First Steps

So, you have decided you are interested in our program. Now what?

The first education class to take is EDSS 300C, Preliminary Field Experiences in Science Teaching. The past few semesters we have been able to offer two sections of the course - they meet on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:45. This course is designed to introduce you to middle school and high school science teaching. There are 45 hours of observation and field work at local middle schools and high schools. One of the goals of the class is to help you decide if teaching is really what you want to do. During this course you will also apply to the Single Subject Credential Program.

Your transcripts will need to be evaluated. Faculty review your transcripts and determine which of the course requirements you have met. Courses do not have to be from CSULB in order to "count". Courses from other institutions are examined to determine if they are equivalent to those that are required. You will be given back a checklist showing which courses you still need to take and which requirements are met. Once this is done you will be better able to plan a course of action. CSULB credential candidates can get transcripts reviewed during EDSS300C. Non-CSULB students wishing to have their transcripts reviewed for subject matter competence as well. If you are not getting your credential at CSULB there is a fee associated with the transcript review. Please visit the Single Subject website to find out about how to get your transcripts evaluated for subject matter competence.

Eventually you will need to apply to the university. This can be done on-line. If you are only planning on taking a single class (EDSS300C) to see if teaching is for you, you might consider taking EDSS300C through University Extension. After you decide to apply to the program you will need to apply to the university as well. GPA requirements for admission to the CSULB as a graduate student/credential student is 2.5 while a GPA of 2.67 is required for the Single Subject Credential Program. Please note, being accepted to the university does not guarantee admission into the Credential Program.


Scroll down to find answers to the following questions:

  • What if I want to become qualified to teach more than one science subject?
  • What if I have a Multiple Subject Credential and I want to teach middle school science?
  • What if I want to teach middle school science (not high school)?
  • What if I want to teach math and science?
  • What if I want to teach science and health science?
  • What GPA is required for the program?
  • Can I take an exam to demonstrate subject matter competency?
    (includes link to exam and link for finding classes which "count" at CSULB)
  • What tests MUST I take?
  • What sorts of financial aid or scholarship packages are available?
    (includes information about the Math/Science Teacher Initiative to help support future teachers)
  • What if I already have a teaching job?
  • How does student teaching work?
  • How do I find a job? (includes links to on-campus and off-campus resources)
  • What's a preliminary credential versus a clear credential?
  • Must I be enrolled at CSULB to take EDSS 300C?
  • How do I get to CSULB and your office?

What if I want to become qualified to teach more than one science subject?

If you want to teach more than one science subject you can earn a supplemental credential in a second (or third) field. To teach a second science subject area you need 32 units in that content area (or you must pass the CSET). This is called added authorization.

What if I have a Multiple Subject Credential and I want to teach middle school science?

If you have a MSCP and want to add general/introductory science to your credential you need 32 units of science which include at least 6 semester units in each of the four content aresa (biology, chemistry, physics, earth/space). You should also take EDSS450C (secondary science methods) as you will be teaching in a departmental setting. This added authorization will allow you to teach science K-9. You will need to petition to take EDSS450C as you aren't officially in the Single Subject program. Please see Drs. Henriques or Kisiel or Nickles for details about the required courses and the petitioning process.

MSCP holders (or other credential holders) are able to add the Foundational Level General Science Credential (K-8 single subject credential). To do this candidates must pass CSET exams 118 and 119 and complete the single subject science methods course (EDSS450C).

What if I want to teach middle school science (not high school)?

There is a relatively new Foundational Level General Science Credential. This is a single subject credential in science which allows the person to teach only science, K-8. Candidates who select this credential will complete the coursework in the Single Subject Credential Program. To demonstrate subject matter competence for this credential is only via CSET Exams 118 and 119.

What if I want to teach math and science?

If you want to teach math and science you will need to take additional math courses (32 units). Added authorization in foundational mathematics only allows you teach through algebra 2. If you want to teach math in all grades K-12 you will need to earn a full math credential. The requirements to teach K-9 math are 32 units. Please see the math department to learn which courses are required as part of the 32 units. You will also need to take EDSS450M (secondary math methods). You must petition to be able to take EDSS450M if you are not a math program student. See an advisor for information about how to do that.

NOTE --- Under No Child Left Behind to teach a math you need 32 units of coursework in math or you must pass the CSET exams. There is a foundational level math authorization (first 2 exams) or full authorization (all 3 exams).

What if I want to teach science and health science?

