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Northern California Teaching Credential Programs

California requires that all prospective teachers complete a teacher credential program. Read this guide to learn more about the different programs available in northern California so you can discover the ones that best suit your plans.

Anyone interested in becoming a teacher in California must complete a teacher credential program that focuses on the area in which they plan to teach. Schools in California offer a wide variety of programs, such as elementary education in multiple subjects and special education. Take a look below to learn more about the programs offered at five different schools in northern California.

University of California - Santa Cruz

At the University of California - Santa Cruz, students choose between two Master of Arts programs. These programs are intensive, full-time, and are completed in 12 months. The M.A. with Elementary (Multiple Subject) Credential is for students interested in teaching school at the elementary level. Students who plan to teach at the middle school or high school level enroll in the M.A. with Secondary (Single Subject) Credential program. Students can choose from nine different subjects, including English, social science, and biology. Students in either the Multiple subject or Single Subject credential program can add a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish to their degree.

University of San Francisco

The University of San Francisco offers programs leading to a Master of Arts degree with a teaching credential. There are three main M.A.T. credential programs: Single Subject, Multiple Subject, and Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. Each program focuses on teaching students how to develop curriculum and typically requires at least 34 credits to complete. The university also offers several other M.A.T credential programs, such as Teaching Reading, Urban Education, Mild/Moderate Education Specialist, and Catholic Education.

Sonoma State University

Students at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park choose from six different teacher credential programs: Multiple Subject, Single Subject, Primary Education Specialist, Clear Induction Education Specialist, Reading and Literacy, and Administrative Services. All are preliminary credentials except for Clear Induction Education Specialist, which is for students who already have a credential and experience. Students can apply to a these programs if they already have a bachelor's degree or are currently working towards one at Sonoma. Depending on the program, students my combine a credential with a Master of Arts in Education.

Stanford University

The Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) is a full-time program that is completed in one year. The school's small size allows for individual attention and collaboration between students. Students interested in teaching elementary education complete the program to receive a Master of Arts in Education with a Multiple Subject credential. Those interested in teaching middle or high school will receive a Master of Arts in Education with a Single Subject credential. Both programs combine coursework in with hands-on clinical work as a student teacher.

Humboldt University

Humboldt University in Arcata offers prospective teachers the choice of four different credential programs: elementary education, secondary education, special education, and educational leadership. Each program requires 45 units or more, including fieldwork, and can be completed in one year. The secondary education program can be completed online, while the other programs are completed on campus. Students interested in teaching middle school or high school choose a single suspect for their secondary school credential. Humboldt offers 11 options, including English, chemistry, art, mathematics, and world languages.

Teacher Credential Resources

Completing a teacher credential program is the first step to becoming a licensed California teacher. Study.com has resources for you to find out more about what is required and to help you prepare for the exams:


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