Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is the TEACH California website?
TEACH California, California Department of Education’s teacher recruitment website, is a very comprehensive and user friendly tool that highlights new web functions and credential changes impacting prospective teachers.

http://www.teachcalifornia.org

What is the difference between teaching in an elementary school and teaching in a middle or high school?
Elementary school teachers teach all subject areas and typically stay with the same students throughout the day. The California State Department of Education establishes the curriculum to be taught in the classroom which includes: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts. Middle/High school teachers teach the subject they are authorized to teach and have specialized in. They will teach a different group of students in different periods of the day. For example, a high school English teacher has probably majored in English (though not always) and must be knowledgeable in composition, grammar, oral communication and literature and will teach only those subjects.
How can I get experience related to teaching while I am attending Pasadena City College?

PCC has internships, classes, and numerous referrals for tutoring and volunteer activities. The Polytechnic Internship is a paid internship and offers direct classroom experience in grades K – 8. Polytechnic’s campus is minutes from the PCC campus and offers a select group of PCC students the opportunities to gain valuable experience of what happens in a classroom, the opportunity to assist in curriculum planning and outdoor recreation activities.
Two courses from PCC’s Education (EDUC) discipline are an ideal foundation for the student considering a teaching career as well as for those already committed.  Students will get a focused sense of what it means to be a teacher in California through their experiences in EDUC 30 Teaching as a Profession, a broad introductory course and EDUC 13 Teacher Preparation Foundations and Field Experience, a course with 45 hours of direct classroom observation.
Additionally, certain General Education courses include education pedagogy relevant for the prospective elementary school teacher: Math 38  Foundations of Elementary School Mathematics, Geol 3 Earth and Space Science, and Physc 3/3L Physical Sciences.
The Teacher Preparation Office, C 350, provides referrals of volunteer and paid positions for the PCC Teacher Preparation student. Please complete a Teacher Preparation Information form at C 350 so that we may have your information as a prospective teacher.

Where are the areas of greatest need for teachers?
Middle and high school science and mathematics teachers and Special Education teachers at all levels are areas of greatest need. A report from Critical Path Analysis of California’s Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation System projects that California will need more than 16,000 new math and science teachers within five years. At the current rate of teacher preparation, California will not meet this demand by a 30 percent shortage. In addition to the traditional option of a Single Subject Credential in either science or mathematics, refer to the section of Frequently Asked Questions which address two new options of a Foundational Level Math or Science Credential.
Are there any new credentials to address the shortage of Science and Mathematics teachers?

Yes.  Due to the acute shortage of middle and high school math and science teachers, two new credentials have been approved by The Commission on Teacher Credentialing: 1) The Foundational Level Math Credential (FLM) and 2) The Foundational Level Science Credential (FLGS).  Their addition promises to ease the current shortage.

What are the Foundational Level Math Credential and the Foundational Level General Science Credential?

1) Foundational Level General Science Credential:
The new Foundational Level General Science Credential authorizes instruction in general, introductory life science, introductory physical science and integrated science courses
The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has reported previously that as many as 20 percent of science teachers are under prepared to teach science in California classrooms.  Of the 80,000 science courses taught in public schools (2006-07), over 43.000 of them were at the foundational level.  An individual with the new Foundational Level General Science Credential (FLGS) would be prepared to teach these courses allowing teachers with a full science authorization to teach more advanced courses.
Depending on the type of credential the individual will earn or has earned, most will need to pass only CSET Science subtests #118 and #119 in order to obtain the Foundational Level General Science Credential. Taking a breadth and depth of science courses beginning at the community college level will help prepare for the test.

2) Foundational Level Math Credential:
The Foundational Level Mathematics Credential (FLM) authorizes instruction in general mathematics, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics and consumer mathematics. Prior to the FLM, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing was awarding approximately 950 Single Subject Credentials in Mathematics annually.  Now, 50% more individuals have been authorized to teach math since 2006-07.
Depending on the type of credential the individual will earn or has earned, most will need to pass CSET Mathematics I and 2 Exams in order to obtain the Foundational Level Math Credential. Taking mathematics courses up to and including trigonometry, pre-calculus and probability and statistics will help prepare for the test. Higher levels of mathematics though would be encouraged as well. 

Will an individual holding a Foundational Level Math or General Science Credential be considered “Highly Qualified” for the purpose of the federal No Child Left Behind Act?
Yes.
What are the qualities of a “good teacher”?

