How to Become a French Teacher in California

Foreign language teachers provide a broader educational experience for students. In California, French teachers will need to complete a bachelor's degree, an approved training program, and pass state certification examinations.

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Parlez vous Francais? If so, you might be well-suited to teach French in a California school. In 2016, California released its employment projections for the 2014-2024 decade. The state expects to add over 37,000 teachers in K-12 schools during that time. We'll explore the steps you need to take in order to secure your place among them.

California French Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2016)* $74,270 (Elementary);
$70,100 (Middle);
$74,940 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field French
Testing Requirements CBEST and CSET: French

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

Step 1: Complete Educational Requirements

Candidates interested in teaching French in California must complete a bachelor's degree and an accredited teacher training program. California has two options for choosing a teacher training program:

  • Blended: With this program, candidates will complete a bachelor's degree and student teaching assignment, as well as earn their single subject teaching credential in French.
  • Post-bachelor's degree: After candidates complete their bachelor's degree, they will take a fifth year of courses, typically two-three semesters, and complete a student teaching assignment.

Coursework for a degree in French may include phonetics, intermediate and advanced composition, literature surveys, and business French.

All teaching candidates in California will need to take several courses to meet state requirements. This includes a reading course, computer technology course, and a course (or examination) on the United States Constitution.

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Step 2: Pass Certification Examinations

French teachers will need to fulfill the basic skills requirement, which is often done through passing a basic competency examination French teachers must also pass a subject-specific examination.

The basic skills requirement can be fulfilled by passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test, known as the CBEST. This examination consists of writing, reading, and mathematics skills. Candidates can take the test one section at a time or all together. They will need a combined score of 123 to pass. This equals a score of 41 on each section; however, candidates can earn a score of 37 on one or two sections, so long as the total combined score is still 123.

The second test candidates will need to take is the CEST Single Subject Teaching Credential in French. This test contains three sections, with the first section containing 40 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response ones. The second section also has 40 multiple-choice, but only one constructed-response questions. The final section has 30 multiple-choice questions and six constructed-response questions. Candidates will need a passing score of 220 on each section.

Step 3: Apply for California Teaching Credentials

French teaching candidates must receive a clear fingerprint check from the California Department of Justice, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

After candidate meet all of the educational and certification requirements, they are eligible to apply for their preliminary teaching credential. This preliminary credential is good for five years. The next step is to apply for the clear teaching credential. Candidates can qualify by completing a commission-approved teaching induction program. Alternatively, they can obtain certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Certification Resources for French Teachers in California

French teaching candidates may find this CBEST study guide helpful as they prepare for the examination.

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