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How to Become a Teacher

A teacher and 2 students laughing during graduation

How to Become a Teacher

There are two routes to becoming a teacher: the traditional route and intern teaching. If you take the traditional route, you will enroll in a teaching program at a college or university (typically as a full-time student). You will be a student learning the art of teaching by spending time in a master teacher's classroom and gradually transitioning from observer to practitioner. However, the master teacher remains the teacher of record. Becoming an intern teacher allows you to teach full time as the master teacher of a classroom while you work towards earning your credential, usually in night classes. You must complete certain requirements first (see next section) and obtain a full-time teaching job prior to entering an intern program

The Traditional Route


  • You get to work closely with a teacher in his/her classroom to learn how things are run before you become a master teacher with your own classroom.


  • Most of the programs are set up for full-time students, which can pose a problem for those who cannot afford to go without a full-time job for the length of the program.

How to Pursue the Traditional Teaching Route:

Take a look at these lists of programs approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

You can select what type of credential you'd like to obtain, and then search by location and type of university to discover which colleges and universities offer the program(s) you're interested in.

Here are several local colleges that offer teacher credential programs. This is not an exhaustive list and we encourage you to research all options. Be sure to contact the colleges of your choice for specific program details. You are welcome to explore the websites listed below using the clickable links to obtain information on their specific program requirements.

Intern Teaching


  • This allows you to work full time, making a teacher's salary while working towards your credential.


  • Because you are not going to school full time, these programs are often longer than traditional alternatives.
  • You do not have the advantage of watching and learning from a master teacher. You are immediately given your own classroom.

How to Become an Intern Teacher

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) has set specific guidelines outlining the requirements to be "Intern Eligible":

  • Possess a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited Institution
  • Complete a Pre-Service Program 
  • Meet the Basic Skills Requirements (i.e. passing the CBEST or one of these alternative methods)
  • Complete Subject Matter Competence (i.e. passing the CSET)

Once you meet ALL of the above requirements for a Single, Multiple, or Education Specialist Teaching Credential, you are "Intern Eligible" and can begin applying for teaching positions. Once you've secured a teaching position you can enroll in an Intern Credential Program like one of the ones listed below. Be sure to contact the College/Intern Program of your choice to get specific details. This is not an exhaustive list, and you are welcome to search for other programs.