How to Become a Middle School Math Teacher in California

Jul 02, 2020

California is currently looking to increase the number of math teachers in the state, including those in its 1,300 middle schools. Here, you'll explore the required tests and find some helpful study resources in order to pursue a licence to teach math at a California middle school.

Requirements for Middle School Math Teachers in California

Average Salary for Middle School Teachers in California (2019)* $80,160
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Required Field Education or Mathematics
Testing Requirements California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) in Mathematics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

In order to teach math at the middle school level you must have an excellent understanding of math. The acceptable path for this is with a bachelor's degree program. Consider either majoring in education with a mathematics minor or majoring in math with an education focus. Math teachers often go on to teach math in secondary schools because, as a STEM subject, this is a highly valued subject.

Many of the California colleges can guide their students through their education when the intent to teach is known. For instance, some mathematics programs have an education track that focuses more on teaching principles and clinical practice in the classroom teaching real math students. Along with math courses, education courses and classroom practicums, prospective teachers must meet other education requirements to obtain preliminary credentials. Future teachers must also complete course in health (including CPR training), computer science, government, and literacy/English language skills.

Step 2: Pass Required Exams

The California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) is a required test for all California's prospective teachers. This test is made up of three subtests, and you must earn a minimum score of 123 for the three combined subtests. This exam will test you on reading, writing and math. The writing exam tests you with two different essays. The math and reading subtests are each made up of 50 multiple-choice questions. You are given four hours to complete the subtests.

All single-subject teachers will need to take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) exam. For a middle school math teacher, you will need to take the mathematics CSET. Similar to the CBEST, this test is also made up of three subtests. The first test is about number/quantity and algebra. There is a total of 35 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response questions. The second subtest has the same number of questions and tests you on geometry and probability/statistics. Finally, the third section, which has 30 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions, looks at calculus. Each subtest has a cost of $99, and you must earn a score of at least 220 on each.

California Middle School Math Teacher Certification Resources

The CBEST and CSET are two very important exams for those who want to become middle school math teachers in California. The following resources provide important information and study guides to help you study for these specific tests.

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