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Teach in California if You Were Trained Out of State

California has a two-tier credential structure. A preliminary credential is the first document issued after an individual meets basic requirements. The preliminary credential is issued for a maximum of five years. A clear credential is issued when all credential requirements have been completed. If requirements for the clear credential are not completed before the expiration of the preliminary, the holder will not be able to teach in California's public schools with that credential until those requirements are met and the document is renewed. Please contact a credential technician if you have questions regarding this matter.

  • The Multiple Subject Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach in a self-contained classroom such as those in a preschool, K-12, inclusive, or in classes organized primarily for adults. Most assignments are in an elementary classroom.
  • The Single Subject Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach the specific subject(s) named on the credential in departmentalized classes such as those in middle and high schools. 
  • The Education Specialist Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach in the area of specialization listed on the credential. These areas include Mild/Moderate Disabilities (M/M), Moderate/Severe Disabilities (M/S), Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), Visual Impairments (VI), Physical and Health Impairments (PHI), and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).

I have a credential in another state. What do I need to do to get a California credential?

An application packet will need to contain most, if not all, of the following items:
NOTE: All documents must have an original "wet" ink signature.

  • A Certificate of Clearance (watch how-to video) issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (first-time applications)
  • Application fee of $100 money order or cashier's check payable to CTC for all applications ($50 if you received a Certificate of Clearance credit - check the CTC website).
  • A completed 41-4 Application for Credential form (PDF)
  • A copy of the Live Scan request form returned to you by the fingerprint technician (Learn about SDCOE fingerprinting services.)
  • Official transcripts with your Bachelor's degree or higher showing all professional preparation including student teaching and a photocopy of same (the originals will be returned to you). Electronic transcripts will be accepted if they are sent directly from the university to us at
  • A photocopy of the front and back of your out-of-state teaching credential.
  • A photocopy of your CBEST scores or approved out-of-state Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) scores. If the basic skills requirement has not been met, you will be given a one year grace period in which to take and pass the CBEST.
  • If applicable, verification of 2 or more years of full-time teaching experience in a state other than California. This must be verified by an original letter on official letterhead of the district where you were employed and signed by the superintendent, assistant superintendent, or director of personnel.
  • If applicable, photocopies of 2 annual performance evaluations
  • If applicable, a photocopy of your National Board Certification
  • A completed Temporary County Certificate (PDF) form (receipt)

Note: Submitting your application packet through an employing district or through a County Office of Education can provide better service and understanding of the credentialing requirements in California. If you meet the eligibility and fingerprint requirements for the credential or permit, the San Diego County Office of Education is able to issue you a Temporary County Certificate (TCC) with which to seek employment while your application is being processed at the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

*California Education Code 44235.5 requires the Commission to waive all application and processing fees for the initial issuance of a teaching credential for an out-of-state applicant who relocates to California due to orders received from a branch of the United States Armed Forces that require the applicant's spouse to relocate to California. The provision applies to the following credentials: Single Subject (secondary), Multiple Subject (elementary) or Education Specialist (Special Ed) Teaching Credentials. This does not apply to the Certificate of Clearance fees.

Frequently Requested Credential Types

We've compiled a list of the most frequently requested credential types and links to the corresponding CTC leaflet explaining in detail the qualifications required to apply. Please review the appropriate CTC informational leaflet containing detailed application requirements. A complete listing of all credential types and leaflets can be found at the Commission's website.

  • Administrator Services Credential CL-574
  • Education Specialist Teaching Credential CL-808
  • Foreign Transcript Evaluation CL-635
  • Multiple Subject Teaching Credential CL-561
  • School Counselor/School Psychologist CL-606
  • Single Subject Teaching Credential CL-560
  • Speech-Language Pathology Services CL-879

Teachers Trained Out of the Country

Requirements for the Clear Credential for individuals prepared outside of the United States, if not previously met with issuance of the Preliminary Credential, may consist of the following:

  • Basic Skills Requirement
  • Developing English Language Skills including Reading
  • U.S. Constitution – a college level course or examination
  • Subject Matter Competence – appropriate subject matter assessment
  • Induction or fifth year of study (if induction is not available)

Out of Country transcripts must be evaluated prior to submission by an approved evaluation company. View agencies you may contact.

If you have further questions, please contact an SDCOE Credential Technician at or (858) 298-2194.

Download Guide to Out-of-State English Learner Authorizations / Endorsements (PDF)

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To apply for a Certificate of Clearance, applicants must complete Live Scan fingerprinting (41-LS and Clearinghouse) and then apply online at the Commission of Teacher Credentialing website.

To update your name with the Commission it is necessary to complete and submit form 41-NC along with all the requested documentation. Access the form online, then submit it to our office or send it directly to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing at 1900 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95811-4213.

The CTC no longer prints nor mails a physical document to credential or permit holders. If you need a physical copy of your credential or permit, you will need to print a copy from the CTC website.

The Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit authorizes the holder to serve as a day-to-day substitute teacher in any classroom, including preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1-12 inclusive, or in classes organized primarily for adults.

Renewing online three months prior to the expiration date usually allows enough time for the document to be granted and downloaded to our payroll system.

SDCOE is currently accepting all paper applications via U.S. mail at 6401 Linda Vista Road, Room 104, San Diego, CA 92111. Please allow approximately 3-4 weeks for processing time.