How to Become a History Teacher in California

Jan 02, 2019

History teachers offer students a look into the past while preparing for their futures. In California, history teachers will need to obtain a bachelor's degree and complete several state certifications.

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As one of the most populated states in the country, California has an expansive middle and high school student population. In 2016, the California Department of Education reported 2,763,044 students in junior high or middle schools and high schools. History teachers provide valuable information to these students on their educational journeys.

California History Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2016)* $70,100 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special Education)
$74,940 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special Education & Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education with a focus in history
Testing Requirements CBEST and CSET: Single Subject

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

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Individuals interested in teaching history to students in grades six through twelve generally obtain a bachelor's degree in history or education from an accredited university or college that includes a teacher preparation program. Students in this field usually pursue a focus in history, but may also pursue related disciplines like social studies, political science, or anthropology. As part of their undergraduate training, students will need to complete a student teaching assignment, which usually lasts the duration of the school's semester.

Step 2: Obtain Certification Requirements

Upon graduation, aspiring teachers in California must fulfill several certification requirements in order to teach. These certification requirements include the following examinations:

  • California Basic Educational Skills Test: Known as the CBEST, this examination consists of three sections: writing, mathematics, and reading. It is a common way to fulfill the California basic skills requirement. Students can take one section at time or all three in one testing session. They must earn a total passing score of 123, which equals a score of 41 on each section. Alternatively, students are able to score a 37 on one or two of the sections, so long as their overall score equals 123.
  • CSET Single Subject Teaching Credential: History teachers will need to take the examination for social science. The examination consists of three sections, which can be taken individually or all at once. Students will need a passing score of 220 on each section. The preliminary credential is good for five years. Teachers can then pursue a clear credential, which offers applicants several options for achieving it. It should be noted that the Single Subject Teaching Credential can also be achieved by successfully completing an accredited social science teacher training program. Students that complete a social science teacher training program will take courses that include sociocultural foundations of education and classroom management and classroom management and differentiated instruction.

Along with the state certification requirements, individuals must successfully pass a fingerprint check administered by the California Department of Justice, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Certification Resources for California History Teachers

Students interested in becoming a history teacher can better prepare for their certification exams by utilizing the following lessons.

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