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First Steps

So, you have decided you are interested in our program. Now what?

The first education class to take is EDSS 300C, Preliminary Field Experiences in Science Teaching. The past few semesters we have been able to offer two sections of the course - they meet on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:45. This course is designed to introduce you to middle school and high school science teaching. There are 45 hours of observation and field work at local middle schools and high schools. One of the goals of the class is to help you decide if teaching is really what you want to do. During this course you will also apply to the Single Subject Credential Program.

Your transcripts will need to be evaluated. Faculty review your transcripts and determine which of the course requirements you have met. Courses do not have to be from CSULB in order to "count". Courses from other institutions are examined to determine if they are equivalent to those that are required. You will be given back a checklist showing which courses you still need to take and which requirements are met. Once this is done you will be better able to plan a course of action. CSULB credential candidates can get transcripts reviewed during EDSS300C.

Eventually you will need to apply to the university. This can be done online. If you are only planning on taking a single class (EDSS300C) to see if teaching is for you, you might consider taking EDSS300C through Open University. After you decide to apply to the program you will need to apply to the university as well. GPA requirements for admission to the CSULB as a graduate student/credential student is 2.5 while a GPA of 2.67 is required for the Single Subject Credential Program. Please note, being accepted to the university does not guarantee admission into the Credential Program.

What if I want to become qualified to teach more than one science subject?

If you want to teach more than one science subject you can earn a supplemental credential in a second (or third) field. To teach a second science subject area you need 32 units in that content area (or you must pass the CSET). This is called added authorization.

What GPA is required for the program?

A GPA of 2.67 is required to enter the single subject credential program. In science we look at your overall GPA as well as your GPA in upper division science courses. We expect you to have a 2.67 GPA in both areas. If your GPA is below 2.67 you must petition for program admission. In most  cases, your petition is looked upon favorably if your GPA for the last 60 units of college credit is above a 2.75. Your petition is reviewed by the Science Education Department and the Single Subject Credential Program Petition Committee. Students can be admitted, provisionally admitted or rejected at this point. Please note that you must have a 2.50 GPA to be admitted to the university as a post baccalaureate student. Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the Single Subject Credential Program.

Can I take an exam to demonstrate subject matter competency?

The set of classes for each credential has been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Students do not need to take their science coursework at CSULB but must take all the courses on the list prior to earning a credential. Our waiver program is under review but you may use the existing prograum to demonstrate subject matter competence.  You do not need to take all of your classes at CSULB. Courses taken at other institutions will "count" as long as they are equivalent to courses at CSULB. To find out what classes are equivalent you can visit This website allows you to select universities and departments to find classes which articulate (count) at CSULB.

Students can take the CSET exam to demonstrate subject matter competence. There is one general science exams and one subject specific exam. You must pass both in order to become subject matter competent. You do not need to take both subtests in the same sitting and you may take the exams more than once. Your test scores are good for 10 years. (This means 10 years from the time you pass the first segment of any exam.)

Which tests to take?

  • Foundational Level Science: 215
  • Biology/Life Science: 215, 217
  • Chemistry: 215, 218
  • Geological Sciences/Earth and Space Science: 215, 219
  • Physics: 215, 220

In August 2017 the CSET for Science was re-written to align with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Subtests 118 and 119 were replaced by subtest 215. Candidates that have already passed subtests 118 and 119 can use these scores in place of subtest 215 for up to 10 years from the passage date of each subtest.  subtests 120-123 were also replaced with subtests 217-220.

You still must take the professional education courses for the credential. The lists above show you how you can demonstrate subject matter competency only.

All students must also take a basic skills test (CBEST). Passing CBEST scores are good for life. (CSET scores are valid for life). You can take a practice CBEST test on-line at

What tests MUST I take?

You must satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement prior to program admission. One of the options to satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement the CBEST exam. If you are using the CBEST to satisfy Basic Skills Requirement, you will need to attempt all sections of the CBEST before being admitted to the credential program. You must pass the entire CBEST prior to applying to student teach.

You must take & pass the state Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA). These will becompleted during student teaching and will be explained further during the program.

What sorts of financial aid or scholarship packages are available?

There are a variety of scholarships, loans and grants available for prospective teachers. The College of Education has information about the TEACH  grant and others. Visit them for paperwork.

