Dance Teacher Certification in California

With the passing of the TADA! bill, dance teachers will soon be able to be credentialed in California. In this article, we'll look at the current requirements to become a dance teacher in a public school.

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In 2016, California passed a law to include dance as one of the single-subject credentials available to teachers. Here, we'll look at the steps needed to become a dance teacher as of 2018.

Requirements for Dance Teachers in California

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2017)* $36,760 (Preschool)
$66,140 (Kindergarten)
$77,990 (Elementary)
$74,190 (Middle)
$77,390 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Required Field Physical Education or Dance
Testing Requirements California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Physical Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

In California, if you want to become a dance teacher, you have a few options for degree programs. The first choice is a bachelor's degree program in physical education (PE). If possible, including an education focus or making sure that it is on an education track would be most beneficial. Many California colleges make sure that some programs work toward fulfilling the single-subject credential requirements. With a PE program, you'll likely study assessment, health education, kinesiology, exercise benefits, and anatomy. You can also study dance and consider a minor in education. This will give you the education you'll need to teach specific dances, rather than just a background knowledge in team sports. In either instance, you must complete a teaching practicum in the classroom, and your program must include courses in reading, health, computer science, and the U.S. Constitution.

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  • Teaching, Young Children

Step 2: Pass Required Exams

The 2016 TADA! bill, which created the credentialing for dance and theater as single subjects, California is changing the way to become credentialed. As of May 2018, there were no definitive changes made to the testing requirements.

The CBEST, or the California Basic Educational Skills Test, is required for all prospective teachers. The exam has three subtests and tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math; each subtest is individually graded. You must earn no less than a 37 on any one subtest, and the cumulative grade must be over 123. You will have four hours to complete the 100 multiple-choice questions and two essays that span the three subtests.

The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) is where you'll prove your content knowledge. As of May 2018, there is no dance single-subject CSET, though at some point there will be. To work as a dance teacher, you'll sit for the CSET: Physical Education. Like the CBEST, this exam is made up of three subtests that are individually graded. Each subtest costs $99 and requires a minimum score of 220. Subtest I looks at human movement and growth, motor development, and motor learning. You'll have 105 minutes to complete this subtest. Subtest II covers movement concepts, assessment and evaluation, and the sociology/psychology of human movement. You will be given 90 minutes to complete this subtest. Finally, you'll have 105 minutes to complete subtest III, which looks at professional foundations and integration of concepts.

California Dance Teacher Certification Sources

It's best if you have access to some study guides and materials to prepare for the examinations you will take. Since there is currently no dance CSET, we've included a link to help you prepare for the physical education CSET.

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