Are you interested in launching a career where you can make a difference impacting the lives of young people? If so, a career in teaching may be for you. Being a teacher is rewarding, yet challenging. Plus, according to the Department of Labor’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, education is a growing field.1 In fact, there is actually a teacher shortage in California, where over a hundred thousand teachers—or one-third of the workforce—may need to be replaced in the next decade.2
The basic steps for becoming a teacher and gaining teaching certification are:
To teach in a K–12 setting, you typically must have a bachelor’s degree; however, the requirements will vary based on whether you teach grade school or secondary school, and whether it’s in a public or private school.
Brandman University Top Education Master’s Programs
If you already have a bachelor's degree, a master’s degree in education can increase your teaching job prospects and lead to higher wages.3 Furthermore, a master's degree can also be beneficial if you plan to continue on with a higher-level career in education, perhaps as a principal.
Are you interested in teaching gifted students, special education students, or English as a second language (ESL) classes—or perhaps in helping students as a counselor? Specialty teacher certification programs may help. Options in California include the following:
After earning your teaching degree, you will need to earn a teaching credential, which entails taking exams. In California, you'll need to pass the following:
Traditionally, completing a bachelor's degree in teaching takes 4 years. Now, with online and nontraditional educational options there are accelerated paths, as well as options to complete your degree more slowly if you need to continue working while in school. Many students choose online programs because it enables them to balance other responsibilities such as jobs or family.
If you already have a bachelor's and are looking to complete a teaching credential, it can be completed in less time. For example, Brandman offers a graduate certificate as well as several credential programs for California residents, which can be completed in a year to 18 months.
The bonus is that many teaching programs require you to complete practicums or supervised student teaching as part of the program, so you can gain hands-on experience while completing your education.
In 2014–15 the average salary for California public school teachers was $72,535.4 That number will depend on the setting you teach in, how long you've been a teacher, and where in the state you live. California cities with higher teacher salaries include:
The average teacher salary varies based on whether you are teaching in a public school or private school. Private school teachers often make less money, but enjoy better benefits and work environments.
As with most careers, teacher salaries rise with experience. According to the California Department of Education, beginning teacher salary in 2014–2015 was $44,507.8
For a more in-depth look on a national scale, this infographic from the U.S. Census Department highlights the lifetime earning potential for completing a degree in education. These numbers are generally higher in California, where teacher salaries surpass the national averages.
Becoming a substitute teacher can take a somewhat different path from becoming a teacher. To substitute teach in California, you must do the following:
Due to the shortage of teachers and substitutes in the state of California, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) offers the Emergency Substitute Teaching Permit for prospective teachers that completed at least 90 credits of course work from a qualifying accredited college. The Emergency Career Substitute Permit may also be an option for substitutes that have taught at least 90 days per year for three consecutive years.
Salaries range depending on where you live and how often you work as a substitute teacher. However, the mean wage for substitute teachers is as follows:
Due to the teacher drought in California, more subbing opportunities are available. Some districts even offer paid intern programs that allow students to work in the classroom while earning their credentials.
As previously noted, the number of teaching jobs is growing and should continue to grow over the next few years. The Department of Labor estimates that education, training, and library occupations will increase by eight percent through 2024. The career outlook for teachers is strong due to some of the following factors:
Retirement: A large number of older teachers will retire by 2024, creating a need for new teachers to fill those jobs.1
Further Opportunities in Education: With a teaching degree, you could go on to become a school counselor or become an educational recruiter. There are many transferable skills that teachers can apply to alternative careers.
Online Teaching: As more and more students attend online schools, including elementary and secondary students, the need for teachers versed in online teaching will likely grow. As such, Brandman University also offers degrees in teaching the 21st century learner.
No matter the path you choose, having a teaching degree can help you find a rewarding career.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Education, Training, and Library Occupations, www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/home.htm
2 California Teachers Association, www.cta.org/en/Issues-and-Action/Retirement/Teacher-Shortage.aspx
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm
4 U.S. News & World Report, http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/high-school-teacher/salary
8 California Department of Education, http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fr/sa/cefavgsalaries.asp