 As with any career, there is not a simple formula. Yet, according to EUREKA, a career software program, successful teachers have: 

  • Ability to communicate and relate well to people
  • Ability to make judgments using knowledge or experience
  • Above average ability to check accuracy
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to use problem-solving skills

Additionally, these attributes contribute to a successful teacher:

  • A strong desire to work with young people as well as to have a positive impact on their lives
  • A willingness to work with students from diverse backgrounds and abilities
  • Ability to be creative, energetic and patient
  • The competence to be organized, work unsupervised, and be willing to implement and maintain discipline
What are the requirements to become an Instructional Aide?

School districts are currently only employing new Instructional Aides who are considered "highly qualified" by the No Child Left Behind educational reform standards. The qualifications are:
1. Complete a 2-year college Associate Degree OR
2. have completed 48 college-level units OR
3. pass a rigorous test created by the individual school district

What is the salary I can expect to earn as a teacher?
According to the Digest of Education Statistics, the average salary for teachers in California is approximately $43,900 and new legislation supports a new minimum beginning salary of $34,000. An average beginning salary of elementary and secondary school teachers in our area is approximately $38,000. However, teacher salaries are established by each school district and therefore you should contact a school district directly for more specific information about salary and benefits.
What if I already have a Bachelor’s degree?
You should contact the four year university first to find out what you will need in order to apply to their teaching credential program. You can only complete a teaching credential at a 4 yr. university or college, not at a community college. Besides the tests that you will need to take before entering a credential program, you may need additional classes. You will be advised if you can take any necessary classes at the community college level. (See frequently asked questions regarding description of CBEST and CSET tests necessary for the Multiple Subject Credential (elementary school teaching) and the Single Subject Credential (middle or high school teaching).
What is a BCLAD Certificate?
The BCLAD - Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development certificate authorizes an individual to teach English Language Learners.. The teacher with a BCLAD certificate has specialized in a language other than English.
What are the requirements to be a substitute teacher?
Certain school districts are allowed to hire substitute teachers students who have completed 90 units of college-level class work and who have passed the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test).It is more common that a substitute teacher would have earned a Bachelor’s degree and have passed the CBEST. You can call a particular school’s district office to find out their required qualifications for substitute teachers.
What kind of Financial Aid is available?
  • A scholarship, a financial gift, is available from organizations and is often based on academic achievement.
  •  A grant, also a financial gift, does not need to be repaid. A grant, such as the CalGrant T, financial aid for teachers, is often based on need.
  • A loan is money that must be repaid with interest.  Some loans, such as the APLE –Assumption Program of Loans for Education - are forgiven in return for a commitment to teach high-need subjects or in high need  areas.

Websites providing financial aid resources:

All students should fill out the FAFSA(Free Application for Federal Student Aid)  The initial deadline each year is March 2. This one application can assist in qualifying for all types of financial aid programs. You can obtain the form electronically at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov or from the Financial Aid office.

What is the TEACH California website?

TEACH California, California Department of Education’s teacher recruitment website, is a very comprehensive and user friendly tool that highlights new web functions and credential changes impacting prospective teachers. 
http://www.teachcalifornia.org

What is the TEACH California website?

TEACH California, California Department of Education’s teacher recruitment website, is a very comprehensive and user friendly tool that highlights new web functions and credential changes impacting prospective teachers. 
http://www.teachcalifornia.org

CBEST

What is the basic skills requirement and how do I meet the requirement?

The California Education Code requires that the prospective teacher planning to teach in public schools must meet the basic skills requirement in reading, writing and mathematics. The CBEST, California Basic Skills Educational Test, was designed to determine whether the future teacher has mastered these basic subjects. It does not determine how well a person is at teaching or communicating subjects to students. There are four ways to meet the basic skills requirement:

  1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) OR
  2. Pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subject plus Writing Examination OR
  3. Pass an approved basic skills examination from another state OR
  4.  Effective January 1, 2009 allows individuals who achieve the designated scores on the California State University Early Assessment Program (EAP) (English and Mathematics sections) or the CSU Placement Examination (English and Mathematics) to have met the basic skills requirement.  Community college students may be less likely to have such score reports if they enter the community college directly after high school.

Website: http://www.ets.org/csu for additional information.

