K-12 Teaching


We offer a quartery workshop in collaboration with the UC Davis School of Education that addresses each stage of the application process. No sign-ups are required. 

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Meet with an advisor to discuss your plans for obtaining a K-12 teaching credential. Whether you have just started exploring your options, or are currently applying to programs, we welcome your questions. Appointments are 30 minutes and are made online below or by visiting or calling 117 South Hall, 530-752-4475.

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What is a teaching credential?
A teaching credential, defined by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, is a certification that authorizes you to teach in a public school, either at the elementary level (multi-subject credential) in a self-contained classroom with the same students all day, or middle or high school level (single-subject) in which you teach a particular subject in a departmentalized classroom. A teaching credential program trains you as a future teacher through a combination of classes and student teaching.
Is teaching for me?

The best way to know is to get into a public school classroom! Take EDU 100 at Davis to get hands on experience in a classroom, preferably in the grade level and subject you want to pursue in a credential program. You will need these classroom hours regardless as a requirement to apply to programs. Also talk to current teachers to see what they enjoy and find challenging about their work (informational interviews).

What major do I need to be a teacher?

There is not a set major for either a multi- or any of the single-subject credentials. What demonstrates your “Subject Matter Verification” is how you perform on the CSET exam. You may also be able to verify your subject matter knowledge by completing an approved subject matter program during your undergraduate studies (for single-subject credentials). If your major is quite different than the subject you are pursuing for a single-subject credential, you might have to invest more time in preparing for the CSET. 

How do I choose a credential program?

Factors to consider include the curriculum and program design, the faculty, classroom placement (location), funding assistance, and financial cost, among other factors. You might also consider pursuing a dual program in which you earn a Master’s in Education along with a credential. Not all programs are dual programs.


How do I get classroom experience?

As a UC Davis student the easiest way to gain classroom experience is to take EDU 100, as they help to place you in the classroom. You can also approach classroom teachers outside of the structure of this course, but make sure to document the hours you spend in the classroom with the classroom teacher in any case, so you can submit those hours to credential programs.

What kind of relationships should I develop, and with whom?

When you are in the classroom make an effort to develop a relationship with the classroom teacher. You will need a letter of recommendation from this individual. Also develop relationships with your professors so you have options for academic references.  

Which exam(s) should I prepare for?

Which exams you need to take depends on the credential type you are pursuing. You must meet the “Basic Skills Requirement” (usually through passing the CBEST) and the “Subject Matter Verification” (usually through passing the CEST). Read more about required exams here: www.ctcexams.nesinc.com. Whether you need to have passed these exams before applying depends on the program, so consult the specific requirements for each school. Some programs allow you to pass CSET exams after you have entered the program.


What does my timeline look like?

In general, your junior year you are pursuing internships that get you inside the classroom. You should plan to prepare for (and possibly take) required exams over the summer (CBEST/CSET). You will apply to credential programs over winter and spring, and credential programs usually begin in summer/fall. 

What does the application require?

Applications usually require the following (but make sure to consult specific program requirements): online application, statements/essays, letters of recommendation, required number of documented classroom hours (usually in your grade level/subject of interest), “Basic Skills Requirement”, “Subject Matter Verification”, and possibility certain prerequisite courses, depending on your credential type (U.S. Constitution, Educational Psychology, Fundamental Mathematics). See http://courses.teach.ucdavis.edu for information on what UC Davis courses meet course prerequisites. Programs usually conduct interviews as well. 

What is a statement of purpose?

The statement essay is usually 2-3 pages, typed, and double-spaced. However, there are variations on this format. For instance, some programs request that you respond to a series of specific questions. Unless otherwise indicated, the central theme of your statement should be the reasons why you are interested in becoming a teacher and the reasons why you are interested in attending a specific institution. 

What kind of letters of recommendation should I get?

Letters can come from faculty, administrators, internship supervisors, classroom teachers, or employers. Dual programs (credential/master’s) often prefer that one letter come from a professor. 

What should I think about when accepting an offer?

Before accepting any offers, you should be able to visit the campus and meet with the program—professors, current students, and staff. Take notes on your visits and conversations to drawn upon later as you compare and contrast offers. As you reflect about the fit and culture of each program, also compare and contrast the funding packages.

How will I finance my credential?

Credential programs are usually full-time, meaning most students are not able to work while they are earning their credential. Programs are typically financed through personal savings, loans, grants, and scholarships. You can also research federal loan forgiveness programs.

What does success in a credential program look like?

Success in credential programs takes many forms, but can include: successfully managing both coursework and fieldwork, integrating yourself in your school site and developing relationships with the school’s teachers, students, and parents, designing engaging and effective lesson plans, and receiving favorable evaluations when you are observed by assigned faculty.