Finding Your Pathway to Teaching
Steps to Becoming a Teacher
If you are a paraprofessional and already working in the classroom, here are the steps you need to take to become a credentialed teacher.
Step #1 - Decide what grade level and subject to teach
Step #2 - Identify what type of credential (licensing) program is best for you
- Although you may already like the grade level in which you are working, you may enjoy working with students of other ages even better. See if you can work in other classes, including special education settings.
- If you want to teach elementary school, proof of subject matter competency is required (verified by passage of the CSET Multiple Subject exam). You will need to teach many subjects and will be seeking a "Multiple Subject Teaching Credential."
- If you want to teach high school, proof of subject matter competency is required (verified by a major in the subject you wish to teach or passage of the Praxis/SSAT/CSET exam). You will need to teach one subject in depth and will be seeking a "Single Subject Teaching Credential."
- If you want to teach special education classes, you must verify subject matter competency by either taking an approved Praxis/SSAT/CSET exam or by completing an approved, single subject program. You will be seeking an "Education Specialist Instruction Credential."
Step #3 - Take the required tests
- Investigate whether your school district has a paraprofessional career pathway program. These programs often offer both academic and tuition support.
- Please refer to the Four-Year College Student section for more information.
You will need to take the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) and, depending on your credential type, other exams.
Step #4 - Apply for financial aid
- File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on time (March 2). The information on this form is used to determine the amount of federal and state financial aid for which you are eligible. Log on to www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information.
- Check out:
- Work Study
- University-Based Programs