What is the CBEST test?
The CBEST, California Basic Skills Educational Test, tests for basic proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. The test was not designed to test how well a person is at teaching or communicating subjects to students; the purpose is to determine whether the future teacher has mastered the basic subjects themselves.
How do I register to take the CBEST?
Register and download practice tests at: www.ctcexams.nesinc.com
Sample study guides are available at many websites and bookstores.  Check out: www.studyguidezone.com/cbesttest.htm
Website: www.cbest.nesinc.com
(800) 262-5080 24 hour automated information or (916) 928-4001
E-mail: cbestmail@nesinc.com
CBEST Program
Evaluation Systems
Pearson
P.O. Box 340789
Sacramento, Ca 95834

What are the fees to take the CBEST?
$41 for all three sections
When should I take the CBEST?
It is best to take the CBEST after completing Math 15 or Math 38 or higher and after English 1A. It is advisable to take the CBEST before transferring to the university or college. One must obtain a scaled score of 41 in each of the three sections – reading, writing and mathematics. Any or all sections may be repeated as many times as necessary to obtain a passing score, but the full registration fee is charged for each administration.
How long is the CBEST valid?
Once passed, scores remain valid indefinitely for all credentials and employment purpose.

Credential Requirements

What is a Multiple Subject Credential?
It is the type of credential required to teach in public elementary schools, typically kindergarten through 6th grade.
What is a Single Subject Credential?
It is the type of credential required to teach in public middle or high schools, typically 7th – 12th grade.
What is an Education Specialist Credential?
It is the type of credential required to teach persons with mild/moderate disabilities or moderate/severe disabilities including learning disabilities, developmentally disabled, or multi-handicapped.
What is the necessary preparation to become a teacher in California?

In California, preparing to become a teacher involves three separate phases:

  1. SUBJECT MATTER PREPARATION; Coursework can begin at the community college level and is completed after transfer.
  2. PRELIMINARY PREPARATION: Education pedagogy classes and student teaching is completed at the 4 year university level with the exception of any approved Education courses which may be taught at the community college level.  For example, PCC’s EDUC 13: Teacher Preparation Foundations and Field Experience, is such an approved course for many colleges and universities. The teaching credential may be earned while completing the Bachelor’s Degree at some institutions or it may be completed after the Bachelor’s degree.
  3. INDUCTION INTO THE PROFESSION: All students pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in order to teach elementary school must pass the basic skills requirement (see below – How do I meet the basic skills requirement?) and the Multiple Subject CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers).  All students pursuing a Single Subject Credential in order to teach middle or high school must pass the basic skills requirement (see below – How do I meet the basic skills requirement?) and follow one of two routes:
    1. Complete an approved subject matter preparation program for the Bachelor’s Degree, i.e. a. Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics if they wish to teach Mathematics.  (This usually means completing the major in their chosen field with an approved subject matter preparation) OR
    2. Pass the designated subject area of the CSET for the subject they wish to teach at the middle or high school level. For example, is the student did not complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and they wish to teach Mathematics, they would have to pass the CSET in Mathematics in order to prove subject matter competency.
How can I be qualified to become an elementary school teacher?

Initially, you must obtain a Level 1 Multiple Subject Credential which requires:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s or higher degree with a cumulative 2.76 GPA
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) and RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) tests. Students are encouraged to take the CBEST after completing Math 15 or higher and Engl 1A.  It is beneficial to CBEST before transferring to a 4 year university. The RICA will not be taken until after completing reading methodology classes at the university level.
  • Pass the CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers ) in Multiple Subjects
  • Pass the U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses at any graduate level teacher preparation program.
  • Have no criminal record, no felonies or misdemeanors - Certain misdemeanors will not exclude a person from applying for a credential program, while others will. A certificate of clearance is sometimes available, if needed. Applications are submitted to the California Department of Education.
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program (credential program at the university) including student teaching or internship. .  When individuals have already completed their Bachelor’s degree, they may begin teaching with an internship or pre-internship program at a school district in lieu of completing a traditional teacher preparation program. Only a school district can offer this option while the individual is completing certain requirements for the credential.
  • Complete the approved health education, special education and computer technology coursework required for the Multiple Subject credential. This can be accomplished at either the undergraduate or graduate level.
How can I be qualified to become a secondary (high/middle school) teacher?

