San Diego Teacher Certification Program Overviews and School Info

Jan 29, 2019

The San Diego area has more than five schools that offer teacher certification programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 20 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

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Teacher Certification Programs at San Diego Schools

Several schools in San Diego offer teacher certification programs. This article looks at three that are no more than 20 minutes from the city center and at the programs they offer. There is also a table of information about each school, including enrollment figures, tuition, the graduation rate and the campus setting. Following this is a brief paragraph about a few more area schools with teacher certification programs.

  • Point Loma Nazarene University offers master's degrees in teaching and special education at its Mission Valley campus, about four miles from downtown San Diego.
  • Nearly 6.5 miles from downtown is San Diego State University. The school offers a baccalaureate program in liberal studies, single- and multiple-subject teaching credential programs and master's degree programs in reading and K-8 mathematics education.
  • Alliant International University offers master's degrees in both teaching and TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages). This school is about 15 miles from downtown.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals who are looking for a school need to consider many factors. The following table spotlights important facts about these three institutions and can help with making a decision.

Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego State University Alliant International University
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 4,417* 35,158* 3,780*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
'Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $34,600* $7,460, in-state;
$19,340, out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2016-2017) 92%* 59%* 80%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 76%* 35%* 80%*
Retention Rate (2017) 89% for full-time students* 89% for full-time students and 67% for part-time students 40% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began studies in fall 2011) 74%* 74%* N/A*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU)

PLNU is a Christian school with three regional centers in California, including the Mission Valley campus in San Diego. This campus offers master's programs in teaching and special education.

Bachelor of Arts (Education)

Point Loma Nazarene University's School of Education offers a variety of bachelor's degree programs in teaching. Students may choose from subjects including art education, biology, exercise science, languages, history and music .

Master of Arts in Teaching

Students who already have a bachelor's degree and wish to prepare for entry-level teaching positions can enroll in this program. The first phase of the degree program consists of a preliminary teaching credential. Credentials are available in single subject, multiple subject and special education. The single-subject credential is typically designed for those who wish to teach in middle or high school, while the multiple-subject credential is geared towards aspiring elementary school teachers. The special education credential is offered as a mild/moderate preliminary credential and a moderate/severe preliminary credential for teachers who wish to work with students who have disabilities. Students also complete an internship where they work under the supervision of a full-time teacher.

Master of Arts in Special Education

This degree program stems from the education specialist credential (also known as the special education credential) and offers students more in-depth study in research theory and teaching practices. Coursework offered in the program allow students the ability to earn an educational specialist credential. Topics covered in this degree program include advanced behavior analysis, leadership, due process and instructional adaptation for students. Students also complete fieldwork.

San Diego State University (SDSU)

Founded in 1897, SDSU is the oldest university in the San Diego area. The university also has the largest student body population in the region and offers over 180 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Through the Division of Undergraduate Studies, students may complete a bachelor's program in liberal studies. The School of Teacher Education offers master's programs in education and preliminary teaching credential programs.

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies

This program is typically for students who wish to become elementary or middle school teachers. Students may choose an option from the following: bilingual education, math and science, linguistics, performing arts and special education. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Students who pass this exam qualify for admission into a California credential program.

Master of Arts in Teaching (Focus on Mathematics and Science)

To earn this degree, students must complete 24 course credits (or 30 if they do not already have a minimum of six recent, graduate credits in education). The program admits new students biannually during the fall semester on years ending with even numbers. Towards the end of the program, students complete a comprehensive exam and a final project.

Master of Arts in Reading Education

This degree program prepares students to teach language arts in schools and reading centers from the pre-kindergarten to the community college level. Students also learn how to develop curriculum and assess research outcomes. Students may complete this degree program along with a California Reading Specialist Credential. Students can complete both the degree and the credential program with 31 course credits. The School of Teacher Education also offers a 13-credit reading and literacy authorization as well as a specialist credential in reading and literacy leadership.

Multiple Subject Credential Program (K-6)

Admission requirements for this preliminary credential program include completion of a bachelor's degree. Students start out by taking nine credit hours of prerequisite courses. After which, students complete 48-49 credits hours on subjects such as mathematics, reading, social studies and science teaching for elementary school, classroom management and foundations of psychological education. Typically, students complete this credential concurrently with a bachelor's degree program. The university also offers single-subject preliminary credential programs in areas such as art, mathematics, physical education and science.

Alliant International University

Established in 2001, this private school is a merger between the United States International University and the California School of Professional Psychology. The school currently has seven other campuses throughout California. The San Diego campus is located about 15 miles from downtown. The school offers teaching programs through the Hufstedler School of Education.

Master of Arts in Education in Teaching

This online program requires a minimum GPA of 2.5, two letters of recommendation, a personal essay and a potential interview with a program director for enrollment. Students will then complete 30 credits in topics like technology in education, assessment methods, public schools in an urban setting and issues in a school environment. A research seminar and a practicum project will also need to be completed.

Master of Arts in Education in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

This degree program consists of 10 courses and provides training for practicing and aspiring English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers. Students can complete coursework entirely at that the San Diego campus or they may take online classes. By completing this program, students gain skills to prepare for employment in adult, elementary or secondary school education.

Other School Options

Located about seven miles from downtown, the University of San Diego offers a bachelor's degree program in liberal studies. This program is designed to prepare students to become elementary school teachers. Another option is National University located in La Jolla about 16 miles from downtown San Diego. This school offers several undergraduate and graduate teaching degree programs such as a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Arts in Education.

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