Added subject matter authorization in health sciences requires completion of the following courses plus additional coursework (totalling 32 units):

HSC 411B    Health Science for Secondary Teachers
HSC 421       Health Behavior
HSC 425I     Human Sexuality and Sex Education
HSC 427      Drugs and Health
HSC 430       Nutrition and Health
EDSS 450D  Curriculum Methods - Teaching Health Science (offered fall semesters only)

NOTE --- With the new federal legislation (No Child Left Behind) the definition of a "highly qualified" teacher requires 32 units of coursework. This means that the supplemental authorizations do not make you highly qualified. Please see the Health Science Credential Advisor for information about which courses to take.

What GPA is required for the program?

A GPA of 2.67 is required to enter the single subject credential program. In science we look at your overall GPA as well as your GPA in upper division science courses. We expect you to have a 2.67 GPA in both areas. If your GPA is below 2.67 you must petition for program admission. In most  cases, your petition is looked upon favorably if your GPA for the last 60 units of college credit is above a 2.75. Your petition is reviewed by the Science Education Department and the Single Subject Credential Program Petition Committee. Students can be admitted, provisionally admitted or rejected at this point. Please note that you must have a 2.50 GPA to be admitted to the university as a post baccalaureate student. Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to the Single Subject Credential Program.

Can I take an exam to demonstrate subject matter competency?

CSULB accepts the state approved tests for subject matter competency. That means you have a few choices as to how you will demonstrate subject matter competency. You can do our waiver program (see a list of required courses for each science discipline) or you can take the state approved tests. As of January 2003 California  no longer accepts  the PRAXIS and SSAT exams for subject matter competence. (If you've already passed them your scores are good for 5 years. Folks who have not passed them will not take them.) The new test, CSET, is the state approved examination for demonstrating subject matter competence. Test scores are "good" for five years - this means you must complete your credential within five years of passing the exams.

The Orange County Department of Education offers CSET preparation classes. Contact Lucy McGinley at 714-708-5887 or, for details of visit the website (

The set of classes for each credential has been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Students do not need to take their science coursework at CSULB but must take all the courses on the list prior to earning a credential. Our waiver program is under review but you may use the existing prograum to demonstrate subject matter competence. Students admitted into the current program will have until July 1, 2009 to complete the program. You do not need to take all of your classes at CSULB. Courses taken at other institutions will "count" as long as they are equivalent to courses at CSULB. To find out what classes are equivalent you can visit This website allows you to select universities and departments to find classes which articulate (count) at CSULB.

Students can take the CSET exam to demonstrate subject matter competence. There are two general science exams and one subject specific exam. You must pass all three in order to become subject matter competent. You do not need to take all three in the same sitting and you may take the exams more than once. Your test scores are good for 5 years. (This means 5 years from the time you pass the first segment of any exam.)

Which tests to take?
Biology: 118,119, 120
Chemistry: 118, 119, 121
Geological Sciences: 118, 119, 122
Physics: 118, 119, 123

You still must take the professional education courses for the credential. The lists above show you how you can demonstrate subject matter competency only.

All students must also take a basic skills test (CBEST). Passing CBEST scores are good for life. (CSET scores are only good for 5 years). You can take a practice CBEST test on-line at

What tests MUST I take?

You must take all sections of the CBEST before being admitted to the credential program. You must pass the entire CBEST prior to applying to student teach.

You must take & pass the state Teaching Performance Assessments (there are four). These will be explained to you in your classes.

What sorts of financial aid or scholarship packages are available?

There are a variety of scholarships, loans and grants available for prospective teachers. The College of Education has information about the Cal T grant and others. Visit them for paperwork.

