Career Change

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by msjiao, May 8, 2007.

  1. msjiao

    msjiao Rookie

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    May 8, 2007

    Hello everyone.

    I will be moving to California in the next week.

    I'd like to transition career paths (I recently gained admission to law school but I am not taking any of them) and work my way towards becoming a certified teacher.

    I graduated with a BA from UVA and have two years of professional experience in the legal industry as a paralegal. During those two years, I was a volunteer ESL teacher through my church.

    Can someone please provide me a detailed synopsis of what I need to do to become a certified teacher in CA?

    Thank you very much!
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 8, 2007

    You've posted in Elementary Education: do you mean to teach elementary school? If so, be warned that the market is tight - though if you're fluent in another language, you can probably qualify as a bilingual teacher, and that may open some doors for you.

    A point of terminology: for reasons not clear to me, California teacher don't get certified or licensed, they get credentialed.

    The Source Authority for credentialing questions would be the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing, http://www.ctc.ca.gov. Here's a good place for you to start: http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/requirements.html.

    It also makes a great deal of sense to check in with your local county office of education and to become a regular visitor at your local school of education (I believe all the California State University campuses have one). There are generally people in both places who can give you guidance that will suit your situation.

    In broad outline, the credential candidate needs to prove basic skills and subject matter competence and go through a credentialing program.

    The basic skills test is the CBEST, http://www.cbest.nesinc.com, which tests reading comprehension, basic math, and essay writing. If you got through the LSAT, you should find CBEST almost ridiculously easy. If you're going into elementary teaching you have the option of taking the brand-new CSET-Writing exam instead, since CSET-Multiple Subjects explicitly tests math and implicitly tests reading comprehension; unless you have a credential program lined up and ready to accept you, it would probably make sense to hold off till we get CSET-Writing takers' feedback from the upcoming May administration.

    The subject-matter tests are in the CSET series, http://www.cset.nesinc.com. Credential programs vary in whether you are required to have passed CSET before entry; by state law, though, you cannot obtain a preliminary credential without having student taught and you can't student teach without having proved subject-matter competence.

    For more information about CBEST and CSET exams, come visit the relevant subforums on the Examinations for Teachers forum.
     
  4. msjiao

    msjiao Rookie

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    May 8, 2007

    Dear Teacher Groupie,

    Wow!

    Thank you very much! The information is incredibly overwhelming, however, helpful.

    Yes, I hope to teach elementary school. Thank you also for the point of clarification on terminology.

    Can I ask a few more qusetions for some clarification?

    1) Before I begin any grad/masters teaching program, I must pass both the CBEST and CSET? Does one study for these tests on their own (like we do for the GREs, LSATs, etc.)?

    2) How long does the typical route to becoming "credentialed" take for a prospective elementary school teacher?

    3) My fiance is in the military and we are at our first assignment in California. Do you have any advice for someone in my situaion (i.e. moving into a new state, conducting a career chage, and then moving again in few years)?

    I appreciate your time in reading this and I am even more appreciative for your insight!

    Thank you!
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 8, 2007

    As to CBEST, nearly all programs require that you have passed it before admission and most want it passed before you apply. CBEST spells out to "California Basic Educational Skills Test" and it is not a misnomer. One can study on one's own; one can use one or more books; one can also find classes, not to mention a good deal of discussion here on A to Z. The best bet with CBEST is to get it over with - the scores are good forever. The next test date is June 16.

    As to CSET (except CSET-Writing), whether one needs to have passed before applying or being admitted varies from program to program. The California State University campuses as a class require CSET before application; I think campuses of the University of California do as well; I know National University with its dozens of campuses doesn't; there are many, many other providers of credential programs, and in all cases, it's prudent to check with the program itself.

    Where in California will you be?
     
  6. SenoritaL

    SenoritaL Rookie

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    May 8, 2007

    With your husband in the military, check out the Department of Defense Schools, I believe it's dode.gov if not, google it. They have several national schools and overseas- once you link up with them you can stay with them, even if your husband moves, or has to go to another base!
     
  7. msjiao

    msjiao Rookie

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    May 9, 2007

    Dear TeacherGroupie,

    Again, my thanks for your all your help and answering my questions.

    To answer your last question, I will be in Fairfield (northern California in Solano County).

    About the credential programs, do you have any insight on which route to take? I've read in another helpful reply that one can either apply for a program (at a college/university) or an internship (I'm guessing this is done at the school district level)?

    I'm also concerned about my job prospects. Is it typically harder to find a job as an elementary school teacher? Besides teaching on particular subject (e.g. math, science) is there any way to better prepare myself to stand out/be hired faster?

    Thank you very much!
     
  8. msjiao

    msjiao Rookie

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    May 9, 2007

    Dear SenoritaL,

    Wow! I never knew about the DoD schools!

    I will check it out online, though.

    Have you gone through a similar path yourself (i.e. earn your credentials through a DoD school)?

    Are you a military wife, as well? If so, do you mind sharing some of your experience with me?

    Thank you so much!
     
  9. SenoritaL

    SenoritaL Rookie

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    May 9, 2007

    I actually work in a catholic school. However, my principal is a retired DoD who used to run the DoD schools overseas, so he is actually the one that suggested it to me ( I teach Spanish, and I'm always up for moving!).

    I actually went through an alternative certification program to become licensed to teach. I graduated with B.A.'s in Int'l Politics and Spanish. I couldn't figure out what I "wanted to be wehn I grew up" so I joined teh Transition to Teaching program- which basically recruits professionals to teach in urban school settings. I took a summer full of graduate courses/teacher prep programs, and began teaching in SE washington d.c.

    After paying my dues in the chaos that was DC, I moved to a PreK-8 Catholic School. Now that I have worked at this school for two years, I have picked up some extra duties, including teachign 5th grade science, and i've really fallen in love with my 5th grade class.

    I've accepted a Position as Assistant Dean of Students at a private school in the district, and am going to give it a try, nice to do something different for a bit, while I work on certification to teach 5th grade.


    Best of luck to you!
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 9, 2007

    I don't know the market in Fairfield, msjiao; you should definitely have a chat with the county office of education (I think that's Stanislaus County, though someone who's based up that way will doubtless correct me). Elementary positions in much of the state aren't easy to come by, I'm afraid. Bilingual skills are definitely a plus, though.
     

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