CTE Teacher Certification in California

A career and technical education (CTE) teacher has different requirements for credentialing than a traditional classroom teacher does. In this article, we'll take a look at what is needed to work as a CTE teacher in California.

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California career and technical education (CTE) teachers are those who teach vocational and trade classes. Below, we'll look at the necessary steps to earn your preliminary CTE credential for the state of California.

Requirements for CTE Teachers in California

Average Salary for Career/Technical Teachers in California (2017)* $56,410 (Middle School), $74,410 (Secondary School)
Required Degree High School Diploma or GED
Required Field Vocational or Trade Subject
Testing Requirements None

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

The first step to becoming a CTE teacher is to obtain your education. With these types of subjects, hands-on experience tends to be more important than classroom time. For this reason, you'll only be required to earn a high school diploma or a GED diploma to be eligible to apply for credentials.

Step 2: Complete Work Experience

As mentioned before, experience trumps education for CTE teachers. In order to apply for the CTE credential, you'll need experience in one of the several industries, or sectors, that the CTE covers:

  • Agriculture and natural resources
  • Arts, media, and entertainment
  • Building and construction
  • Business and finance
  • Education, child development, and family services
  • Energy, environment, and utilities
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Fashion and interior design
  • Health science and medical technology
  • Hospitality, tourism, and recreation
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Manufacturing and product development
  • Marketing, sales, and service
  • Public services
  • Transportation

You'll be required to have 3,000 hours of work in the industry you wish to teach. It is important to know that this can be obtained through part-time or full-time work, paid or volunteer. So long as you have put in 3,000 hours, you'll satisfy this requirement.

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Step 3: Be Fingerprinted

Every teacher, whether elementary or CTE, in California must be fingerprinted and have a clearance check. California residents can complete the automated fingerprinting process, which is also called a Life Scan. It takes 3-7 days for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the response. Of course, depending on the availability and scheduling of the DOJ, it can take much longer for processing, so be sure to fingerprint with plenty of time before you need to be credentialed.

Step 4: Submit Forms

Along with the receipt for your Live Scan (fingerprinting clearance), you'll also need a few other forms to go with your application. The application (Form 41-4) is essential. Next, you'll need a recommendation and a verification of work both signed by a commission-approved CTE program sponsor. Finally, you'll need the processing fee for your application. The fee for all credentials is $100.

California CTE Teacher Certification Sources

Since there are no required exams to become a CTE teacher, you need not worry about study guides for exams. However, here, we've included sources on the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), should you decide to look into teaching a different subject. Also included are some teacher resources to help you manage your students and classroom.

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