California State University, Fullerton

Teaching Credentials


Teaching Credentials


Admission to Teacher Education
College Park Suite 540

Center for Careers in Teaching
Humanities 113

From its earliest days to the present, teacher preparation has been one of the chief missions of the university. Today, California State University, Fullerton offers a full range of nationally accredited and state-approved credential programs leading to careers in education. Students pursuing a teaching credential in California must navigate a number of specific requirements. Credential requirements are established by the Legislature and enforced by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). The Commission also reviews and approves all university credential preparation programs. An academic major in education is not permitted in California, thus students seeking teaching credentials must do so in conjunction with, or after the completion of, a baccalaureate degree program in an academic area outside of education.

CSUF offers programs leading to basic teaching credentials, specialist credentials and services credentials. The specialist and services credentials, described briefly below, are more advanced programs designed to be taken in conjunction with graduate study.

In addition to the $55 CSU Application Fee, all applicants to a credential program at CSUF will pay a $50 Teacher Education Credential Program Application and Processing Fee. Instructions for applying to a Credential Program and submitting the fee can be obtained at the Admissions to Teacher Education Center, located in College Park 540, or by calling 657-278-3352, or visiting the website at

In this section of the catalog, information is presented regarding:

A. Center for Careers in Teaching
B. Basic Credential Programs
C. The Multiple Subject Credential
D. Streamlined Teacher Education Program (Integrated Teacher Education Program)
E. The Single Subject Credential and Subject Matter Preparation Programs
F. Education Specialist Credentials
G. Administrative Services Credential Programs
H. Clinical Rehabilitative Services

Humanities 113

The Center for Careers in Teaching provides up-to-date, accurate information to students planning to become elementary, middle school, high school and/or special education teachers. Undergraduate students are encouraged to go to the center for early academic advising and counseling to best prepare for the credential programs at Cal State Fullerton. The Center for Careers in Teaching provides informative seminars throughout the semester where students learn about the various credential program requirements and how to efficiently blend requirements for General Education, a major and credential program prerequisites. These seminars and the other services provided by the center are geared toward the undergraduate who is planning to enter the teaching profession.

The Center for Careers in Teaching also works with local community colleges to facilitate the transition of transfer students who are planning to become teachers. The center’s staff members meet with community college counselors to develop specific transfer plans for prospective teachers and are available to give classroom presentations upon request. Transfer students are encouraged to attend a seminar at the Cal State Fullerton campus even while attending the community college. See the Center for Careers in Teaching website at for the current seminar schedule.

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In California, there are three basic teaching credentials: the Multiple Subject Credential, Single Subject Credential and the Education Specialist Credential. The Multiple Subject Credential authorizes a person to teach in a classroom where many different subjects are taught by a single individual, such as in elementary schools. The Single Subject Credential authorizes a teacher to teach in a classroom where only one subject is taught, such as a classroom in departmentalized high schools and junior high schools. Thus the person interested in elementary school teaching should pursue the program designed for the Multiple Subject Credential, and the person interested in teaching a specific subject at the junior high or high school level should pursue the program for the Single Subject Credential.
The Education Specialist Credentials are designed for persons interested in working with children and adults with disabilities. Those who work with K-12 students should pursue the Mild/Moderate or the Moderate/ Severe Credential. Persons interested in working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers should pursue an Early Childhood Special Education/Specialist Credential.
In California, a prospective teacher first earns a preliminary credential and then completes a two-year induction program. The preliminary credential is the initial credential for the beginning teacher.

Minimum Requirements for a Preliminary Multiple Subject, Single Subject or Education Specialist Credential
Although it is possible to complete the minimum requirements for a preliminary basic teaching credential along with a baccalaureate degree in four years, it generally takes a strong student with accurate academic advising about four and a half years full time to complete all the requirements for a preliminary basic teaching credential and a baccalaureate degree. The minimum requirements for a preliminary basic credential include:

1. A baccalaureate degree in an academic field other than professional education from a regionally accredited college or university.
2. An approved program of professional teacher preparation, including supervised student teaching and passing teacher performance assessments. A two-semester or three-semester program may be taken during the fourth and/or fifth year of study. Cal State Fullerton offers nationally accredited and state-approved professional preparation programs through the College of Education. Further information about internships, including admission and prerequisite requirements, is provided in this catalog under the Departments of Elementary and Bilingual Education, Secondary Education, and Special Education.
3. Demonstration of basic skills competencies. The most common method is the passage of the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST). Please check with the Admission to Teacher Education Office (College Park 540) for more information.
4. Demonstration of subject matter knowledge appropriate to the specific credential being authorized. For single subject candidates, this can be achieved either by passing a state-approved subject matter examination, which is the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET), or by completing a state-approved subject matter preparation program. Multiple subject candidates must demonstrate subject matter competence by passing the Multiple Subjects CSET. Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe education specialist candidates must demonstrate subject matter competence. Please check with the Admission to Teacher Education (CP 540) or the admissions coordinator for the Department of Special Education for updated information.
5. Satisfactory completion of at least two semester units of work on the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution, or passage of an examination on this area from a regionally accredited college or university, or a B.A./B.S. degree awarded by a CSU campus.
6. Passage of the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), a state-mandated examination for reading instruction. This is required for the Multiple Subject Credential and the Education Specialist Credentials, but not for the Single Subject Credential.
Overview sessions offered by the College of Education are helpful to those students who are interested in applying to a credential program. Schedules for these sessions are available in CP 540 or on the hotline at 657-278-3412 (listen for overview promptings). Overview schedules and podcasts are also available at

Internship Programs - All Credentials
CSUF offers internship programs in Elementary and Bilingual, Secondary and Special Education Credential Programs. Candidates must be enrolled in the credential program prior to seeking an internship credential.

