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Initial Teaching Credential Admissions

Admission Requirements

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential.  Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or tax payer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check.  Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements.  The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. 

Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from:
CEHHS Student Services
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA  92096-0001
760-750-4277


All applicants to the Initial Teaching Credential Programs must meet specific admission requirements. Some items are allowed to be in progress at the time of application and admission consideration.

Prerequisite Coursework

Applicants must complete three prerequisite courses prior to enrollment in the first semester. Prerequisite coursework can be in progress at the time of application.

  • EDUC 350 Foundations of Teaching as a Profession
  • EDUC 364 The Role of Cultural Diversity in Schooling
  • EDUC 422 Technology Tools for Teaching and Learning

CSUSM Credential Application (CSU Apply)

All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must complete an  application to California State University San Marcos in order to be considered for admission. The Cal State Apply application is used to apply. Visit our How To Apply page for further information. The application fee is $70.00.

Official Transcripts

All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must submit one set of official transcripts in order to be considered for admission. All transcripts must be submitted to the Office of Admissions.  Transcripts from ALL institutions attended are required and must be postmarked no later than the priority application deadline. The only exception is work completed at CSUSM – official transcripts for CSUSM coursework are not required.

Baccalaureate Degree

All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must complete a baccalaureate degree in order to be considered for admission. The baccalaureate degree can be in progress at the time of application. The School of Education does not give preference to specific majors or undergraduate degrees. However, all applicants must have completed the required prerequisite coursework. Applicants must submit an official transcript with a completed baccalaureate degree prior to enrollment in the first semester of the program.

Basic Skills

All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must meet the Basic Skills Requirement outlined in California Education Code and Title 5 Regulations. Applicants have several options for meeting the requirement.

  • California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
  • California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) - Multiple Subject, including Subtest IV: Writing
  • California State University (CSU EAP OR ELM/EPT) Placement Tests
  • Basic Skills Examination From Another State

Complete details related to each of these options is available on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) website.

Subject Matter Competence

Teacher candidates in California are required to demonstrate competence in the subject matter they will be authorized to teach. All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must meet the Subject Matter Competence requirement specific to the program option and submit proof of completion in order to be considered for admission.

Multiple Subject and Concurrent Programs

All applicants to the Multiple Subject and Concurrent Programs must pass the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subjects Examination - Subtests I – III OR complete a commission approved subject matter preparation program. Currently, CSUSM offers a preparation program for liberal studies students in order to meet the Subject Matter Competence requirement. Applicants must request official test scores be sent to the School of Education. Exam scores are valid for ten years. Visit our How To Apply page for further information.

Single Subject Program

All applicants to the Single Subject Program have two options for meeting the Subject Matter Competence requirement:

  • California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) in the subject matter area (e.g. English, Math, etc.): Applicants must request official test scores be sent to the School of Education. Exam scores are valid for ten years.  Visit our How To Apply page for further information.

    Complete details of the CSET subject matter area tests are available online.
  • Completion of a CTC approved Subject Matter Preparation Program (SMPP): Applicants must submit a letter on official letterhead from the SMPP institution in order to be considered for admission.  Visit our How To Apply page for further information.

Middle Level Program

All applicants to the Middle Level Program must pass a Single Subject CSET Examination OR complete a commission-approved subject matter preparation program in order to meet the Subject Matter Competence. Applicants must request official test scores be sent to the School of Education. Exam scores are valid for ten years.  Visit our How To Apply page for further information.

Applicants to the Middle Level Program must also complete the Multiple Subject CSET Exam subsets I - III, and the RICA Exam prior to being recommended for their credential. 

Certificate of Clearance

A Certificate of Clearance is a document issued by the Commission to an individual who has completed the Commission's fingerprint and character and identification process, whose moral and professional fitness has been shown to meet the standards as established by law. This clearance is required for all admitted students prior to beginning the program. For complete details on how to apply for a certificate of clearance visit the Forms & Resources page, and the CTC website.

Tuberculin Risk Assessment 

The tuberculin risk assessment must be on file in CEHHS Student Services before beginning the program. TB risk assessment is valid for four years and must remain valid throughout all Clinical Practice (student teaching) experiences.  The assessment may be obtained at a private physician’s office, the County Health Department or the CSU San Marcos Student Health Center.  Current CSUSM students can obtain an appointment at the Student Health Center by calling 760-750-4915.  Please note the tuberculin risk assessment is separate from the immunization clearance required for University admission.

Letters of Recommendation

All applicants to Initial Teaching Credential Programs must submit three current letters of recommendation, preferably on official letterhead, from faculty or others who are knowledgeable about the applicant’s personal qualities and potential in order to be considered for admission. Letters can be submitted through Cal State Apply or turned in to the Student Services Center(UH 221). Applicants are encouraged to submit one letter written by a public school teacher or administrator.

Interview With Writing Exercise

All qualified applicants will be required to participate in an interview the faculty responsible for admissions to the applicable program. The interview process may include an individual interview, a group interview, and on-site submission of a writing sample from prompt.  Interview panels include program coordinators, faculty, public school teachers, and public school administrators.  Applicants are notified by mail or email to make arrangements for the interview after the application deadline.

 


Requirements After Admission

Outstanding Conditions

Admitted students with an outstanding bachelor’s degree, prerequisite coursework, or basic skills requirements MUST complete AND provide proof of these items prior to enrolling for the first semester of the program. Admitted students will not be allowed to enroll for courses until all conditions have been met.


Co-Requisites During the Program

Co-requisite Coursework

Co-requisite coursework can be completed before or during the program and are required prior to recommendation of initial credential.

  • U.S. Constitution

    Knowledge of the U.S. Constitution demonstrated by completion of a two-semester unit college-level course or a college-level examination.  Please refer to the last page of this brochure for specific information on the Constitution requirement.  If you are a CSU graduate, the Constitution requirement has been fulfilled.  
  • Health Education

    Prior to issuance of an initial credential, a health course must be completed which covers nutrition, physiological and sociological effects of abuse of alcohol, narcotics and drugs, and use of tobacco.

    Teacher credential candidates must also have valid CPR training that covers infants, children, and adults.  

Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) requires teacher candidates in the Multiple Subject and Concurrent programs to pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) (does not apply to candidates in the Single Subject program). Passing one of two components of RICA, either a comprehensive examination or a performance assessment, is a requirement for the initial issuance of a Multiple Subject Credential.  Candidates complete the RICA assessment after completion of the Language and Literacy course.

More information on the RICA is available online.