How to Become a Teacher in California Online

With so many opportunities for online learning around, it makes beginning or changing a career in teaching much easier. This article will look at the ways you can become educated as a teacher in California online.

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Online programs in California are offered at various degree and certificate levels. Though online degree programs are available, there are still some aspects, such as testing, that cannot be completed on your home computer. Below, we'll look at some of the online programs for prospective teachers in California.

Requirements for California Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in California* $35,740 (Preschool), $74,270 (Elementary School), $70,100 (Middle School), $74,940 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016)

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Completing education requirements online is quite easy with the amount of colleges and universities now offering online programs. Some of these programs are wholly online, while others are hybrid programs, where online and campus courses make up the program. In either instance, you'll still take important pedagogy and content courses. You'll also need to spend some time in school classrooms, gaining experience with real elementary and/or secondary school students. Degrees are offered online at various levels, and California colleges make sure to keep California credentialing in mind, providing courses and resources to help guide future teachers through the credentialing process. For the state of California, teachers are required to hold a bachelor's degree in education or the subject they wish to teach with an education focus.

It is also important to note that the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) requires applicants to have certain courses taken in their education program. Applicants must have taken courses in reading instruction, the U.S. Constitution, computer technology, and health education. These courses may be offered online through your university, but be sure to check their availability.

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Step 2: Complete Required Exams

There are primarily two tests that future teachers of California must take. The first is the CBEST, or the California Basic Educational Skills Test. This exam is made up of three sub-tests that look at reading, writing, and math. Over the course of two essays and 100 questions, test takers must earn a score of no less than 123 combined. The California teacher credentialing exams must be taken at a testing center, but are all available as computer-based tests. Computer-based test scores are available within two weeks.

Prospective teachers must also take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA). This is offered in two formats, through a written exam in computer format or as a video assessment. The written exam has 70 questions, and five constructed-response questions. The video assessment must contain three videos from the candidate teaching reading in an actual classroom. With each video, there must be an instructional context form and a reflection form. For either of these methods, you must earn a minimum score of 220 to pass.

California Teacher Certification Sources

If you're looking for some resources to help you prepare for these exams, look no further. Below, we've included study guide and test prep links to prepare you for the CBEST and RICA exams.

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