Early Childhood Teacher Certification in California

The State of California’s Early Childhood Education

California, located along the West Coast, educates one-eighth of the country’s students. According to Education Week’s annual national rankings, the state earned an overall grade of  “C” for the 2013 school year. The state is ranked 36th in the nation, overall, and received a  “D” for K-through-12 Achievement. While these rankings are on the low end of the spectrum, it also earned an “A” for Standards, Assessments, and Accountability. The Select Committee on High Quality Early Childhood Education notes that 73% of three- to five-year-olds in California do not attend preschool, which is below the national average.

The California Preschool Learning Foundations maps out a lot of pertinent information for improving the state’s early childhood education program. Overall, California is in need of individuals who are passionately interested in improving the face of education across the state.

California’s Teacher Credentials for Certification

The California Commission on Teaching Credentialing includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers. Certification may be granted to individuals prepared to teach in California, another state, or abroad. Click here for details about these different routes to licensure. There are also some alternative routes to licensure for individuals who are interested in teaching but lack the qualifications for the aforementioned routes. The three main steps individuals must take to obtain certification are as follows:

  • Verify that all of the requirements on the checklist have been met
  • Submit all the appropriate documents

View the help page to view commonly asked questions or to email the credentialing staff for further verification about the licensure/certification process.


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California Colleges with ECE Programs

There are over 50 early childhood education degree programs in California. A few are highlighted below.

is a large, diverse school with 23 campuses that offer bachelor’s degrees in child, adolescent and family studies, as well as child development. It also offers master’s degrees in early childhood education, elementary curriculum and instruction, and child development.

is a top research school that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in child and family development. It also offers a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies for elementary school teachers.

is a highly ranked Christian university that offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education, along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal studies for elementary teaching.

is a private Roman Catholic university that offers a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies for elementary education, as well as master’s degrees in early childhood education and elementary education.

Many teachers find it beneficial to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree prior to entering the job scene. Teachers with a graduate degree in education earn higher salaries than those holding an undergraduate degree only.

California’s Teaching Job Scene

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field. Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. The TEACH California site provides information about licensure, shortage areas, recruitment events and more. EdJoin.org, a special site sponsored by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, allows users to apply for open teaching positions online. Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly-qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Professional Groups for Teachers

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of California that share similar visions. The California Teachers Association (CTA) was established in 1863 for educators and aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It has more than 1,300 local chapters and 325,000 members across the state. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country. The California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. The organization is committed to professional development and networking, and has over 30 local affiliates. It is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members. There are also some organizations for teachers based on specific areas of academic interests such as the California Language Teachers’ Association or the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE).


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California ECE Blogging

Los Angeles Times local education news covers hot topics, issues, and events in California’s schools, as does the education section of News 10 ABC blog. Several California teachers also share insights and information through their personal blogs. Kindergarten Crayons is written by a kindergarten teacher of 25 years who shares a variety of useful resources for early childhood teachers. First Grade California Style is written by a first grade teacher who loves sharing her interesting everyday stories and notable classroom experiences. Sailing Through First Grade is a blog written by a California educator of 25 years who is passionate about sharing her resources while learning from other teacher bloggers as well.

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