Why Choose the Bay?
What You Need to Know
Earning Your Teaching Credential
- Certification Overview
- What requirements are necessary for corps members to become credentialed in California?
- Will all corps members work with Loyola Marymount University?
- What causes the range in beginning teacher salaries?
- What are the up-front credentialing costs?
- What is the expected cost of LMU tuition?
Steps to Earning Your Teaching Credentials
Teach For America – Bay Area works in partnership with Loyola Marymount University (LMU) to guide all corps members through the teacher credentialing process.
- The process begins with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Intern Credential Program. This program is designed specifically for individuals who enter the classroom through a nontraditional path.
- You must pass four to nine credentialing exams prior to summer training in order to start your first year of teaching. The intern credential is a two-year, non-renewable teaching certification.
- These credentialing requirements, including, but not limited to testing, can cost up to $1,000.
- You will complete credentialing coursework through LMU during your first year of teaching. Upon completion of the LMU Teacher Credential Program, you are eligible to file for a five-year preliminary teaching credential.
- On average, corps members in the past have spent $7,000-$11,000 on LMU tuition.
- During the second year of teaching, you have the opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree through LMU – but this is not required.
Corps members must meet these requirements prior to Induction (the week before summer institute begins):
- Complete the basic skills requirement
- Pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) subject matter exam/s
- Complete the U.S. Constitution requirement by passing the online exam or providing a college course credit
- Provide a certificate of clearance by completing a background check
- Provide a copy of their degree-conferred transcript from an accredited college or university
- Complete pre-service Coursework
The vast majority of our corps members work with LMU to earn their credential.
A small group of charter networks partner with REACH Institute for credentialing. If you are hired at a school that partners with REACH, our regional team will work with you to facilitate this process.
Corps members are employees of school districts across a variety of communities in the Bay Area. The range in salary reflects the differences in cost of living within these communities. If you have a Master's degree or relevant experience, you may receive additional compensation.
Corps members can expect to incur roughly $600 in testing fees; however, this cost can fluctuate depending on the credential area.
In addition to testing fees, corps members can expect to pay near $400 for other credentialing and hiring requirements.
Corps members can expect to pay from $6,000 – $15,000 in credentialing tuition.
The cost is dependent upon the credential specialization and the use of the AmeriCorps Education Award. Our partnership with LMU allows for a payment plan that begins after the start of the school year, and federal student loans may be available for use.
Corps members choosing to pursue their Master’s Degree through LMU will incur additional costs during their second year of teaching.
What You'll Teach
- Elementary/Middle School
- Early Childhood
- Social Studies
- Special Education
Where You'll Teach
Get to Know Our Neighborhoods
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- Other Popular Places to Live
Eight years ago, no schools in downtown or East San Jose were producing achievement levels near those of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. Today, there are at least seven schools doing just that. These schools were born from the leadership of parents, students, and families in downtown and East San Jose. They worked in partnership with PACT (People Acting in Community Together) – an inter-faith, grassroots organization that empowers everyday people in San Jose to create a more just community. The work of this group has influenced policy changes at the city level.
In 2009, education leaders across different organizations in San Jose came together and committed to “SJ 2020.” The goal of this initiative is to ensure all students in the city of San Jose are proficient in reading and math by the year 2020. The city’s commitment to offering a world class education to every child by the year 2020 is propelled by the efforts of individuals working across different organizations. School boards, traditional public school districts, charter networks, teacher unions, and other educational organizations have come together to make this dream a reality.
Teach For America is a part of this story. Our corps members and alumni are showing the city what is possible at a classroom and school level through their strong leadership. As classroom teachers, school leaders, union representatives, policy leaders and school network leaders, they invite more corps members like you to help realize the community’s vision for educational change.
Neighborhood Highlights: Downtown San Jose
Downtown San Jose is the central business district of San Jose, California and home to San Jose State University. Within the heart of the city you'll find museums, a handful of libraries, the SAP Center and the TFA – San Jose office. Our partner schools are only a 10-15 minute drive from this downtown area.
