Frequently Asked English Education Questions
Q. What pathways are available to teaching in the Sacramento Region?
Traditional teacher preparation programs require that you obtain a bachelor's degree and then apply to a teacher credential program, which will take an additional 2-3 semesters of coursework and student teaching to obtain your teaching credential. In addition to BA in any subject, completion of subject matter competency, CBEST, 2.7 GPA, experience with target population. Time for full-time student: 5+ years.
Q: What role does the community college play in teacher preparation?
All lower division coursework can be completed at a Los Rios college. The teacher preparation program at the Los Rios colleges is designed to provide for seamless transfer to California State University Sacramento (CSUS).
Q: Is the traditional CSUS Liberal Studies option still available?
Yes. If you have some coursework already completed at a Los Rios college and you are interested in becoming a teacher, see a counselor to determine which pathway to teaching option is best for you.
Q: What if I already have a college degree? Do I then need to enter this program to earn my credential?
If you already have a degree, the traditional 5th year of education and student teaching through CSUS or another four-year college or university is the best path for you to follow. Contact a counselor at CSUS or another credentialing for more information.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid at Los Rios or CSUS?
All colleges have financial aid offices that offer support for students. Many students qualify for financial aid who never even apply. The deadline dates are very early, however, and students need to have all forms submitted by March 1 for the following school year. See your financial aid officer for details well in advance of March 1.
Q: Are there any other courses I can take while I am attending a Los Rios Community College?
As part of every credential program, students take four courses in an "area of concentration." The most common ones are Human Development, Social Sciences, Math, and English. You may be able to take one or more of those courses at a LRCC. Check with your advisor at CSUS before assuming a course will work and signing up for it.
Q: What are the requirements to begin the Professional Phase (Credential Program) at CSUS?
You will begin the professional phase after you have finished about 60 units of undergraduate work, and to gain admittance, you must have:
- At least a 2.7 GPA in your transfer course work.
- Verification of two approved field experience courses (your transcript of passing the courses at Los Rios colleges is sufficient)
- 2 letters of recommendation, one from a field experience teacher or supervisor, and another from a faculty member.
- Professional goal statement.
- Official transcripts (1 CSUS and 2 non-CSUS)
- Pass the CBEST
- Pass the Writing Proficiency Exam (WPJ) at CSUS.
Q: When will I do my student teaching and how does it work?
You will do your student teaching when you complete your BA, and it lasts for two/three semesters. You will be assigned to an elementary school, and you will work extensively with a master teacher who will encourage and guide you.
Q: What are all the tests I have to take before I can get a credential?
Besides the normal exams you take as part of every class, you can expect to take a number of exams before you earn your credential through CSUS.
- Math IAD, the Mathematics Intermediate Algebra Diagnostic. This exam is required by CSUS before you can take any of the math courses at CSUS. You should take this (in the college testing center) as soon as you have passed the Intermediate Algebra course.
- CBEST, the California Educational Basic Skills Test. This exam can be taken at any time (no later than the October prior to your spring CSUS transfer), and your scores remain in effect forever. You can take it as many times as you need, but you should take it as soon as you pass the lower division Math and Writing classes.
- WPJ, the Writing Proficiency Exam for Juniors. This is a CSUS graduation requirement, and you should take it soon after you finish your lower division writing course work (no later than the September prior to your spring CSUS transfer).
- CSET, the California Subject Examination for Teachers. This exam must be passed before you can begin student teaching. This exam does not need to be taken all at once; you can take it part by part.
Q: What do I do if I decide that I want to teach at a high school instead of elementary?
Once you have a credential it is easy to add on a second credential by taking additional credential course work. High school teachers have a single subject credential as opposed to the multiple subject credential that elementary teachers have. To earn this kind of credential, you must pass the subject matter examination in the subject area you wish to teach, such as math, English, history or Spanish.
Q: I have heard that many new teachers drop out of the profession during the first 5 years. Why?
This phenomenon was a severe problem for the teaching profession a few years ago, and many changes have been enacted to counteract it:
- Credentialing schools now require early field experience so that students have a better idea that teaching is the career they really want.
- School districts have implemented much better new teacher support programs so that new teachers have the connections and help they need to enter and successfully remain in the profession.
Q: Can I teach with an emergency credential?
A few years ago, when the teacher shortage was especially severe, many districts were hiring people without credentials to teach in their schools. Now, however, with an increase in the supply of teachers, such practices are becoming very rare.
Q: Do I have to take geometry before I can take Math 310?
If you did not take and pass geometry in high school, you will have to take it in college. If you can show a high school transcript with geometry, you do not have to take it.
Q: Does everybody have to take the Intermediate Algebra class before taking Math 310?
No, some students do not have to take Intermediate Algebra. If you have a very strong math background, do well on the math placement test, you can bypass the prerequisite and move directly on to Math 310. Talk to your counselor if you think you qualify.