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Teach For America Bay Area works in partnership with National University (NU) 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. NU serves as Bay Area corps members’ teacher preparation program during your two years in the classroom.

During your onboarding period (the time in which you accept your TFA offer, but before you begin 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 two 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 three times

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

  • Enroll in NU’s Teacher Credential Program
  • Engage in weekly NU classes and complete the required university coursework
  • Credentialing requirements, including but not limited to testing, can cost up to $1,500. The tuition is $6,195 per year, which is equal to the value of the annual Americorps award. This means corps members who are eligible and enrolled in Americorps will incur no out of pocket expense for their credential. Instead, you will sign over your awards at the end of each of your two years of service to NU. If you are not eligible for one or both Americorps awards or you choose to pay tuition, you will have a number of options for paying the tuition, including paying monthly, taking out student loans or paying the tuition at the end of each year. NU has committed to working with our corps members to ensure there are options that fit each individual's circumstances.

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 NU?

The vast majority of our corps members work with NU to earn their teacher credential unless they have earned a credential prior to joining Teach For America.

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:

  • 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
  • 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 two copies of their degree-conferred transcript from an accredited college or university

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: $60
  • Degree-conferred transcript (2 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, it is optional. If you choose to get a master's you can do so during your last semester in the program which will allow you to finish your corps commitment with both a preliminary credential and a master's degree. The master's is an additional 2-3 courses depending on your content area. For those in a bilingual placement, you will automatically receive a master's degree in bilingual education in addition to your credential.

TFA Training

Institute

As a corps member you will go through a virtual centralized training that will serve as the foundation of how to become a teacher leader. You will begin to establish your pedagogical foundation, develop a deeper understanding of our theory of change in Teach for America and begin to grapple with the reflections from your experiences both during and pre-institute on what it will take for you to become a teacher leader. The virtual experience will happen with you and other 2021 corps members across the country which is very exciting! It will be the start and not the end of your training as a teacher in Teach for America.

Transition to the Bay Area

Once you have completed Institute, you will begin working more closely with your region where you can start to apply the lessons that you’ve learned at Institute within the context of your community. You will also continue to build relationships with the staff and corps members within your region.

Coaching

Your teacher coach will support you as you transition from your summer school teaching to your placement school home for the next two years. As you gear up to enter your classroom at the start of Fall 2021, you will receive intensive support and development during the first 90 days in your classroom to help continue to onboard you into the profession of teaching.

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.