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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 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 California Basic Skills Requirement by either submitting a score report with qualifying SAT, ACT, or AP scores, by submitting college coursework 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 four times

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
  • Engage in weekly LMU classes and complete the required university coursework. The program will take about one and a half years to complete.
  • Credentialing requirements, including but not limited to testing, can cost up to $1,500.  The tuition will cost corps members a maximum of $6,000 after the value of the annual Americorps award is applied.

Do All Corps Members Work with LMU?

The vast majority of our corps members work with LMU 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 Pre-Service Training:

  • Meet the California Basic Skills Requirement by either submitting a score report with qualifying SAT, ACT, or AP scores, by submitting college coursework, 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 your masters with LMU, it will be a Masters in Urban Education and will cost approximately $16,500.   

Pre-Service Training


As a corps member, you will go through 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. 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 the first part of Pre-Service, you will begin working more closely with your region where you can start to apply the lessons that you’ve learned within the context of your community. You will also continue to build relationships with the staff and corps members within your region.


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 in the fall, 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.