How to Become a Private School Teacher in California

Private teachers in California must meet the requirements of the school at which they wish to teach. We'll look at some of those requirements and the requirements to earn traditional teacher credentials.

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There are over 3,000 private schools in the state of California, according to the California Department of Education (DOE). While the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) does not regulate private school teachers, each school has its own regulations. Here, we'll discuss some of the options if you want to become a private teacher in California.

Requirements for Private Teachers in California

Average Salary for All Other Teachers in California* $47,660
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree (preferred)
Required Field Education
Testing Requirements None

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017)

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

It is important to understand the difference between public and private schools. Private schools are self-governed and not funded by the government. This means that each private school is allowed to select what requirements its teachers will need. While you could feasibly become a teacher at a private school with just a high school diploma, many private schools will expect at least background knowledge in education. Consider earning your bachelor's degree in education, as this is the requirement for any teachers moving into the public sector. Courses in a bachelor's degree program will include content courses, liberal arts education (including courses in computer science, reading, the U.S. Constitution, and health education), classroom management, problem solving, and an in-class teaching practicum.

Step 2: Complete Testing and Certification Requirements

There are no testing requirements necessary to become a private school teacher. However, supposing that someday you may want to teach in a public school or have teaching credentials, you'll need to fulfill a few exam requirements.

The first exam that must be taken is the CBEST. The California Basic Educational Skills Test has three subsections on math, reading, and writing. Between the three subtests, you must earn a minimum passing score of 123. You will have four hours to answer two essays and 100 questions.

Next, if you want to teach multiple subjects, meaning elementary school or additional single subject credentials, you'll need to take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA). This can be completed in two ways: with three videotapes of you teaching in a classroom, or with a computer-based test. The written exam asks for five constructed responses and answers to 70 multiple-choice questions. The cost of the exam is $171, and you must earn a passing score of 220.

The final test(s) you'll want to consider taking are the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). As of 2018, there were 39 single subject exams to take. Each one differs in length and content, but you must always earn a score of 220 to pass.

Certification Sources for California Private School Teachers

Although all private schools in California have their own requirements, the DOE does offer the option to earn credentials based on your private school teaching experience. In order to earn that credential or the traditional teaching credential, you will need to take the CBEST, RICA, and CSET exams. Below are a few sources that can help you study for those exams.

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