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Teach For America Bay Area works in partnership with Loyola Marymount University (LMU) to guide all corps members through the teacher credentialing process.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) requires all K-12 teachers to hold or be earning a teaching credential through a teacher preparation program. LMU serves as Bay Area corps members’ teacher preparation program during year one in the classroom.

During your onboarding period (the time in which you accept your TFA offer, but before you arrive in the Bay Area for summer teacher training) you will: 

  • Meet the the California Basic Skills Requirement by either submitting a score report with qualifying SAT, ACT, or AP scores OR pass the CBEST exam
  • Study for and pass four to six California teacher credentialing exams (dependent upon your subject assignment)
  • Complete other credentialing requirements, such as getting a TB test and physical, applying for a Certificate of Clearance, and getting fingerprinted

In order to meet CTC requirements, in your first year as a Bay Area corps member you will: 

  • Enroll in LMU’s Teacher Credential Program as your year-long teacher preparation program
  • Engage in weekly LMU classes and complete the required university coursework

Credentialing requirements, including but not limited to testing, can cost up to $1,200. Fees for LMU’s one-year Teacher Credential Program range from $8,600-12,400 (after applying an AmeriCorps award towards tuition).

Do All Corps Members Work with LMU?

The vast majority of our corps members work with LMU to earn their teacher credential.

Becoming Certified to Teach

Requirements for Corps Members to Become Teacher Credentialed in California

Bay Area corps members must meet the following requirements prior to our summer teacher training known as summer institute:

  • Complete the basic skills requirement
  • Pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) for the subject matter(s) in which they are assigned to teach
  • Complete the U.S. Constitution requirement by passing the online exam or providing a college course credit (course credit must meet certain requirements and be approved)
  • Provide a certificate of clearance by completing a background check
  • Provide four copies of their degree-conferred transcript from an accredited college or university
  • Complete introductory credentialing coursework

What Fees Can I Expect During the Teacher Credentialing Process? 

It is important to understand, budget, and plan to have a successful financial transition to the Bay Area corps. Below are the fees you will incur, as it relates to teacher credentialing, before receiving your first paycheck:

  • Basic skills requirement: $0 - $45
  • California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) for the subject matter(s) in which you are assigned to teach: $198 - $300
  • U.S. Constitution Exam: $0
  • Degree-conferred transcript (4 copies): $0-$75
  • TB Test & Physical: $0-$100
  • Certificate of Clearance: $52
  • LiveScan Fingerprints: $50-$100
  • School District Fingerprints: $50-$100

Do I Need a Master's Degree to Teach?

No. During your second year of teaching, you will have the option to pursue a master’s degree through LMU.

TFA Training

What to Expect

Teach For America Bay Area is proud to host its own eight-week summer teacher training called institute for all incoming Bay Area corps members. Institute includes summer school teaching and learning experiences.

Approximate institute training dates for the incoming 2019 Bay Area corps are June 3-August 2.

Institute varies year by year, as school sites are dependent on the needs of our summer partner schools. Last year, corps members taught in charter schools and traditional public schools across Richmond and Oakland during institute.

During institute, corps members typically share a dormitory room with one or more of their fellow corps members. In 2018, corps members had the option to stay in dorms cost-free at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

Estimated Costs

While corps members do not receive a salary during institute, Teach For America provides corps members with university housing, a food stipend, and transportation to and from university housing to summer placement schools. Corps members are also able to apply for need-based transitional grants and loans to help offset the costs of transitioning to the corps.

Estimated costs for other summer expenses:

  • Travel to institute: ~$350
  • Housing costs for first year of teaching (securing first and last month’s rent and security deposit): $3,600
  • Supplemental food: $300


Institute is just the beginning of your training as a new teacher. Your teacher coach will support you as you transition from your summer school teaching to your placement school home for the next two years.

Through classroom observations and co-active coaching, essential skill-building, flexible learning resources, leadership circles, innovation collaboratives, and corps member-led culture committees, you will continue to grow as an educator over the course of your two years with Teach For America Bay Area.