Teaching in California

(Jul 20, 2011)
Essential information about credentials and procedures for those who wish to become teachers in California.
  • The educational system in the U.S. is highly decentralized. Each state has its own rules for a Teaching Credential. In general, a teaching credential is obtained in one state can be converted into those of another. In some cases, additional tests/courses may be required.
  • It is not possible to teach in California public schools without a Teaching Credential, even for short-term substitute teachers. There are two types of Teaching Credentials: Multiple Subject, on order to teach at elementary school level; and Single Subject, in order to teach a discipline from the K to 12 level. To acquire the TC, one must already be a resident of the US. There are at least two ways to acquire the TC: one may earn a Teaching Credential in college; or, one may earn a Teaching Credential by passing a state exam that is offered from two to six times a year. Also required is a supervised teaching practice (student teaching) of at least 150 hours within the Educational curriculum (one semester).
  • All the information in: www.cde.ca.gov/pd/bt e www.cde.ca.gov/pd/bt/gc and especially in www.ctc.ca.gov.In these sites, very rich, one finds alternative routes to those indicated herein, which is useful for residents of CA who have earned their degrees in the USA (BA, MA). Also included are the procedures for converting Teaching Credentials earned in another state.
  • In order to obtain the Single-Subject Credential in Italian in CA, there are two alternate ways: Attend courses at CSU Long Beach (even online); or, pass two (sub)tests: one at the Italian Cultural Society of Sacramento (only for language competency; www.italiancenter.net) and the other administered by the California Teacher Credentialing Commission on general linguistics, history, literature, geography, culture. The two tests are similar to those for other languages, called CSET.
  • The teacher training needs to be taken only once, whatever may be the number of Credentials awarded. Currently, teacher training in Italian can only be earned at CSU Long Beach.
  • Recognition of the Italian degree is obtained from an agency indicated by the California Department of Education (on their site under the recognition of foreign degrees). Among the many agencies, for instance, one can visit the following site: www.wes.org. We must point out that the Italian high school lasts five years. The agency indicates the necessary documents (original certificate with exam results or courses passed, and a translation of the documents from Italian to English. Typically, it takes three to six weeks. The Italian degree may be evaluated as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Master of Arts (MA), depending on the specific case under exam. The five-year degree plus the five-year high school curriculum should be considered an equivalent of an MA.
  • Recognition of the Italian credential is possible only if it is earned by the SSIS in Italy, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding we signed with the California Department of Education in 2007. Otherwise, after the recognition of the college degree, it is necessary to have one’s Italian courses verified by Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) (this process only applies if one wants to obtain a Teaching Credential in Italian). If one is eligible, one proceeds to the Educational courses that will still be required, otherwise one also has to include the linguistic part. After completing this process, one earns a Preliminary Credential. To obtain the final Teaching Credential, one must pass within the next five years other tests (much less complex exams: for computer use, first aid, and the U.S. Constitution).
  • In any case, one must pass the CBEST. THE CBEST is an examination lasting five hours (and is administered six times a year in various locations in California). It includes: an English comprehension test, a test of English composition (two passages of 20 lines of high complexity '), a mathematics and statistics test (equivalent to two years of the Italian scientific high school, as well as additional basic knowledge of statistics). Partial passing of the exam is acceptable with a subsequent passing of those parts of the exam not initially passed: www.ctc.ca.gov/help/default.html.
  • Credentials are not required to teach in colleges and universities. To teach at this level an MA is required, especially for language teaching and introductory culture courses, whereas the Ph.D. is most always required for those institutions that offer anywhere from a minor in Italian at the BA level to graduate courses that lead to the MA and Ph.D. in Italian. Information about positions open in Italian is available both on the institutions’ websites, as well on the website of the American Association of Teachers of Italian (www.aati-online.org).


Consulate General of Italy
San Francisco 


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