Pathways for Transfer Students


Guide for Transfer 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: Research undergraduate majors and Subject Matter Competence.

Subject Matter Competence:The State of California requires that anyone pursuing a credential meet “Subject Matter competence”. This means that you have to prove to the state that you know the subject area that you will be teaching. Depending on the type of credential you want to pursue, you can meet Subject Matter competence by either taking the appropriate exams (CSET) OR by completing an approved Subject Matter preparation program through your undergraduate (BA/BS) degree.

Undergraduate Majors: While a degree in the area you want to teach is not required to earn a credential, we recommend you research undergraduate majors that when completed will either give you Subject Matter competence or provide content area preparation for the appropriate Subject Matter exam(s). Meet with a Subject Matter advisor to review the courses you will need to obtain subject matter competence or preparation as part of your bachelor’s degree. Do this as soon as possible to make the most out of your time as an undergraduate at SSU.

Step 3: Take 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. You should try to fit the pre-requisites in during your junior or senior year.

Basic Skills: The Basic Skills exam 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 also take a U.S. Constitution course or exam. Courses that meet this requirement are usually Political Science 1, Government 1 or a series of U.S. History classes. 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 4: Seek and document experience working with children and/or adolescents.

Field Experience: 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 minimum of 45 hours of experience working with students within the age group of the credential you are seeking. This requirement must be met and documented to apply to 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 and to the University

Make sure to complete the School of Education Application for the Credential Program of your choice AND the University Graduate Application via CalState Apply. Both are required for admission into a credential program. Check our Admissions page and CalState Apply for the latest application information.