Teaching opportunities in California are as diverse as the state itself. The public education system serves a heterogeneous mix of students: half of California students come from low-income families, and more than one-fourth are non-native English speakers. The challenges facing California teachers are great, but so are the opportunities.
California offers landscapes and cities for everyone. Those seeking a metropolitan lifestyle can find opportunities in San Francisco or Los Angeles, while those longing for something more laid back might be drawn to schools in Napa or Santa Cruz. Regardless of where you want to teach, the job market for teachers in California is very competitive. Teacher salaries are significantly higher than the national average, and many individuals are drawn to the beautiful scenery of California. Public funding and budget issues have resulted in significant job losses for teachers.
On the bright side, computer science and mathematics are still listed as shortage areas in California – so there is opportunity for those with STEM backgrounds to find the job of their dreams in California. In addition, California offers several different alternative certification routes designed to attract highly-qualified individuals.
Math Teacher Certification in California
Math Teaching Qualifications
California requires teachers to complete prerequisite coursework and meet state testing requirements.
Credentials & Exams
There are two main types of teaching credentials in California:
- Single Subject Teaching Credential (typical in middle and high schools), and
- Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (used in most self-contained classrooms in elementary schools).
There are two levels for each of these credentials. Level I credential is a preliminary credential earned after meeting the basic requirements and is valid for five years. A Level II credential is earned once a teacher has completed all credential requirements and must be renewed every 5 years.
All teachers must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET).
Alternative Certification for Math Teachers
California offers several alternative certification routes for qualified individuals:
- The first is the District Intern Certificate.
- The second alternative is the Eminence Credential. This credential is available to those who have shown excellence in their field, which includes recognition by one’s peers as a distinguished contributor.
- A third option is the Early Completion Internship, which is available to those who already hold a bachelor’s degree and are seeking a faster route to certification. Candidates must meet the basic skills testing requirement, pass the Teaching Foundations exam, complete a course on the U.S. Constitution (or pass a Constitutional exam), demonstrate subject knowledge by passing the relevant content examination and be enrolled in a district intern program.
- A fourth option is the Sojourn Certificated Employee Credential, a program for non-native English speakers who wish to teach foreign language and ESL classes. Candidates do not need a bachelor’s degree, but need at least 90 semester credits of college-level work and are required to complete at least six semester credits per year toward a bachelor’s degree.
- The final option is the University Intern Credential. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, meet the basic skills testing requirement and obtain approval from the teacher’s union of the employing school. This program is offered through approved universities and offers teaching certification within one-to-two years through the internship program.
Financial Aid for CA Math Teachers
- ACS-Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship : This scholarship is awarded to individuals in the field of chemistry who desire to pursue a Master’s degree in education or become a science teacher. Recipients can receive up to $6,000 (full-time study) or $3,000 (part-time study).
- AFCEA STEM Scholarship: This $5,000 scholarship is offered to students enrolled in a course of study to become a science, technology, engineering or mathematics teacher at the middle or secondary school level. Undergraduates must be STEM or secondary education majors, and graduate students must have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major.
- Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students: This scholarship (a maximum of $3,000) is awarded to a male student majoring in engineering, chemistry, physics or mathematical sciences.
- KSTF Teaching Fellowships: This is a five-year fellowship for individuals with one-year or less experience interested in teaching STEM subjects. The program offers intensive professional development, trainings, support and mentoring, as well as summer and National Board stipends.
- Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE): Eligible teachers may receive up to $19,000 of loan forgiveness for four years of teaching in a high-need subject (math, special education or science) in a high-need school (school scoring in the bottom 20 percent of California‘s Academic Performance Index score).
- USC Noyce Science Teacher Scholarship: In order to be eligible for this award, potential recipients must have a STEM background and desire to teach K-12 math or science. Awardees receive a stipend of $20,000 to be applied to tuition at a full-time 13-month MAT program.
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Using Music to Teach Mathematics: This grant offers up to $3,000 for teachers wanting to incorporate music into the elementary classroom to help students learn math.
Salaries for Math Teachers in California
Below is a table containing 2013 data from the US Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) showing average annual wages for California teachers at various grade levels. You can click on the column headers to sort by that column.
The red and green text in the table shows whether the salary is above or below the national average for that grade level.
In terms of annual income, the top grade level & city combos in California are as follows:
- Middle School Teachers in Chico, CA: average of $86,620 per year
- Middle School Teachers in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: average of $74,350 per year
- Elementary School Teachers in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA: average of $73,360 per year
- Secondary School Teachers in Modesto, CA: average of $73,160 per year
- Elementary School Teachers in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: average of $72,980 per year
|Location||Elementary School Teachers||Kindergarten Teachers||Middle School Teachers||Secondary School Teachers|
|Chico, CA||$52,140||not provided||$86,620||not provided|
|El Centro, CA||$72,680||$68,050||not provided||$66,940|
|Hanford-Corcoran, CA||not provided||not provided||not provided||$53,230|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||$73,360||$66,690||$70,060||$70,650|
|Madera-Chowchilla, CA||$71,520||$60,040||$67,960||not provided|
|Merced, CA||$67,340||$68,530||$63,250||not provided|
|Napa, CA||$65,020||not provided||not provided||not provided|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||$68,400||$61,430||$63,690||$66,240|
|Redding, CA||$61,380||$64,270||not provided||not provided|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||$72,980||$67,450||$74,350||$70,130|
|Salinas, CA||$56,620||$56,430||not provided||not provided|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||$64,020||$54,930||$63,110||$69,060|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||$69,250||$62,210||$67,980||$69,990|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$69,320||$65,150||$67,190||$72,600|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA||$70,720||$64,760||not provided||$64,790|
|Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA||$68,540||$69,050||$49,910||not provided|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||$65,260||$60,280||$54,910||$68,280|
|Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA||$47,210||$57,020||not provided||$64,390|
|Vallejo-Fairfield, CA||$67,100||$55,400||$54,320||not provided|
|Visalia-Porterville, CA||$65,040||$66,680||not provided||$67,680|
|Yuba City, CA||$66,370||$65,340||not provided||$57,830|
Math Teaching Degrees in California
Below we've listed all of the California math teacher education programs in our database. We're constantly scouring the web to find new programs to add, so feel free to check back frequently.
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Fast Facts for California Math Teachers
California Department of Education
1430 North St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Common Core Standards adopted Aug. 2010; implemented 2014-15. Learn more about math standards for California here.
Math Teacher Jobs
Teacher Shortages in MathCalifornia reported teacher shortages in mathematics and computer education in 2014-15.
Expenditure per Student: $9,202
California’s public K-12 expenditures per student in fall 2012-13 enrollment totaled $9,202, or 83.1% of the national average. (Source: NEA)