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How to Become a High School History Teacher in California

Does history interest you? Would you like to teach it to high school students in California? If so, the following article will help guide you through the process of high school history teacher credentialing in California.

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To become a history teacher in a California high school, you'll need to complete the requirements for a single-subject teaching credential. Below, we'll look at the education and exam requirements to earn that credential.

Requirements for High School History Teachers in California

Average Salary for High School Teachers in California* $77,390
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education, History, Social Science, or related field
Testing Requirements California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Social Science

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

If you're interested in becoming a high school history teacher in California, you must first earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, typically in education, history, social sciences, or a related field. In these degree programs, you may take courses in California history, global studies, geography, ethics, world religion, and historian methods. For the pedagogical side of things, you'll likely study educational psychology, theories of language acquisition, reading and content learning, methods in teaching social studies, and directed teaching. Of course, all prospective teachers are required to complete a classroom practicum, preferably with the subject or grade they wish to teach. California teachers are also required to take courses in reading, computer science, the U.S. Constitution, and health, for a well-rounded education.

In addition to degree coursework, all prospective California teachers must complete an approved teacher preparation program, which includes classroom instruction, assessment of teaching performances, and formal recommendation for credentialing.

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Step 2: Complete Required Exams

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is the first test prospective teachers must take. You must earn a grade of over 37 on each subtest, with a minimum combined score of 123. The three subtests check your basic understanding of writing, reading, and mathematics. Test takers are given four hours to take all three subtests, no matter whether the test is taken on the computer or on paper. The reading and math sections each have 50 multiple choice questions, while the writing section requires you to complete two essays.

The next test you'll need to take is the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) Social Science exam. This exam is also made up of three subtests, with a total of nine constructed-responses and 118 multiple-choice questions. Subtest I covers world history and geography; subtest II covers U.S. history and geography; and subtest III tests you on civics, economics, and California history. You'll be given 135 minutes each for subtests I and II, while you'll be given 105 minutes to complete the third subtest. Should you wish to take all three subtests at once, you'll have six hours and 15 minutes. Each subtest costs $99, and you must earn a score of at least 220 on each.

California High School History Teacher Certification Sources

Prospective social science teachers need to spend a lot of time studying U.S. and world history. In order to prepare for the CBEST and CSET social science exams, we've compiled a list of study guides to help you.

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