLGS) would be prepared to teach these courses allowing teachers with a full science authorization to teach more advanced courses.
Depending on the type of credential the individual will earn or has earned, most will need to pass only CSET Science subtests #118 and #119 in order to obtain the Foundational Level General Science Credential. Taking a breadth and depth of science courses beginning at the community college level will help prepare for the test.

2) Foundational Level Math Credential:

The Foundational Level Mathematics Credential (FLM) authorizes instruction in general mathematics, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics and consumer mathematics. Prior to the FLM, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing was awarding approximately 950 Single Subject Credentials in Mathematics annually.  Now, 50% more individuals have been authorized to teach math since 2006-07.

Depending on the type of credential the individual will earn or has earned, most will need to pass CSET Mathematics I and 2 Exams in order to obtain the Foundational Level Math Credential. Taking mathematics courses up to and including trigonometry, pre-calculus and probability and statistics will help prepare for the test. Higher levels of mathematics though would be encouraged as well. 

You should contact the four-year university first to find out what you will need in order to apply to their teaching credential program. You can only complete a teaching credential at a four-year institution, not at a community college. Besides the tests that you will need to take before entering a credential program, you may need additional classes. You will be advised if you can take any necessary classes at the community college level. (See frequently asked questions regarding description of CBEST and CSET tests necessary for the Multiple Subject Credential (elementary school teaching) and the Single Subject Credential (middle or high school teaching).

The English Learner (EL) Authorization and Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) is a certificate that authorizes you to provide instruction to English learners. Learn More

Certain school districts are allowed to hire students as substitute teachers in they have completed 90 units of college-level class work and have passed the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test).

It is more common that a substitute teacher would have earned a bachelor degree and have passed the CBEST. You can call a particular school’s district office to find out their required qualifications for substitute teachers.

  • A scholarship, a financial gift, is available from organizations and is often based on academic achievement.
  •  A grant, also a financial gift, does not need to be repaid. A grant, such as the CalGrant T, financial aid for teachers, is often based on need.
  • A loan is money that must be repaid with interest.  Some loans, such as the APLE –Assumption Program of Loans for Education - are forgiven in return for a commitment to teach high-need subjects or in high need  areas.

Websites providing financial aid resources:

All students should fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  The initial deadline each year is March 2. This one application can assist in qualifying for all types of financial aid programs. You can obtain the form electronically at the FAFSA Website or from the Financial Aid office.

Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the CBEST.

The California Education Code requires that the prospective teacher planning to teach in public schools must meet the basic skills requirement in reading, writing and mathematics. The CBEST, California Basic Skills Educational Test, was designed to determine whether the future teacher has mastered these basic subjects. It does not determine how well a person is at teaching or communicating subjects to students. There are four ways to meet the basic skills requirement:

  1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) OR
  2. Pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subject plus Writing Examination OR
  3. Pass an approved basic skills examination from another state OR
  4. Achieve the designated scores on the California State University Early Assessment Program (EAP) (English and Mathematics sections) or the CSU Placement Examination (English and Mathematics). 

The CBEST, California Basic Skills Educational Test, tests for basic proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. The test was not designed to test how well a person is at teaching or communicating subjects to students; the purpose is to determine whether the future teacher has mastered the basic subjects themselves.

  • Register and download practice tests at:
  • Sample study guides are available at many websites and bookstores. Check out: 

More information bbout the CBEST, visit the CBEST Website

It is best to take the CBEST after completing Math 15 or Math 38 or higher and after English 1A. It is advisable to take the CBEST before transferring to the university or college. One must obtain a scaled score of 41 in each of the three sections – reading, writing and mathematics. Any or all sections may be repeated as many times as necessary to obtain a passing score, but the full registration fee is charged for each administration.

Once passed, scores remain valid indefinitely for all credentials and employment purpose.

Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about becoming a credentialed teacher.

It is the type of credential required to teach in public elementary schools, typically kindergarten through 6th grade.

It is the type of credential required to teach in public middle or high schools, typically 7th – 12th grade.

It is the type of credential required to teach persons with mild/moderate disabilities or moderate/severe disabilities including learning disabilities, developmentally disabled, or multi-handicapped.

International Research Foundation, Inc.

Based on the evaluation, these teachers may take tests like the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test), and RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) or take university coursework to qualify for a California Teaching Credential. Generally, teachers from other states or countries do not need to take courses at PCC unless they are improving their English skills.

Teachers who have taught at least three years in other states can apply immediately for a Preliminary Teaching Credential through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

During the teacher’s first year in a California school, he or she must pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test).

A blended or integrated program allows future teachers to take courses in which the subject matter is blended with professional preparation. This provides opportunities for multiple, extended field experiences during undergraduate studies. PCC has blended articulation pathways with several universities. (See “What are the transfer pathways available at Pasadena City College?” below) A student may simultaneously earn their bachelor degree and Preliminary Teaching Credential.

A traditional program is one where a student first earns a bachelor degree and then completes a teaching credential post-baccalaureate.  It allows teacher candidates to complete credential requirements through self-contained, graduate level preparation programs.

A pre-internship program provides hard-to-staff school districts with an alternative to Emergency Permits. They allow teacher candidates to teach while completing subject matter and professional preparation. The programs take one to two years plus one to two years of internship. The district provides students with 40 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to assignment of daily teaching responsibilities.

An internship program allows students with a bachelor degree to teach while completing their professional preparation credential coursework. Internship programs are one to two years and require students to complete 120 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to taking on daily teaching responsibilities. This program is suitable for teacher candidates who may enter the profession after serving in other careers.

Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the CSET.

The CSET, California Subject Examination for Teachers, was developed by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as an examination option for proving subject matter competence.
Future teachers in California are required to demonstrate their abilities in multiple subjects in order to teach grades K – 6. 

All candidates for a Multiple Subject credential and typically for the Education Specialist Credential must pass three parts of the Multiple Subject CSET offered in a 5 hours period.

  • Subtest 1: Reading, Language, Literature, History and Social Science
  • Subtest 2: Science and Mathematics
  • Subtest 3. Physical Education, Human Development and Visual and Performing
    You may take all three parts in the 5 hours or choose to take each individual subtest on three different test dates for the 5 hour period, though you would pay the test fee each time.

Candidates seeking a Single Subject Credential to teach middle or high school must prove subject matter competence by either achieving a bachelor degree in the subject they intend to teach (with subject matter preparation included in the bachelor degree) or if their bachelor degree is in a different subject area, they must pass the Single Subject CSET in the discipline they wish to teach. 

For example, a person with a bachelor degree in Mathematics (with subject matter competence) does not have to take a Single Subject Mathematics CSET.

Register and download practice tests at:

More Information, visit the CSET Website.

Generally, you will take the CSET after transferring to the university, as a requirement to enter a credential program. Once you pass the CSET, it is valid for five years.

Once passed, for 5 years.

Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about transferring from PCC to a teaching program at a four-year university.

Liberal Studies and Child Development are the most common major choices. Cal State LA also offers Urban Learning and Mexican American Studies majors and CSU Fullerton also offers a Religious Studies major.

PCC has articulated pathways with a variety of public and independent universities and are found on the PCC Transfer Tool under Teacher Preparation Programs.

Hard copies are available from the Teacher Preparation Office, C 350 and outside of Counseling, L-104.

These transfer pathways are designed for those pursuing a Multiple Subject Credential or Education Specialist Credential in order to teach elementary school. If you are planning to pursue a Single Subject Credential, refer to for requirements by major.

Yes, There is a web-based degree completion program through the California State University system. It is administered through CSU Chico with online course work available from both CSU Chico and CSU Sacramento.