Initially, you must obtain a Level 1 Single Subject Credential which requires:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree or higher with a 2.76 cumulative GPA
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). Students are encouraged to take the CBEST after completing Math 15 or higher and after English 1A.  It is beneficial to take the CBEST before transferring to a 4 year university.
  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in the discipline you will teach (with approved subject matter competence) OR pass the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) in one of the following single subjects:

    Agriculture
    Art
    Business
    English
    Health Science
    Home Economics
    Industrial and Technology Education
    Language other than English
    Mathematics
    Music
    Physical Education
    Biological Sciences
    Chemistry
    Geosciences
    Physics
    Social Science

  • You will not need to take a CSET if you have completed an approved subject matter program Bachelor’s Degree program in the specific discipline you plan to teach. (i.e., if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics (approved subject matter program), you will not need to take the CSET Mathematics Single Subject exam.)
  • Pass the U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses or pass a test in the subject, depending on the university’s policy.
  • Have no criminal record, no felonies or misdemeanors. Certain misdemeanors will not exclude a person from applying for a credential program, but other will. A certificate of clearance is sometimes available.  Applications are submitted to the California Department of Education.
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program (credential program at university) including student teaching or internship.  When individuals have already completed a Bachelor’s degree, they may begin teaching with an internship or pre-internship program at a school district in lieu of completing a traditional teacher preparation program.  Only the school district can offer this option while the individual is completing certain requirements for the credential.
  • Complete the approved courses in health education, special education and computer technology. These can be completed at the undergraduate or graduate level.
How can I be qualified to become a Special Education Teacher?

Special education teachers teach in the area of specialization listed on the credential in the following settings: special day classes in public schools, special schools, home/hospital settings, correctional facilities, nonpublic schools and agencies, and resource rooms.
To become a Special Education Teacher you must:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree with at least a cumulative GPA of 2.76  or higher.
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). Students are encouraged to take the CBEST test after completing Math 15 and English 1A. It is beneficial to take the CBEST prior to transferring to a four year school.
  • Complete an accredited Education Specialist Credential program in an education specialist category, including student teaching (at the university level)
  • To teach in settings with elementary aged children, pass the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) in Multiple Subjects. For special education settings with middle or high school aged students, there may be the choice of either the Multiple Subjects CSET or the individual Single Subject CSET.
  • Pass the RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) test.
  • Pass U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses or pass a test in the subject, depending on the university’s policy.
  •  Complete the approved courses in health education, special education and computer technology. These can be completed at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Are there any new credentials/authorizations to address the shortage of Special Education teachers?

Yes.  As of January 29, 2009, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved six new add-on teaching authorizations, including one for teaching students with autism spectrum disorders.  The new authorizations can be added to an existing special education credential (Education Specialist Credential) to expand the scope of instruction for current teachers.
The six new added authorizations are:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorders
  2. Deaf-Blind
  3. Emotional Disturbance
  4. Traumatic Brain Injury
  5. Orthopedically Impaired
  6. Other Health Impaired
What are the differences between blended, traditional and internship programs in terms of earning a teaching credential?

A blended or integrated program allows future teachers to take courses in which the subject matter is blended with professional preparation. This provides opportunities for multiple, extended field experiences during undergraduate studies. PCC has blended articulation pathways with several universities. (See “What are the transfer pathways available at Pasadena City College?” below) A student may simultaneously earn their Bachelor’s Degree and Preliminary Teaching Credential.
A traditional program is one where a student first earns a Bachelor’s Degree and then completes a teaching credential post-baccalaureate.  It allows teacher candidates to complete credential requirements through self-contained, graduate level preparation programs.
A pre-internship program provides hard-to-staff school districts with an alternative to Emergency Permits. They allow teacher candidates to teach while completing subject matter and professional preparation. The programs take one to two years plus one to two years of internship. The district provides students with 40 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to assignment of daily teaching responsibilities.
An internship program allows students with a Bachelor’s degree to teach while completing their professional preparation credential coursework. Internship programs are one to two years and require students to complete 120 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to taking on daily teaching responsibilities.. This program is suitable for teacher candidates who may enter the profession after serving in other careers.

Can I teach in California if I have a credential from another state?

Teachers who hold credentials from other states or other countries can have their transcripts evaluated by the International Research Foundation, Inc., (310) 258-9451. Based on the evaluation, these teachers may take tests like the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test), and RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) or take university coursework to qualify for a California Teaching Credential. Generally, teachers from other states or countries do not need to take courses at PCC unless they are improving their English skills.
Teachers who have taught at least three years in other states can apply immediately for a Preliminary Teaching Credential through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The form is available at their website http://www.ctc.ca.gov .
During the teacher’s first year in a California school, he or she must pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test).