For the past eight years, Oakland Unified School District has been named the most improved urban school district in the state of California. Today, due to the efforts of committed educators working alongside community leaders and families, Oakland’s schools seem poised for real change.
In 2000, the Small Schools Movement began in response to the disparity between Flatlands and more affluent Hills schools. The movement reorganized existing large, failing schools into new smaller or charter schools and gave them more autonomy in budget, staffing, and curriculum. By 2007, 49 new small schools had opened in the district. While the Hills’ schools continue to score well, many schools in Oakland’s highest-poverty neighborhoods are closing in on those results. One school led by a Teach For America alumnus is even beating them.
Longtime community organizer Ron Snyder, executive director of Oakland Community Organizations, believes the bonds Teach For America corps members and alumni have forged with the community have played a vital role in Oakland’s burgeoning turnaround. “They began to work with teachers and parents,” he says of their efforts, “house to house, school to school, church to church—creating an appetite for improvement.”
The Lake Merritt neighborhood sits at the center of the city, offering both a bustling commercial center and the eponymous sparkling lake. Residents of this neighborhood can be found running around the stunning waters, perusing Oakland’s largest indie bookstore, or movie-watching at the Grand Lake Theater. Fun fact: in 1870, Lake Merritt was the United States’ first official wildlife refuge!
Fruitvale is a neighborhood in east Oakland, California. Located about two miles southeast of Lake Merritt, this area became a center for the Chicano Movement in the late 1960s and 70s. The community has a solidly preserved and vibrant Hispanic culture.
Fun fact: The name (originally Fruit Vale) comes from the many fruit orchards which dominated the area in the late 19th century.
San Francisco is world-renowned for its booming technological innovations and its progressive civil rights history. It has consistently been listed as the highest performing urban school district in California. Even so, it also has one of the starkest achievement gaps in the state.
The Academic Performance Index (API) scores for Latino and black students in San Francisco are 683 and 627 respectively, compared to a score of 891 for white students. Roughly just 30% of black and Latino students graduate high school with the required coursework to apply to a University of California school.
In response, the San Francisco Unified School District created a strategic five-year plan, entitled “Beyond the Talk: Taking Action to Educate Every Child Now” in 2008. The plan articulated a strong focus on equity—ensuring that all students are provided equal access to opportunities and a quality education. The plan has launched a series of initiatives, including the creation of the Bayview and Mission neighborhood zones within the district, which are provide funds and support for the historically lowest performing schools in the city.
Teach For America corps members and alumni are a part of these efforts. Over 700 alumni live in the city, many of whom continue to teach and work in education. Many also partner with diverse organizations aimed at ending the status quo for low-income children of color in San Francisco. The city is ripe for corps members like you to pull up their sleeves and work in tandem with leaders in the community to answer the question, “What does a quality education look like for all students in San Francisco?”
Many corps members teach and live in The Mission, the oldest neighborhood in the city. An eclectic community, The Mission is full of family-owned taquerias, thrift shops with artistic flair, and trendy restaurants. Public transportation is plentiful in San Francisco, where residents use MUNI, BART, and CalTrain to traverse the city and much of the Bay Area.
Over two decades ago, the Richmond Unified School District went bankrupt and planned to close all of its schools. Concerned parents, led by Tom Butt, had to sue California to keep the schools open, which required the state to lend the district $29 million. At a 5.7 percent interest rate, however, the district continued to struggle. To help turn the tides, Wendy Gonzalez, a concerned first-year teacher, and others marched to Sacramento on a hunger strike to lower the rates. Even with lowered rates, Richmond became the first district in California—and possibly the nation—to be taken over by the state.
After 21 years of receivership, the district has successfully repaid all of its debt and renamed itself the West Contra Cost Unified School District.
