To get hired as a high school teacher in the schools of California, you must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a major in a subject area taught in the regular school system. A degree in philosophy, for example, is not acceptable, because this is not a course taught in the regular school system. You also have to graduate from an approved teacher-training program and your course work must meet specific requirements. Your courses must include methodology courses about how to teach high school students as well as courses in child development. There is a student teaching component attached so you do have to spend time in a classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher, where you plan and teach lessons related to the course outcomes.
Another requirement of your training to become a high school teacher includes taking courses in college in US Constitution and in the teaching of reading. The teaching of reading is a requirement no matter what subject area you want to teach. Then you must pass the CBEST, which is the California Basic Education Skills Test. If you do not have proof that you are competent in teaching the subject, you will have to pass the SSAT, which is the Single Subject Assessment Test. However, if your major concentration for your degree program is in this subject, you may not have to take this test. Along with a background and police check and your fingerprints, you can then receive a preliminary teaching license.
The preliminary license as a high school teacher in California is only valid for a five-year period. During that time you must take courses necessary to complete a professional teaching certificate. The requirements for this teaching certificate include thirty credit hours leading to a Master’s degree, a health education course that includes CPR, a course in special education course and a course in computer education.
Knowledge of the subject area and a teaching certificate alone will not prepare you for a career as a high school teacher. You must possess personal characteristics and qualifications as well. These include being able to deal effectively with teenagers and being an active listener. You should be well versed in different instructional techniques so you can meet the needs of the diverse students you will encounter in the classroom. You should also be very familiar with various ways of assessing students so that you can help them be successful in school.
When you apply for a position as a high school teacher, the likelihood of being hired depends on the school district to which you apply. If you really want to stay in a larger center, where there are few job openings, you can consider becoming a substitute teacher. Most school districts have a shortage of on-call teachers so that when regular teachers are sick or out of class for meetings, the school is left with no one to cover the classes. You could actually be working full time as a substitute teacher. This is also a great way to get to know the principals of the schools so that when a replacement or permanent position become available you will get the job.