Pathways for Postbaccalaureate Students

Guide for Graduate Students Interested in Teaching

The School of Education Faculty and Staff at Sonoma State University are delighted you are interested in pursuing a career in teaching! We are here to provide as much support as possible to make sure you understand the process by which a teacher becomes credentialed in the State of California.

This six-step guide is intended to provide the basic information you need to know as a potential teaching credential candidate. Please do not hesitate to contact the Student Services Office in the School of Education at 707-664-2832 or with any questions or concerns.

Step 1: Decide what type of a teaching credential you would like to pursue.

Options are:

Single Subject Credential (to teach a single subject, usually at High School and/or Middle School)

Multiple Subject Credential (to teach in a self contained classroom, usually Elementary School)

Special Education Credential (to teach as a Special Education teacher in Elementary School and/or High School/Middle School)

Step 2: Prerequisites, Basic Skills and U.S. Constitution.

Prerequisites: Some credential programs require pre-requisite courses. Check the appropriate program information sheet for the list of pre-requisites you need to take. You DO NOT need to be admitted into a credential program to take the pre-requisite courses. Prerequisites are offered Fall, Spring and usually summer session.

Basic Skills: This is required of anyone who is pursuing a teaching credential. Please review the "program descriptions" for information on how this requirement can be met. You need to demonstrate you are in progress of passing the Basic Skills requirement to be considered for admission. Requirement must be met in order to start a credential program.

U.S. Constitution: Anyone pursuing a credential in California must take a U.S. Constitution exam or course. If you think you have already taken a course that meets the requirement, check with the credentials office to verify. If you need information about approved courses and/or where to take an exam, contact the credentials office.

Step 3: Meet Subject Matter Competency.

The State of California requires that anyone pursuing a credential meets “subject matter competence”. This means that you have proven to the state that you know the subject area that you will be teaching. You can meet subject matter by either taking the appropriate exam (CSET) OR by having completed an approved Subject Matter preparation program through your undergraduate degree. If you are not sure if you completed a preparation program, check with your undergraduate institution.

Step 4: Seek experience working with children and/or adolescents.

It is important to explore teaching and work with children and/or adolescents in order to make an informed decision about pursuing a career in teaching. A candidate shall have completed a documented field experience of at least 45 hours working with a group of students within the age group of the credential you are seeking. This requirement MUST be completed at the time you apply to the credential program.

Step 5: Research financial aid/scholarship opportunities.

Visit the SSU Scholarship Office to find out about scholarships available for students pursuing a career in teaching. Visit the Financial Aid Office for information about the TEACH Grant program; a program designed for future teachers. 

Step 6: Apply to the School of Education.

Make sure to complete the School of Education Application for Credential Programs AND the University Graduate Application via CalState Apply. Both are required at this time for admission into a residential program. Check our Admissions page and CalState Apply for the latest application information.