Path for single subject teaching credential in CA if you already have a degree?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by aviphysics, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. aviphysics

    aviphysics Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2013

    I looked through all the forum descriptions and this seemed like the best place to ask. Sorry if I posted in the wrong spot.

    I am interested in teaching high school math and science in Sacramento CA and I already have a Ph.D. in physics. I would appreciate any advice on where to start and about how long it will take to get from here to there. Really, any advice would be very helpful.

    Some of you might wonder why someone with a Ph.D. would want to teach high school. I don't really have a great explanation other than it has always been something I really wanted to do. I had a great Ph.D. math teacher when I was in high school, so I know it is not unheard of.

    Thank you very much.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 8, 2013

    Welcome to A to Z, aviphysics.

    California's a bit unusual among the states in that one generally gets a credential not through bachelor's degree coursework but by going through a program after the undergrad degree. The full-time standard credential program at Cal State Sacramento, if it's like most of the other CSUs, probably runs three semesters and includes student teaching.

    Given your background and the fact that you're interested in teaching math, you might do well to phone the Sacramento County Office of Education and make an appointment with a credential analyst to find out what you need to do and what additional options there might be.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 9, 2013

    Teacher Groupie is your best resource here.

    So I'll add my welcome. Physics teachers are very difficult to find... good ones practically impossible. So, even in a bad job market, your odds are probably good.

    Best wishes!
     
  5. aviphysics

    aviphysics Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2013

    Thank you both for your advice. I had initially tried to figure this out on my own and just got bogged down trying to decipher all the acronyms. Hopefully round 2 goes better than round 1.
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 9, 2013

    You're welcome, aviphysics. Let me recommend getting the basic-skills requirement out of the way: the standard way to do that is CBEST, though there are alternatives, and the scores are good forever.
     
  7. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Sep 9, 2013

    CSU Sac also offers a 2 semester program, but it's basically 8am to 8pm, student teaching in the morning and classe all afternoon. I took a year off work and did it. If that's an option for you, I recommend it.

    The basic steps to getting a credential are...

    1. Take CBEST
    2. Take CSET in any subjects you want your credential in. Physics would have a separate test from Chem, etc.
    3. Apply to credential program. I would apply then take CSET. You can work on passing it during the program, just all parts have to be passed in order to get your credential.
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 9, 2013

    The CSUs in my neighborhood require CSET and CBEST for entrance, and have done so for some years; since by state law one must show subject-matter competency before doing one's official student teaching, this allows those CSUs to start student teaching in the first semester rather than holding off till the second or third.

    The tests you'll need, aviphysics, are here: http://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/tests.asp.

    - CBEST is basic skills: reading comprehension, math, essay writing. It's available in computer-based and paper-based forms; paper-based is lots cheaper but computer-based is more convenient and doesn't require writing with a #2 pencil. Since CBEST scores are good forever, please just take it as soon as practical so you get it over with. Please don't read more into the math questions than is there: they really ARE that simple.

    - CSET exams are subject-matter exams.

    * The exam in science is a bit complicated. What you'd take for physics would depend on what else you're willing to teach: those who want to teach ONLY physics take CSET Science subtests III and IV in physics and get the Science (Specialized) credential in physics; those who want to teach physics and general science take the two general science subtests plus the physics subtest III (and then to add another science such as chemistry, take that science's subtest III). There's also a Foundational-level Science credential for which one takes just the general science subtests, but I think you're unlikely to be interested in that. Being credentialed in general science authorizes one to teach physical science and life science classes on the level of approximately ninth grade or below; each specialty-area credential (physics, chem, geoscience, biology) authorizes one to teach coursework up through AP level in that specialty area, and they can certainly be combined. Testing time is five hours, no matter how many subtests one takes.

    * CSET Math is the only secondary-level subject-matter test in California that's given only on computer. There's also a Foundational-level option here: one takes subtest I (number theory and algebra) and subtest II (geometry and statistics) to be authorized to teach math classes at the level of algebra II and below. Subtest III (calculus and history of math) gets one the full math credential, teaching coursework up through AP calculus. One signs up for one subtest at a time (though there's nothing except seat availability - and perhaps common sense! - to prevent a person from signing up for Subtest III at 8 in the morning, Subtest I at noon, and Subtest II at 3 pm, all on the same day). Each subtest is decidedly challenging.
     
  9. aviphysics

    aviphysics Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2013

    What do you mean by 5 hours regardless of the number of tests? Do you have to do all of the tests in that time, or can you schedule multiple sittings? (For instance, if you wanted to do both the math and science tests)

    In terms of difficulty, it seems hard to imagine any test more challenging than some of my graduate exams. Not that I would ever take any exam lightly.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 10, 2013

    You can't really mix math with anything. CSET Math is given only online; Subtest I is allotted two hours (plus a quarter hour for sign-in and tutorials), Subtest II gets the same, Subtest III gets 2.5 hours (plus preliminaries), and this all happens at a computer-based test center.

    The five-hour session comes into play, in your case, for the CSET Science subtests. Let's assume you're going for the regular physics credential: on Nov. 2 you could take just CSET Science Subtest I, or just CSET Science Subtest II, or you could sign up for those plus CSET Science Subtest III in physics, or any other permutation you can think of. You will have five hours of testing time whether you take one subtest or all three or anything in between, and this will be at a test site with a herd of other people taking various CSET exams. None of them will be taking single subject math, however.

    Mixing credential areas at a given test administration raises a different set of considerations. I doubt anyone is permitted to take more than three CSET secondary subtests at a time (unless one or more of them were CSET English, but that's because CSET English consists of four subtests all of which must be passed to earn the one English authorization). That is, you could probably take the two general science subtests plus the physics subtest in November and then tackle two or three of the other CSET Science subtests in January - but I don't think you'd be allowed to take the general science subtests plus physics plus biology. I honestly don't know whether you could combine the general science subtests plus, say, CSET English Subtest III, though I can tell you that I'd recommend against it for most test takers.

    Bear in mind that the test makers are not gearing this test to the holder of a Ph.D. in the subject matter: they're thinking in terms of the holder of a bachelor's degree that may or may not even be in a science. If someone like you leaves the test site murmuring that CSET Science's subtests posed some interesting and insightful questions, I think the test makers should feel very flattered.
     
  11. aviphysics

    aviphysics Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2013

    Thanks for the clarification.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 11, 2013

    I'll venture that your biggest challenge, in addition to getting up to speed on what the first two subtests cover in biology and geosciences, will be resisting the temptation to overthink questions on the basis of your advanced knowledge.
     
  13. aviphysics

    aviphysics Rookie

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    Sep 11, 2013

    I actually have a fair amount of bio experience. Geology will probably be the hardest part for me.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2013

    Shame on me for making an assumption, then. (A friend of mine used to lightheartedly disparage biology in comparison to physics: "It's practically the humanities!" What irony that she's now an OB-GYN...)

    A little rummaging online should turn up a remarkable range of community-college syllabi and/or virtual geology tours of California.
     

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