  • CSULB hosts a National Science Foundation grant, the Robert C. Noyce Scholars Program, to support a limited number of students who want to earn a math or science teaching credential. Students earn $15,000/year while finishing their bachelor's degree and credential. In return they are expected to teach in high needs school districts. Eligibility information and applications are available in the Science Education Office, SSCP Office, Math Department Office and Student Access to Science Center or the project website. Application deadlines are posted on the website. Please note that pending availability of funds there will be a fall and spring call for applicaitons. CSULB students are the only ones eligible to win this scholarship.
  • The College of Natural Sciences has a PhysTEC grant which has special classes and professional development opportunities for prospective and current physics teachers. Find out more on their project website,
  • The College of Education has some money to support future math and science teachers through the Math Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI). The idea is to help make it a little easier for math/science teachers to move through the program in an effort to get more math/science teachers into classrooms. This money will be used to help pay for materials for your methods classes, CSET test prep classes, or filing for your science/math credential. In order to be eligible for financial support you must be registered with the MSTI office. (My understanding is that this is a reimbursement program as opposed to money up front. You must be on record with them in order to receive this support.) Please contact the MSTI office and make an appointment with Hannah Naccu (985-5876) or Dr. Laura Forrest (985-9301) to get registered and to find out what you may qualify for.
  • The College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics lists scholarship opportunities for graduate students in the fields of math and science. Some may work for science teaching.
  • The College of Education has several awards and scholarships - two of which are specifically for science credential candidates. There is a single application for all College of Education scholarships. The application deadline is early February. You are strongly encouraged to apply as our goal is to give away as many scholarships as possible.
  • The Edison Internation scholarship is for folks who are enrolled full-time in a Teacher Credential program. This is a $5,000 need based scholarship for students pursuing a credential (multiple subject, single subject, educational specialist) at CSULB. Details can be found in the College of Education. We have had students get this scholarship.
  • The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation offers Fellowships for people who already have a bachelor's degree (or higher) in science who want to teach high school chemistry, physics and/or physical science. The program provides support and professional development for up to five year plus tuition and a stipend while participating in a recognized teacher education program (like ours!).
  • American Association of Physics offers a scholarship for future physics teachers, the Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Teachers.
  • Technology-to-Teaching grants are available for laid off workers who want to teach science. Contact Marsene Brown at 562-570-3726, to see if you qualify. The program pays for 3 semesters of coursework (tuition and books and associated fees). We have had students win this scholarship.
  • LA County Office of Education's Tuition Reimbursement Program for math, science & special education teachers. Get up to $5,000 of support for tuition reimbursement. Contact Annie Cabrera Program Coordinator for details and eligibility requirements.  (562) 940-1891
  • The Governor's Scholarship awards $20,000 for you while you earn your credential provided that you teach four years in an underperforming school. This program is in transition and funding may not be available at this time. Visit the website for details. We have had students win this scholarship in the past. This award is not currently available.

APLE GRANTS $$$  The Single Subject Office also keeps a list of grants and scholarships (APLE grants, CAL-T grants and more). Visit their website to find out more. Science teachers are often eligible for special grants and scholarships because they teach in underserved content areas. Please note - the CSU system is eligible to give lots of APLE grants. Don't let this money sit there, apply for it. Find out more at

Important note for students concurrently enrolled in master's degrees and the credential program. A student is able to do so but s/he must understand the ramifications and the process.  The system can only show one major and masters degrees take precedence.  Therefore, if a student checks off masters degree on page one and credential on  page two, the student may not be eligible for any loan or grant related to credential (APLE is not effected by this).  For some programs, the only way the student can be eligible for credential loans & scholarships is by only being a credential student and then reapplying to the university when s/he is done with the credential to do the masters.  If a student checks off both, they will be considered a masters student.  If a student is currently listed as both and wants financial aid / loans / scholarships as a credential student, s/he must withdraw from the masters program and reapply to the university as a credential student.  It might be financially to your advantage to do one program at a time -- credential first if financial / loans/ scholarships are a concern. If you have questions please see an advisor.

TEACH Grant If you are going to teach in a high need school you may want to apply for the TEACH grant. This provides up to $2,000 per semester. In return you must teach 4 years in a high need school (or the money becomes an interest bearing loan)

What if I already have a teaching job?

Sometimes students enter our program while already teaching on an emergency permit, PIP, STIP, or teaching at a private school. Others begin teaching while still in the program. While our preference would certainly be for you to earn a credential before entering the classroom as a full-time teacher, we understand that the teacher shortage has lured many people into the classroom before they complete a credential program. If you are already teaching and want to continue teaching in public schools you will need to earn a credential. We will do what we can to help you to do so while teaching. You should know, however, that it will take longer, and there may be difficulties along the way. You will earn your credential more slowly because you cannot complete as many classes as a full time student. Sometimes classes are difficult to find offered at times when you are available to take them. This is especially true of upper division science courses. Whenever possible we offer classes at times conducive to teachers. But the reality is that science classes and their labs tend to be more difficult to arrange in the evenings and summers.

Public schools will want you to be an intern as that meets the No Child Left Behind requirements. To qualify as an intern you must be admitted to a program, be subject matter competent (via coursework or CSET), have at least 120 hours of instruction related to the state Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) with at least 40 of those hours related to teaching English Language learners. (This is met through coursework but it means that you have to have key courses completed before being eligible to apply as an intern. Please be in touch with the credential advisors early-on if you think you might want to be an intern.) In addition, you must be recommended by our department. There's an application process to the Science Education department and the SSCP program at large. Interns and emergency permit teachers must apply to use their job for student teaching when the time comes for that. It is not automatic that we will grant the petition. Several criteria must be met (including a applications to both the Science Education department and the Science Credential Program). Be sure to speak with the Credential Advisor well in advance of the student teaching semester so that you can get the science internship application.

If you are interested in an internship you will need to meet with a credential advisor as there are additional requirements and a separate application for intern candidates. In addition to various state requirements, we need to feel confident that you are ready to succeed in the classroom before we will recommend you for an internship. Simply having a job offer does not mean that we will recommend you for an internship.