The leadership of Superintendent Bruce Harter in this debt-free environment has helped to revive the district by focusing on the core curriculum and multicultural literacy in order to serve the diverse study body. In addition to providing teachers with additional curriculum and technology resources, Harter has worked to ensure that additional in-school interventions and after-school programs are available to struggling students.
Teach For America corps members and alumni working alongside parents—just like in tougher financial times—to take advantage of the progress that can be made with the extra $1.4 million that would have otherwise gone toward repaying the loan.
The Iron Triangle is a densely urban neighborhood located in Richmond, California, where three major railroad tracks define its triangle-shaped boundaries – hence the name! Although the centrally located area is largely residential, it includes the downtown Richmond business district along Macdonald Avenue, where the Teach For America Richmond office is located.
Fun fact: the Iron Triangle, oftentimes called the heart of Richmond, is celebrated in the novel Richmond Tales by Summer Brenner.
North & East Richmond
North & East, also known as Central Richmond, is a pleasant Richmond, California neighborhood filled with charming bungalow homes and shady trees. An affordable alternative to similar neighborhoods in other East Bay communities, N&E offers residents proximity to all the parks, beaches and waterfront activities, as well as a wide choice of nearby retail centers. The Catahoula Café and Coffee Roasting Company is a treasured cafe in the area, and the local library's monthly book sale, the Natural Food Store, a skate park, Angelo’s Gourmet Deli, and the abundant choices between authentic Mexican restaurants are all just some of the beloved community hotspots. North & East has a lively neighborhood council that distributes newsletters and hosts social events.
Other housing locations popular among corps members include:
- San Leandro
- El Cerrito
Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) is an organization whose mission is to prevent juvenile crime and incarceration through legal education, leadership training, and one-on-one mentoring. FLY believes that all of our children deserve a chance to become more than their past mistakes.
The BlackBoard of West Contra Costa is a community organization that works to provide equitable access to resources, mentoring and education for communities, with a specific focus on African Americans.
Building Blocks for Kids is a collaborative comprised of a couple dozen government agencies, nonprofit groups and local leaders, all working to ensure that every young person in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood has the opportunity to thrive.
RYSE creates safe spaces grounded in social justice that build youth power for young people to love, learn, educate, heal and transform lives and communities. Their programming focuses on supporting Richmond youth in the arts, at school and in their personal development.
Mindful Life Project teaches mindfulness, yoga, expressive arts and hip-hop/performing arts to elementary and middle school students. Through individualized instruction, the organization provides mindfulness programs that teach self-awareness, self-regulation, impulse control, confidence and resiliency.
Through informed giving and strategic initiatives, Educate 78 accelerates the development of new high quality schools, cultivates local education leaders, and engages families and community to champion policies that will produce more world-class public schools in Oakland. They seek collaboration and diverse perspectives to find creative solutions to the historically intractable challenges facing Oakland students and schools.
Fun Fact: The name "Educate 78" was inspired by the city of Oakland's 78 square miles.
The Braven Accelerator empowers promising young people on their path to college graduation and strong first jobs. Braven partners with educational institutions, volunteer professionals and employers to offer a rigorous and relevant career readiness course, followed by robust campus-based alumni programming.
Mission Graduates (MG) is a nonprofit organization that increases the number of K-12 students in San Francisco’s Mission District who are prepared for and complete a college education. For 40 years, MG has been an important institution in San Francisco’s Mission District–an ethnically mixed, low-income community, where per capita income is just $13,951.
The Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) builds communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive social change. YLI’s community-based programs have engaged young people in increasing healthy food access, decreasing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, and creating opportunities for youth civic engagement, advocacy, and philanthropy.
Summit Public Schools prepares a diverse student population for success in college, career and life, and to be contributing members of society by providing small classroom sizes and personalized, empowering and rigorous learning.
The mission of Education For Change Public Schools, a network of charter schools working in partnership with OUSD, is to provide a superior public education to Oakland’s most underserved children by creating a system of public schools that relentlessly focuses on students’ academic achievement. They believe that high quality instruction, and its continuous refinement, will lead to success for Oakland students.