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Learn more about the process for becoming certified to teach in the San Diego region.

Becoming Certified to Teach


The California Department of Education offers an intern credential program designed specifically to support individuals who enter the classroom on a nontraditional path. A preliminary credential can be obtained in approximately 14-18 months through our credentialing partner, National University.

All K-12 San Diego corps members must pass two state exams before the start of your credentialing coursework, and will complete a full-time course load of credentialing work as you teach, enrolling in evening and online courses.

While you are attending credentialing courses, you will work as the lead teacher on an intern credential work permit and receive additional TFA and National University supports as you pursue a preliminary teaching credential. Upon completion of your program, you will receive a preliminary credential, valid for five years in the state of California.


Upon accepting your offer to join Teach For America in San Diego, you will receive more information about your next steps. Though state requirements often change, the steps typically include studying for, taking, and passing certification exams such as the CBEST (basic skills), CSET (content area), and US Constitution Exam.

San Diego corps members must pass all required testing prior to Induction, which is typically the first week of June. Corps members will be responsible for paying for the tests out of pocket; total cost ranges from $300 to $500, excluding any necessary retakes.

Master's Degree Option

Those who are interested may elect to enroll in additional courses through National University after earning your preliminary credentials to work towards a graduate degree. The graduate degree may require a third year to complete.

TFA Training

The summer before you begin teaching, you will attend a five-week training session in Los Angeles.