CSET

What is the CSET test?

The CSET, California Subject Examination for Teachers, was developed by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as an examination option for proving subject matter competence.
Future teachers in California are required to demonstrate their abilities in multiple subjects in order to teach grades K – 6. 
All candidates for a Multiple Subject credential and typically for the Education Specialist Credential must pass three parts of the Multiple Subject CSET offered in a 5 hours period.
Subtest 1. Reading, Language, Literature, History and Social Science
Subtest 2. Science and Mathematics
Subtest 3. Physical Education, Human Development and Visual and Performing
Arts.
You may take all three parts in the 5 hours or choose to take each individual subtest on three different test dates for the 5 hour period, though you would pay the test fee each time.

Candidates seeking a Single Subject Credential to teach middle or high school must prove subject matter competence by either achieving a Bachelor’s degree in the subject they intend to teach (with subject matter preparation included in the Bachelor’s Degree) or if their Bachelor’s is in a different subject area, they must pass the Single Subject CSET in the discipline they wish to teach.  For example, a person with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics (with subject matter competence) does not have to take a Single Subject Mathematics CSET.

How do I register to take the CSET?
Register and download practice tests at: www.cset.nesinc.com Also, for more practice tests check out: www.testprepreview.com/cset_practice.htm Website: www.cset.nesinc.com (800) 205-3334 24 hour automated service or (916) 928-4003 CSET Program Evaluation Systems Pearson P.O. Box 340789 Sacramento, CA 95834
When should I take the CSET?
Generally, you will take the CSET after transferring to the university, as a requirement to enter a credential program. Once you pass the CSET, it is valid for five years.
What are the fees to take the CSET?
Multiple Subjects Test: $70/test session Writing Skills Test: $36/test session Single Subjects Tests: ranges from $52 - $105/test session
How long is the CSET valid?
Once passed, for 5 years.

Transfer Requirements

What are the transfer pathways available at Pasadena City College?

For students seeking a Multiple Subject Credential (K – 6 instruction typically) or Education Specialist Credential (special education) PCC has developed articulation for blended programs with four California State Universities: CSU Fullerton, CSU Los Angeles (Cal State LA), CSU Northridge, and Cal Poly Pomona University, with one University of California campus: University of California Riverside and with three independent institutions: Mount Saint Mary’s College, Pacific Oaks College and University of La Verne. However, students may transfer to most CSU and UC campuses and many independent universities in order to pursue their Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential in a variety of pathways.

Students planning to teach middle or high school, typically earn a Bachelor’s Degree in the discipline they wish to teach and a Single Subject Credential.  Usually, the Single Subject Credential is earned after the Bachelor’s Degree. However, many universities offer blended programs in Mathematics and Science where the student may earn the Bachelor’s degree simultaneously with the Single Subject Credential. CSULA specifically has a blended program in Natural Sciences, as well as one in Mathematics. Most other CSU campuses and UC Riverside also have blended Mathematics programs and/or are developing blended science programs. Blended English programs are available at some CSU campuses as well.
Contact Dr. Debasaree Raychandhuri at Cal State LA for Mathematics: draycha@clastatela.edu , Dr. Steve Bryant Sbryant@csupomona.edu  at Cal Poly Pomona for Mathematics or Science at UC Riverside for Mathematics.

What are the most common majors in preparing to be an elementary school teacher?
Liberal Studies and Child Development are the most common major choices. Cal State LA also offers Urban Learning and Mexican American Studies majors and CSU Fullerton also offers a Religious Studies major.
How do I know if I am taking the correct courses for transfer?
PCC has articulated pathways with a variety of public and independent universities and are found on the Transfer Tool of www.pasadena.edu under Teacher Preparation Programs. Hard copies are available from the Teacher Preparation Office, C 350 and outside of Counseling, L 104. These transfer pathways are designed for those pursuing a Multiple Subject Credential or Education Specialist Credential in order to teach elementary school. Those students pursuing a Single Subject Credential should refer to Assist.org for requirements by major.
Is it possible to complete a Liberal Studies major online?

Yes, There is a web-based degree completion program through the California State University system. It is administered through CSU Chico with online course work available from both CSU Chico and CSU Sacramento. For more information, go to: http://liberalstudies.calstate.edu.