Teacher Preparation Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Teacher Preparation Institute?

The Teacher Preparation Institute (TPI) is a center established to help students succeed in becoming K-12 credentialed teachers. The Institute provides a central place (26A Room 1610) where students can get counseling, advisement and assisstance about anything related to becoming a teacher.

Who is eligible to be part of the Teacher Preparation Institute?

Anyone who is taking Mt. SAC courses leading to becoming an instructional aide and/or tranferring to a 4-year teacher credential program is eligible to be in the TPI. Students new to Mt. SAC must enroll in the college, attend an Orientation Session and complete assessment testing.

How does a person enroll in the Institute? Attend an Orientation Session

What services does TPI provide?

The Institute provides:

  • Orientation Session
  • Seminars
  • Coursework advisement
  • Transfer advisement
  • Financial Aid advisement
  • Reserved seating in TPI courses
  • Text Book Loans
These services are only for TPI students. The Institute also keeps TPI students informed about mailing and announcements through a Listserve service.

How can I get some experience related to teaching while I'm in the Teacher Preparation Institute?

TPI provides opportunities for students to tutor reading in elementary schools in our district, as well as to tutor in intervention and after-school programs in middle and high schools in our district. These are programs which pay students an hourly wage in addition to providing them with invaluable field work experience. Interested students must interview and be selected for these tutoring positions. Tutoring and other field work experience is not required of TPI students; it is simply a special opportunity.

Students will also get a focused sense of what it means to be a teacher in California schools through their enrollment in the course "Educ 10" and "Educ 16", as well as our "especially for future teachers" sections of various courses which apply to General Education requirements and Liberal Studies major preparation.

What is the difference between teaching in elementary school and teaching at a high school?

Elementary school teachers stay with the same students all day and teach them all subjects. Thus,to become an elementary school teacher one must have a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Most middle school and all high school teachers teach their specialty subjects; they teach different students during different periods of the day.

Secondary school teachers must have a Single Subject Credential.

How do I become qualified to be an elementary school teacher?

To obtain a Level 1 Multiple Subject Credential, you must:

  • Have no criminal record, no felonies or misdemeanors (certain misdemeanors will not exclude a person from applying for a credential program, but others will). A certificate of clearance is sometimes available, if needed. Applications are submitted to the California Department of Education.
  • Have a Bachelor’s or higher degree with at least a 2.76 cumulative GPA.
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program, including student teaching.
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) and RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) tests. Students are encouraged to take the CBEST test after completing Math 51 and English 1A. Mt. SAC’s Teacher Preparation Institute offers a library of resources on the CBEST and reduced fees if students wish to take a CBEST Preparation Workshop at our partner university, Cal Poly Pomona. Students should take the RICA after taking appropriate reading methodology classes at the university level.
  • Pass the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) in "Multiple Subjects."
    The CSET for elementary school teachers is a 5-hour test arranged in three subsets:
    1. Reading, Language and Literature, History and Social Sciences
    2. Science and Math
    3. P.E., human development, visual and performing arts
  • Pass U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses at any graduate level teacher preparation program. When future elementary school teachers have completed their B.A. degrees, they sometimes begin an internship or pre-internship program if they have received a job offer from a school district.
  • Pass the RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) test.
  • After obtaining a Level 1 Multiple Subject Credential and beginning to teach, students must complete a fifth year of study and take graduate level courses in health education, special education and computer education. Then they receive a Professional Clear Credential.

How do I become qualified to be a Secondary School Teacher?

To obtain a Level 1 Single Subject Credential, you must:

  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). Students are encouraged to take the CBEST test after completing Math 51 and English 1A. Mt. SAC’s Teacher Preparation Institute offers a library of resources on the CBEST and reduced fees if students wish to take a CBEST Preparation Workshop at our partner university, Cal Poly Pomona.
  • Have no criminal record, no felonies or misdemeanors (certain misdemeanors will not exclude a person from applying for a credential program, but others will). A certificate of clearance is sometimes available, if needed. Applications are submitted to the California Department of Education.
  • Have a bachelor’ degree with at least a 2.76 cumulative GPA (for all CSU campuses).
  • Pass the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) in one of the single-subjects: Agriculture, Art, Business, English, Health Science, Home Economics, Industrial and Technology Education, Language other than English, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Geosciences, Physics and Social Science. Most universities offer some, but not all, of these bachelor’s degree programs.
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program, including student teaching or internship.
  • Pass U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses or pass a test in the subject, depending on the university’s policy.
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program, including student teaching. If you have a bachelor’s degree and a job offer, you may be eligible for a pre-intern or intern certificate in lieu of completing a teacher preparation program.

