Math Teacher Requirements in California

Jan 02, 2019

If you're interested in math and want to teach children, you might consider becoming a math teacher in California. In this article, we'll look at the courses and testing you'll need to prepare for a career as a math teacher.

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In California, math teachers will be given a 5-year preliminary credential until all requirements for a clear credential are met. Below, we'll look at the education and testing requirements you'll need to earn that preliminary credential.

Requirements for Math Teachers in California

Average Salary for Math Teachers in California* $74,270 (Elementary School), $70,100 (Middle School), $74,940 (High School)
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: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016)

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

The first step to earning certification at a math teacher in California is to complete your education. You'll need to earn, at minimum, a bachelor's degree. It may be a wise decision to check with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website prior to attending college to ensure that your program is approved by them. As all schools are different, you'll find that selecting a program that will work for you is really a preference. Do you prefer to study education with a focus on math or would you rather focus on math and worry about the education part secondary? Some schools even have specific secondary math education tracks.

Along with your math education, you'll need to complete a few other education requirements. Your education program should include a course on the U.S. Constitution, a comprehensive reading instruction course, a technology course, and a CPR/health education course.

Step 2: Complete Required Exams

These steps may not always be in order, but taking the necessary exams is typically the second step to getting preliminary credentials. Prospective teachers must prove their basic skill knowledge with the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). The CBEST is made up of three sections: reading, math, and writing. You are given 50 multiple choice questions in reading and math, and two essays must be completed in the writing portion. Test takers are given four hours to complete the exam. In order to pass this exam, you must score at least 123, with no section receiving below a score of 37.

You will also want to complete the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) exam in mathematics to teach math. This test is also broken down into three subtests. The first two are made up of 35 multiple choice questions and 3 short-answer responses. You'll be given 150 minutes to complete each of these. The final subtest must be completed in two hours and is made up of 30 questions and two constructed answers. You must earn a passing score of 220 for each subtest.

California Math Teacher Certification Sources

Studying for certification exams can be a bit overwhelming while completing your education. We would like to compile some resources that can help you prepare for the CBEST and CSET examination.

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