How to Renew a California Teaching Credential

From elementary to high school, students need dedicated teachers to help them prepare for the future. In California, teachers must renew several certifications. We'll explore the renewal process.

With one of the largest state populations, California also has one of the largest student populations. The California Department of Education reported 6,228,235 students for the 2016-2017 school year. This total includes students of all ages enrolled in both public and charter schools. With so many students, California needs their dedicated teachers to renew their teaching credentials.

California Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2016)* $74,270 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education)
$70,100 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special Education)
$74,940 (Secondary School Teacher, Except Special Education & Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirement CSET, CBEST, and RICA

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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How to Renew Your California Teacher Credentials

Teachers in the state of California will need to renew position-specific credentials throughout their careers. The California Commission on Teaching Credentialing oversees the process for renewing teaching certifications.

  • Clear/ Level II Credentials: Teachers earn a preliminary credential when they become certified in California. This credential is good for five years. Upon expiration, teachers must obtain a Clear or Level II credential. Both of these credentials must be renewed online at $100 each (plus a $2.50 processing fee) and do not require additional service or coursework requirements.
  • Emergency Substitute Permits: Teachers must renew their emergency 30-day substitute permit online for $100 and a $2.50 processing fee. Long-term emergency substitute permits must be handled via the teacher's employer and only renewed once the individual meets the permit requirements.
  • Child Development Permits: This series of permits are valid for five years. The Associate Teacher Permit, which must be completed via mail, requires 15 college credits that will count toward the Child Development Teacher Permit. The Child Development Teacher Permit and all higher levels requires 105 hours of professional growth activities. The Teacher Permit and all higher levels can be completed via mail or online. Each of these permits will cost applicants $100, with applications submitted online costing an additional $2.50 for processing. It should be noted that individuals who complete the professional development activities in the first three years are eligible to apply for a higher permit level for only $50, as long as they provide proof of their activities.

Teachers are required to obtain fingerprint clearance, known as the Certificate of Clearance (COC), prior to becoming certified to teach. Some employers may require teachers to renew their COC to have a current clearance on file. Teachers may renew their COC online for a cost of $50.00 plus a $2.50 application fee. They must first complete form Live Scan 41-LS and take it to an electronic fingerprint processing location.

The California Commission on Teaching Credentialing offers teachers a valuable reminder service for credential renewal. Teachers who provide their email address to the Commission will receive a reminder notice 90 days prior to the expiration of a credential that can be renewed online.

Teachers are able to renew their credentials one year prior to the expiration date if they have met all of the applicable requirements. Some credentials will not have to be renewed if not specifically required for a teaching position. Teachers may renew these expired credentials at any point if they meet all the requirements.

Certification Renewal Resources for California Teachers

California teachers seeking to renew their child development permits have a variety of options to meet the state's required 105 hours of professional growth activities. These activities include completing CPR/First Aid training or a college course, conducting research, and improving basic skills like writing. Below, we've linked to a few resources that may satisfy some of the requirements.

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