After obtaining a Level I Single Subject Credential and beginning to teach, students must complete a fifth year of study and take graduate level courses in health education, special education and computer education. Then they receive a Level II Credential.

 

How do I become qualified to be a Special Education Teacher?

Special education teachers teach in the area of specialization listed on the credential in the following settings: special day classes, special schools, home/hospital settings, correctional facilities, nonpublic schools and agencies, and resource rooms.

To become a Special Education Teacher you must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree with at least a cumulative GPA of 2.76 (for all CSU campuses) or higher degree.
  • Pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). Students are encouraged to take the CBEST test after completing Math 51 and English 1A. Mt. SAC’s Teacher Preparation Institute offers a library of resources on the CBEST and reduced fees if students wish to take a CBEST Preparation Workshop at our partner university, Cal Poly Pomona.
  • Complete an accredited Education Specialist Credential program in an education specialist category, including student teaching
  • Pass the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) in Multiple Subjects.
  • Pass the RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) test.
  • Pass U.S. Constitution and Developing English Language Skills courses or pass a test in the subject, depending on the university’s policy.

After obtaining a Preliminary Special Education Credential and beginning to teach, students must complete a fifth year of study and take graduate level courses in health education, special education and computer education. Then they receive a Level II Credential.

What if I already have a Bachelor's Degree?

People already holding Bachelor's degrees are sometimes allowed to complete their "professional preparation" or fifth year coursework while being employed as teachers. Internship programs require students to complete 120 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to taking on daily teaching responsibilities; the internship lasts one to two years. This program is suitable for teacher candidates who may enter to the profession after serving in other careers.

How do I know I'm taking the right courses to transfer?

TPI students can make appointments to talk to Teacher Prep transfer representative from Cal State Fullerton through our office (909 274-4190.

Click on the "Faculty/Counselor" link on the left for information about the counselors' office hours.

Are there any programs for completing a liberal studies major online?

For more information, go to: http://liberalstudies.calstate.edu

What kind of qualities make a successful teacher?

According to EUREKA, a software program developed to assist students in determining the "best fit" for their future careers, successful teachers have the:

  • Ability to communicate and relate well to people
  • Ability to make judgments using knowledge or experience
  • Above average ability to check accuracy
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to use problem-solving skills

Based on other resources, Teacher Preparation Institute adds that successful teachers have:

  • A strong desire to work with young people as well as to have a positive impact on their lives
  • A willingness to work with students from diverse backgrounds and abilities
  • Ability to be creative, energetic and patient
  • The competence to be organized, work unsupervised, and be willing to implement and maintain discipline

What kind of salary can I look forward to as a teacher?

According to the Digest of Education Statistics, the average salary for teachers in California is $43,935 and new legislation supports a new minimum beginning salary of $34,000.

The average beginning salary of elementary and secondary schoolteachers in our area is $38,000. Because teacher salaries are established by each school district, you may contact a school district directly for more specific information about salary and benefits.

How long will it take for me to get a job as a teacher?

That depends on your school schedule. Students can complete their freshman and sophomore level class work (approximately 60 units) at Mt. SAC, and for some that will take four semesters of full-time commitment.

For other students who attend part-time, it will take longer. To complete the bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution requires approximately another 60 units of class work, another two years of full-time attendance or perhaps longer if attending part-time. Upon receiving the bachelor’s degree, some students are hired by school districts while they complete their fifth year of study as an intern.

Other students continue taking classes for one or two more semesters to receive their preliminary teaching credential and then to apply for teaching positions.

When am I qualified to be hired as a substitute teacher?

Certain school districts are allowed to hire as substitute teachers students who have completed 90 units of college-level class work and who have passed the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test). You can call a particular school’s district office to find out their required qualifications for substitute teachers.

I’m an Instructional Aide already employed at a school district. How do I become a credentialed teacher?

Paraprofessional(Instructional Aide) Teacher Training Programs exist in certain school districts and at certain colleges. They are grant-funded programs designed to assist K-12 paraprofessionals, like instructional aides and library-media aides, to become credentialed classroom teachers.

Recent federal legislation requires that all paraprofessionals in Title 1 schools will have to be "highly qualified," which is currently defined as having either an Associate's Degree, two years' of college credits, or the passing of a "rigorous" test given by the district. Instructional Aides are encouraged to contact their districts to find out the particular process by which they have decided to assist Aides in becoming "highly qualified" by the year 2006.

How do I become an Instructional Aide?