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In California, professional teacher preparation is a two- or three-semester program taken during the fourth and/or fifth year of college; there is no major in education. Since students devote their first three years of work to completing general education, major and subject matter preparation requirements, it is essential that students consider their selection of an academic major carefully.

The Center for Careers in Teaching, in conjunction with various departments, has developed sample academic plans that show students how to efficiently blend the requirements for graduation and admission to the credential program for a wide variety of majors. These plans are posted on the Center for Careers in Teaching website ( According to California law, any major (other than education) can be selected.

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Designed for freshmen planning to be teachers, students in the Streamlined Teacher Education Program (STEP) combine their bachelor’s degree requirements with credential program courses to earn both the degree and the preliminary credential in an efficient, well-planned program. Students in STEP complete the requirements for the bachelor’s degree in either Child and Adolescent Development or Liberal Studies and the requirements for a Professional (preliminary) Multiple Subject Credential (for teaching elementary school) and/or an Education Specialist Credential (for teaching students with Mild/Moderate or Moderate/Severe disabilities at the K-6 level). A STEP option is available in English for students who want to teach English at the high school level.
Students in STEP benefit from early field experience in K-12 classrooms, regular contact with faculty members from their major departments and from the education departments and regular advisement and support throughout the program. Students in STEP also have multiple opportunities to meet and work with other students in the program, facilitating their social connections with other students with similar career aspirations.
Transfer students may also participate in STEP. To be well-positioned to participate in the program, they must seek advisement from their community college counselor as early in their academic careers as possible. Students in this program must take a particular pattern of courses to satisfy General Education Program requirements. Also, community college students may follow the Lower-Division Transfer Pattern (LDTP) for Integrated Teacher Preparation. Transfer students should check the Center for Careers in Teaching website for more information.
For further information about STEP, please visit the Center for Careers in Teaching website at or visit the Center in H-113.

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Although a person seeking a Single Subject Credential may complete any academic major, most people decide to complete the degree major closest to the subject field in which they wish to be authorized to teach. CSUF offers a Single Subject Credential program in each of the following state-authorized subject fields.
ChemistryEnglish (English, Theater)
Foundational Level Math (FLM)
Foundational Level General Science
Physical Education
Social Science (includes History)

To demonstrate subject matter competence, a person must either pass the appropriate state-approved examination (CSET), or complete a state-approved subject matter preparation program. These subject matter preparation programs generally coincide sufficiently with the degree major to make it possible to complete major requirements and subject matter preparation requirements using many of the same courses. But degree programs and subject matter preparation programs serve different purposes; taking one is not a guarantee that you will have satisfied the requirements of the other.
For students seeking Single Subject Credentials, please discuss the option of the test or subject matter preparation program with the adviser for your academic major. CSUF offers subject matter preparation programs associated with many of the above credentials.
Good advising and careful planning are crucial. Transfer students seeking a CSUF subject matter preparation program should seek a transcript evaluation from the adviser in their academic major. Single subject matter preparation programs are in transition because of changes in the state standards. See for current information.

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CSUF offers several state-approved programs leading to basic specialized credentials. These specialist credentials are oriented toward post-baccalaureate coursework and coincide with master’s degree programs. The State is currently revising requirements for the Education Specialist Credentials. Please visit the Admission to Teacher Education website for current information.

CSUF offers the following Specialist Credential programs:

1. Mild/Moderate Disabilities - to teach persons with mild/moderate disabilities. See Department of Special Education, College of Education.

2. Moderate/Severe Disabilities - to teach persons with moderate/severe disabilities or who have multiple disabilities. See Department of Special Education, College of Education.

3. Early Childhood Special Education - to teach infants, toddlers and preschoolers with or at risk for disabilities or developmental delays, ages birth through five years of age and their families. See Department of Special Education, College of Education.

4. Resource Specialist (Certificate of Competency) - to serve as a resource specialist in programs serving special education students, their parents and their regular teachers. See Department of Special Education, College of Education.

5. Reading and Language Arts Specialist - to teach reading to students of diversified grade and ability levels and to assist all teachers in being better reading teachers. See the Reading Department, College of Education.

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CSUF offers the following Administrative Services Credential programs:

1. Administrative Services (Preliminary Level) - the first step of the two-step administrative services credential structure, authorizing service as a school site administrator, principal or other administrative officer of a school district. See Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education.

2. Administrative Services (Professional Level) - the second step of the two-step administrative services credential structure. See Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education.

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1. Clinical Rehabilitative Services Credential in Language, Speech and Hearing -provide services to students with disorders in language, speech and hearing. See Department of Human Communication, College of Communications.

2. Special Class Authorization - to become a classroom teacher to students with severe disorders of language. See Department of Human Communication, College of Communications.

3. School Nurse Services Credential – to become a school nurse. See Nursing Department in the College of Health and Human Development.

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