How to Become a Health Teacher in California

Health teachers educate students on age-appropriate topics for their well-being. In California, these teachers will need to complete an approved training program and pass several certification examinations.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains that health science is a vital part of students' education. They recommend introducing health education when students begin kindergarten and continue through high school. Health science provides a framework for students to better understand issues like disease prevention, preventing alcohol and drug abuse, and their physical development. In California, health teachers provide students with a comprehensive educational experience. In this article, we'll examine the steps you'll need to take to become a certified health teacher in California.

California Health Teacher Requirements

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

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

Step 1: Fulfill Educational Requirements

Candidates who desire to teach health in the California public school system will need to complete their bachelor's degree from an approved training program. Students can pursue a bachelor's degree in health education with an emphasis on school health. This degree includes coursework in human biology, the health education profession, and community health education theory.

A student teaching assignment is included as part of all undergraduate training programs. Assignments may last for one semester or an entire school year.

Step 2: Complete State Certifications

Once you complete your bachelor's degree, the next step is to obtain your state certifications. California requires that all teaching candidates pass two general examinations and a subject-specific exam for health science.

One of the general requirements you will need to complete is the basic skills requirements. This is often fulfilled by passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), which will demonstrate your reading, writing, and mathematics skills. You can take the test one section at a time or all in one testing session. You will need a score of 41 on each section, for a total passing score of 123.

Most California health teachers will also need to pass the CSET Single Subject Teaching Credential: Health Science. This assessment is comprised of three subtests. The first two subtests each consist of 40 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions. The last subtest has 40 multiple-choice questions, but only one constructed-response question.

Your last step in the certification process is to receive a clear fingerprint check from the California Department of Justice, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

California Teaching Credentials

After you fulfill the certification requirements, you will qualify for your preliminary teaching credential. This is valid for five years. You will then need to apply for the clear credential and will have several options for qualifying. Teachers who completed an accredited training program may be eligible for this credential.

Certification Resources for California Health Teachers

Below are study guides for CBEST and CSET Health Science.

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