In the state of California, the preschool teacher licensing and certification process is fairly complex and requires the completion of more than one teaching credential. Credentialing of teachers in the state of California is carried out by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. To obtain the proper credentials to teach and work with preschool children, you will need to complete an education that heavily emphasizes early childhood development.
Research California colleges and universities to determine which ones have preschool teacher education programs that can meet your professional needs. There are numerous programs available to choose from. For example, Grossmont College and California State University both offer degree programs in early childhood education with several different specializations available in each program.
Apply to colleges and universities in California with degree programs in early childhood education. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing requires that all preschool teachers in the state of California hold a bachelor's degree. Preschool teachers must seek certification by obtaining California's multiple subject teaching credential which is primarily designed for elementary school teachers. Your bachelor's degree program will require you to complete general education courses during your first two years of school. Basic colleges courses in communication, sociology, psychology, history, science, math and English will provide you with much of the necessary foundation to fulfill the basic skills requirement mandated by the state of California. During your final two years of study, you can expect to complete more advanced courses in your area of specialization, 12 hours of which must be in the area of child development.
Satisfy the basic skills requirement mandated by the CTC. This requirement is similar to the pre-professional skills test required in most other states. It entails passing an examination that amounts to a pre-certification test. The test examines your knowledge of basic skills in areas like math and English to determine whether or not you are ready to work as a teacher.
Complete a state-approved teacher education program. The teacher education program needs to prepare you for teaching in a multiple-subject classroom and must include a student teaching component. In the state of California, this aspect of teacher education is carried out separately from your degree program. You can speed up the process of becoming a preschool teacher by completing both your degree and your teacher preparation program at the same school and at the same time. You must also obtain a recommendation for teaching licensure from the school where you complete your teacher preparation.
Pass your subject-area examination in the field of elementary education. The CTC requires all California teaching candidates to complete this step before they can be certified. Your examination will test your knowledge of the field of elementary education because preschool falls into the category of elementary school programs in California.