School districts are currently only employing new Instructional Aides who are considered "highly qualified" by the President's No Child Left Behind educational reform standards. The qualifications are:

1. have a 2-year college degree
2. or have completed 48 college-level units
3. or pass a rigorous test created by the individual school district

Mt. SAC can provide coursework counseling for students who want to receive a degree for Instructional Aides (Paraprofessionals). Instructional Aides usually work throughout the school day five days a week.

I know that the Teacher Preparation Institute strongly encourages all students to apply for Financial Aid. What kind of financial aid is available?

Financial aid is a term that covers a wide variety of programs that help students and families pay for college or graduate school.

One type is a scholarship, a financial gift, available from organizations, often based on academic achievement.

Another type is a grant, which is financial aid, which does not need to be repaid. A grant, such as the Cal Grant T, financial aid for teachers, is often based on need.

The third type is a loan, money that must be repaid with interest –unless the loan is forgiven in return for a commitment to teach in high-need subjects or areas, such as in California’s APLE program or some loans the government pays the interest while you attend college.

Here are some website providing financial aid resources:

All students should fill out the FAFSA (the Deadline for financial aid for next year is March 2) (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) because the one form can be used to show you qualify for all types of financial aid programs. You can obtain the form electronically at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov or from our Financial Aid office .

Mt. SAC's Financial Aid office has frequent workshops walking students through every step in completing the FAFSA. Call the TPI office for details on the next Financial Aid Workshop, or make an appointment with the TPI-dedicated financial aid officer, Chris Alvarado at ext. 4450.

Attend an Information Session for more information about scholarships and other financial aid, especially for future teachers.

Are there other ways to become a credentialed teacher besides getting a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential?

One is through paraprofessional Teacher Training, which helps instructional aides get a bachelor’s degree and a credential. Another is the university "blended" or integrated program, which allows future teachers who identify in their freshman year to take courses in which the subject matter is blended with professional preparation. This provides opportunities for multiple, extended field experiences during undergraduate studies. Community college students can transfer into some universties' blended programs. Universities with blended programs also have "traditional" programs, which may be more appropriate for community college transfers as well as many other students who choose not to be in the blended courses.

Another route to getting a credential is participating in a pre-internship program. These programs provide hard-to-staff school districts with an alternative to Emergency Permits. They allow teacher candidates to teach while completing subject matter and professional preparation. The programs take one to two years plus one to two years of internship. The district provides students with 40 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to assignment of daily teaching responsibilities.

And an internship program is also available, allowing students with bachelor’s degrees to teach while completing their "professional preparation" or fifth year coursework. Internship programs require students to complete 120 hours of intensive initial preparation prior to taking on daily teaching responsibilities; the internship lasts one to two years. This program is suitable for teacher candidates who may enter to the profession after serving in other careers.

The most common means to obtain a California Teaching Credential is for students to complete an appropriate bachelor’s degree, pass the CBEST and the CSET, and be admitted to a Postgraduate Program. It allows teach candidates to complete credential requirements through self-contained, graduate level preparation programs.

I have a teaching credential from another state. Can I teach in California?

Teachers who hold credentials from other states or other countries can have their transcripts evaluated by the following official office: International Research Foundation, Inc., (310) 258-9451. Based on the evaluation, these teachers may take tests like the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test), and RICA (Reading Instruction Competence Assessment) or take university coursework to qualify for a California Teaching Credential. Generally, teachers from other states or countries do not need to take courses at Mt. SAC unless they are improving their English skills.

Teachers who have taught at least three years in other states can apply immediately for a Preliminary Teaching Credential through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The form is available at their website http://www.ctc.ca.gov .

During the teacher’s first year in a California school, he or she must pass the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test).

What are the CLAD and BCLAD options?

CLAD stands for Cross-cultural, language and academic development. This certificate authorizes individuals to teach English Language Learners. The BCLAD, Bilingual, cross-cultural language and academic development certificate authorizes an individual to teach English Language Learners, as well. The student with a BCLAD degree has specialized in a language other than English.

 

I'm an AB540 student; can I transfer to a four-year college? Will I have to pay out-of-state tuition?

The steps to take when transferring are as follows:

  1. Fill out an AB540 form
  2. Attach H.S. transcripts to form (students must have attended a California H.S. for a minimum of 3 years to be eligible).
If a student's AB540 form is approved, out of state fees do not apply.  This is the same process that 4-year colleges use.  If students have been approved at Mt. SAC, it's very likely that it'll be the same at the 4-year.  However, if an AB540 student has not become a legal resident by the end of his/her bachelor's degree, he/she will not be admitted to a teacher credential program, and no district can legally hire this candidate after college.
 
 
 
 
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