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The state of California has a two-tier credentialing structure.  A preliminary credential is the first document issued  after  an  individual meets basic credentialing requirements. The preliminary credential is issued for a maximum of five years depending on the type of certification sought. A clear (or standard) credential is issued when all credential requirements have been met.

There are two main categories of teaching credentials used in CA: the Single Subject Teaching Credential and the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. The Single Subject Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach a specific subject in departmentalized classes, such as those in most middle schools and high schools, and is similar to a ‘specialist’ credential in use by some states. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom, such as the classrooms in most elementary schools, or in team-teaching settings of core subjects. World Language educators typically seek a Single Subject Teaching Credential under World Languages – Languages Other than English.

Based on the candidate’s educational background, one of the following 5 routes can used to obtain a teaching credential, whether single of multiple subject: California Prepared, Out-of-State Prepared, Outside the United States Prepared, Peace Corps Experience, or Private School Experience. Additionally, a few other certification options are available for candidates seeking certification in nontraditional subject areas or with nontraditional educational backgrounds, which are outside of the Single/Multiple Subject Teaching Credentialing structure. World language educators may find the Sojourn teaching credential or the Exchange certified employee credential particularly suited to their needs.

For additional information about certification, please, consult the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing


This is a list that the state maintains of approved credentialing programs. Use this list to search for credentialing programs that fit your needs. There is a filter function on this list that displays approved language credentialing programs. The state may periodically change this list. Credential-seeking individuals must attend a program from this approved list to receive credentials in the state of California.

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