College of Education

Department of Liberal Studies

How to become a teacher

Step 1: Which grade/s do you aspire to teach?

In California public schools, the two most common teaching credentials are the Multiple Subject (Elementary Education) credential, required to teach k-8 grades, Single Subject (Secondary Education) credential, required to teach high school, and Special Education credential, required to teach students with disabilities.

Step 2: Earn your bachelor's degree:

If your goal is to become a K-8 teacher, the undergraduate major that prepares students to enter a multi-subject teaching credential program is the Liberal Studies major. It is possible to major in other fields and become a teacher but this is the CSUMB major designed for future teachers. If your goal is to become a high school teacher, it is preferred that you major in the subject that you wish to teach in high school. For example, if you wish to become a high school biology teacher, the best preparation is to major in biology.

Before graduating with your bachelor's degree, you will want to have prepared for and passed two state exams:* the CBEST and the CSET Multiple Subjects exams. (More info below).

Step 3: Earn your teaching credential:

There are many different credential programs that each have their own nuances. Most programs include post-baccalaureate course work (taking classes) and student teaching (or co-teaching) and require 12-18 months to complete.

*State Exams:

Though each credential program is different, most programs require students to have already passed the CBEST and CSET exams before admission. One important step in becoming a teacher is to recognize when the exams must be completed, then preparing for and passing the exams. CSUMB provides several different support mechanisms for students aiming to do this.

Free online CBEST preparation program

Information about CBEST, CSET and other state exams

CSET Prep program

Teach California

Assumption of Loans for Education (APLE)

California Teachers Association

Future Educators of America

National Education Association

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing