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How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in California

Kindergarten teachers play a special role in the education of children by preparing them for the more formal academic environment of grade school. It’s a challenging job but a rewarding and fulfilling one. If you want to become a kindergarten teacher in California, you must meet the same standards as grade school teachers. These are different from the requirements for preschool and daycare teachers, which is not true in all states.

Start your preparation to become a kindergarten teacher in California while in high school. Take courses in psychology, sociology and/or health to prepare you for the college courses you’ll be taking. Other courses that are also useful are physical education, music and art. These are subjects that you will teach in kindergarten. You may want to volunteer with after-school or summer programs for young children to gain experience working with children in this age group.

Earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year teacher training institution (normally a university). There are various degrees in education you can pursue, but for reaching kindergarten the best choice is early childhood education.

Complete a year of postgraduate coursework at an accredited teacher training institution. This program completes the academic requirements to receive a Preliminary Teaching Credential. To get a “Clear Credential,” you must complete specific additional courses within 5 years.

Take the California Board of Education Skills Test (CBEST). This is one of two types of tests that are required to become credentialed as a K-12 teacher in California. In some cases, you will also take competency tests in subject areas unless you have equivalent college coursework. All teachers moving from other states must take the CBEST even if they are certified to teach in another state.

Consider an alternate route to become a kindergarten teacher in California through an internship. An internship allows you to begin teaching for 1 to 2 years while you are completing your training. At one time, California also issued waivers for some teachers but no longer does so because this conflicts with the provisions the federal No Child Left Behind Act.


See Resources below for a link to a detailed description of the requirements, duties and employment standards for California teachers.