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Elementary School Teachers

Elementary School Teachers educate a group of students ranging from kindergarten through 8th grade. This is one of the fastest growing occupations in California, with a projected growth of 25% from 2000 to 2010.

One of the reasons of the high demand is the California Class Size Reduction Program which was approved in 1996.

With this legislation, schools reduced the class size for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades down to 20 students.

An estimated 23,500 new elementary school teaching positions were created as a result, according to California Department of Education.

The demand is high in most areas of California, even more so in remote rural areas and poorer urban communities. There is also a demand for teachers who are specialized in different areas such as bilingual/cross cultural and special education.

And there is a critical shortage of Substitute Teachers in California.

Here's what you need to know to become an Elementary School Teacher in California:

1) Requirements in California

2) How to get your California Preliminary Credential

3) How to get your California Professional Credential

4) Duties and Responsibilities

5) Show me the money!

6) Schools


How to Become an Elementary School Teacher in California

1) Elementary School Teachers Requirements in California

In California, you are required to get a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential because you will have to teach several subjects in one classroom in elementary schools.

To teach in California's public schools, you must first obtain a Preliminary Credential which is valid for 5 years. Within those 5 years, you must complete a set of requirements and obtain your Professional Credential.

The requirements are set by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Once you have completed all requirements for certification in California, you may apply for and receive a California teaching credential.

2) How to get your California Preliminary Credential

To obtain this credential, you must satisfy ALL the following requirements:

  1. Have a Bachelors or higher degree.
  2. Complete a Multiple Subject Teacher Preparation Program including successful student teaching
  3. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
  4. Satisfy the Developing English Language Skills, including Reading requirement
  5. Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA).
  6. Complete a course in the U.S. Constitution, or pass an examination given by a regionally-accredited college or university
  7. Pass the appropriate subject matter examinations.
  8. Complete foundational computer technology course work

3) How to get your California Professional Credential

As mentioned earlier, the Preliminary Credential is only valid for 5 years. Within that 5 years, you will need to complete the requirements to obtain your Professional Credential.

You will have to complete a Commission-approved Professional Teacher Induction Program through an approved school district, college or university or private school. The Induction Program includes the advanced study of health education, special populations, computer technology, and teaching English learners.


4) Duties of Elementary School Teachers

An elementary school teacher's main duty is to obviously teach and educate. But that's not all they do. Teachers also spend much of their time on non-teaching duties such as attending faculty meetings, establishing lesson plans, meeting parents, etc.

Their list of duties may include:


5) Show me the money!

According to the Employment Development Department, the average annual elementary school teachers salary is $48,850 in California.

The starting salary for elementary school teachers range from $32,000 to over $35,000. The middle range salary is from $48,000 to over $57,000. The most experienced teachers salary range from $55,000 to over $70,000.


6) Teaching Schools

For the Preliminary Credential, you can satisfy the Multiple Subject Teacher Preparation Program at Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University.

You can also request information from schools online, which is much easier.

Request info from Education and Childcare Schools in CA

For the Professional Credential, you can complete the Commission-approved Professional Teacher Induction Program at the Fresno Unified, Central Unified and Clovis Unified School Districts.