Department Internship Application
SSCP Internship Guidelines

How does student teaching work?

Student teaching is a full time, 20 week commitment. Once you have completed all your course work (both subject matter and professional education) you will enroll in 15 units of student teaching during a single semester and its associated 2 unit seminar. You are expected to be at the school all day long. Most science students are placed in both a middle school and a high school for their student teaching experience. Most will teach one section at middle school and two classes at the high school. (That assignment can be rearranged to include two middle school and one high school class.) You will ultimately be responsible for creating lessons, teaching classes and grading student work. You are expected to be at the school all day long. You will observe your master teacher and other teachers in the school. You will learn how a school works by attending department and faculty meetings and conferences, and other extra-curricular events.

During student teaching you will be observed by university supervisors (at least six times by each of your supervisors). Faculty will be assigned to visit you in both schools. You will also participate in the student teaching seminar on campus.

If you are employed as a science teacher when it comes time to student teach you can petition to complete student teaching while on the job. A list of conditions must be met when using a job for student teaching. See Drs. Kisiel or Henriques or Nickles and the Single Subject Office to find out more about this option. If the application to use your job for student teaching is successful you could complete student teaching on an Emergency Permit or as an Intern.

If a student fails or withdraws from Student Teaching he/she may petition to re-enroll in student teaching in a subsequent semester. In virtually all cases, there will be additional stipulations put on students in this situation. We do this to increase the likelihood of success the second time. Students in this situation are usually prohibited from using a job for student teaching, especially the first year of the job. Again, see Drs. Kisiel or Nickles or Henriques for details.

Deadlines to apply for student teaching are firm. Those students wishing to student teach during fall semester will apply no later than March 1st the previous semester. Those wishing to student teach during spring semester will apply no later than October 1st the previous semester. In order to get an application to student teach you must attend a "student teaching application meeting". This is the only way to get a student teaching application. You must be subject matter competent when you apply to student teach. See the listing of dates and locations for student teaching application meetings.

How do I find a job?

There are many resources available to help you with the job search.

  • On campus you can visit the Educational Career Placement Services Office located in ED-2, Room 168.  Office hours are 9 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday & by appointment. We recommend that you call before your visit to confirm the hours for that day. (562) 985-5772.  Judi Walker, Director
  • Off campus resources include the Teaching Recruitment Centers. Both Los Angeles County and Orange County have these resources. LA Teach Now is the LA County Office of Education's  Teacher Recruitment Center. When you become a member of the LA TRC you get advanced access to job announcements, admission to LA TRC job fairs, one-on-one advising and more. Orange County's TRC has a listing of Orange County Human Resource Contacts.
  • In addition, there are several education job fairs each year. The Educational Career Placement Office has a listing of these fairs.
  • We post positions on our Science Listserv as they become made known to us. Many of our students have found teaching positions through postings on the listserv. Make sure you maintain an active e-mail address on our listserve.

What's a preliminary credential versus a clear credential?

The "Preliminary Credential" is what you will have earned after completing required science classes, education classes, health science for secondary teachers, educational psychology classes, the constitution requirement and student teaching. You then have 5 additional years to earn the more permanent "Clear Credential". Requirements for the professional clear credential include participation in your district sponsored induction program (BTSA - Beginning Teacher Support Assessment).


Must I be enrolled at CSULB to take EDSS 300C?

Not necessarily - eventually you must apply to the university, but you may choose to enroll in EDSS 300C through University Extension. Once you decide to apply to the program to earn your credential you will apply to CSULB to take your classes. You should realize that taking courses through University Extension is risky. You may not enroll in a class until the first class meeting and then only if space is available. As the program gets more and more crowded, the likelihood of getting your classes decreases.

 How do I get to CSULB and your office?

From the 405 or 605 take route 22 (7th Street) West. CSULB is located on 7th Street. Enter campus on West Campus Drive (next to the large, electronic message sign). Make your first right off West Campus. Follow the road around the Education Building to the stop sign. There are metered parking spaces to the left of the stop sign or straight through the stop sign. After parking your car you can proceed to ED1 (the buildings you just drove around) if you want to go to the Single Subject Office (ED1-54) or you can proceed north to FO5 and HSCI. We are located in FO5-118 until March 29th. After that you can find us in HSCI-213. To get to FO5 you will walk away from 7th Street. You will pass by open fields. The first large building on your right will be Peterson Hall 1. Walk past that and turn right. FO5 is between Peterson Hall 1 (PH1) and Peterson Hall 2 (PH2). It is a small two story building. Tim Williamson is in FO5-131, Laura Henriques is in FO5-118. Directions to campus & a map of campus



last updated — Mar 10, 2011