  • The College of Natural Sciences has a PhysTEC grant which has special classes and professional development opportunities for prospective and current physics teachers. Find out more on their project website,
  • The College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics lists scholarship opportunities for graduate students in the fields of math and science. Some may work for science teaching.

TEACH Grant If you are going to teach in a high need school you may want to apply for the TEACH grant. This provides up to $2,000 per semester. In return you must teach 4 years in a high need school (or the money becomes an interest bearing loan)

What if I already have a teaching job?

Public schools will want you to be an intern. To qualify as an intern you must be admitted to a program, be subject matter competent (via coursework or CSET), have at least 120 hours of instruction related to the state Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) with at least 40 of those hours related to teaching English Language learners. (This is met through coursework but it means that you have to have key courses completed before being eligible to apply as an intern. Please be in touch with the credential advisors early-on if you think you might want to be an intern.) In addition, you must be recommended by our department. There's an application process to the Science Education department and the SSCP program at large. Interns and emergency permit teachers must apply to use their job for student teaching when the time comes for that. It is not automatic that we will grant the petition. Several criteria must be met (including a applications to both the Science Education department and the Science Credential Program). Be sure to speak with the Credential Advisor well in advance of the student teaching semester so that you can get the science internship application.

If you are interested in an internship you will need to meet with a credential advisor as there are additional requirements and a separate application for intern candidates. In addition to various state requirements, we need to feel confident that you are ready to succeed in the classroom before we will recommend you for an internship. Simply having a job offer does not mean that we will recommend you for an internship.

How does student teaching work?

Student teaching is a full time, 20 week commitment. Once you have completed all your course work (both subject matter and professional education) you will enroll in 15 units of student teaching during a single semester and its associated 3 unit seminar. You are expected to be at the school all day long. You will ultimately be responsible for creating lessons, teaching classes and grading student work. You are expected to be at the school all day long. You will observe your master teacher and other teachers in the school. You will learn how a school works by attending department and faculty meetings and conferences, and other extra-curricular events.

During student teaching you will be observed by university supervisors (at least 6-10 times by each of your supervisors). You will also participate in the student teaching seminar on campus.

If you are employed as a science teacher when it comes time to student teach you can petition to complete student teaching while on the job. A list of conditions must be met when using a job for student teaching. See Jo Topps and the Teacher Preparation Advising Center to find out more about this option. 

If a student fails or withdraws from Student Teaching he/she may petition to re-enroll in student teaching in a subsequent semester. In virtually all cases, there will be additional stipulations put on students in this situation. We do this to increase the likelihood of success the second time. Students in this situation are usually prohibited from using a job for student teaching, especially the first year of the job. Again, see Jo Topps for details.

Deadlines to apply for student teaching are firm. Those students wishing to student teach during fall semester will apply no later than March 1st the previous semester. Those wishing to student teach during spring semester will apply no later than October 1st the previous semester. You must be subject matter competent when you apply to student teach.

How do I find a job?

There are many resources available to help you with the job search.

  • Off campus resources include the Teaching Recruitment Centers. Both Los Angeles County and Orange County have these resources. LA Teach Now is the LA County Office of Education's  Teacher Recruitment Center. When you become a member of the LA TRC you get advanced access to job announcements, admission to LA TRC job fairs, one-on-one advising and more. Orange County's TRC has a listing of Orange County Human Resource Contacts.
  • In addition, there are several education job fairs each year. The Educational Career Placement Office has a listing of these fairs.
  • We post positions on our Science Listserv as they become made known to us. Many of our students have found teaching positions through postings on the listserv. Make sure you maintain an active e-mail address on our listserve.

What's a preliminary credential versus a clear credential?

The "Preliminary Credential" is what you will have earned after completing required science classes, education classes, health science for secondary teachers, educational psychology classes, the constitution requirement and student teaching. You then have 5 additional years to earn the more permanent "Clear Credential". Requirements for the professional clear credential include participation in your district sponsored induction program (BTSA - Beginning Teacher Support Assessment).

Must I be enrolled at CSULB to take EDSS 300C?

Not necessarily - eventually you must apply to the university, but you may choose to enroll in EDSS 300C through Open University. Once you decide to apply to the program to earn your credential you will apply to CSULB to take your classes. You should realize that taking courses through Open University is risky. You may not enroll in a class until the first class meeting and then only if space is available. As the program gets more and more crowded, the likelihood of getting your classes decreases.