Credential Office

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    Welcome to the Credential Office

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a teaching credential?

A teaching credential is a state license to teach in a public school setting. California law requires all teachers in the California public school system to hold a valid teaching credential. Credentials are most often obtained by completing a state-approved credential program at an accredited college or university. CSUN offers programs for teaching credentials in most subject areas. The three basic teaching credentials used in public schools are the Multiple Subject, Single Subject and Education Specialist credentials.

What credential is needed to become an elementary school teacher?

To be an elementary school teacher a Multiple Subject credential is required. This credential authorizes teaching in public school settings where the teacher teaches all subjects to one group of students in a self-contained classroom. This credential is sometimes used in core subject blocks in some middle schools as well.

What credential is needed to become a junior high or high school teacher?

To be a junior high or high school teacher a Single Subject credential is required. This credential authorizes teaching in public school settings where the teacher teaches one subject to several different groups of students in a departmentalized classroom. This type of classroom structure is found in some middle schools as well.

What credential is needed to become a special education teacher?

To be a special education teacher an Education Specialist credential is required. Four specialization areas are offered at CSUN: Mild/Moderate, Moderate/Severe, Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Early Childhood. This credential, depending upon area of specialization, can authorize teaching students with special needs from birth through age 22.

How long is the credential program?

The Multiple Subject program is 39 units, the Single Subject program is 36 units and the Education Specialist program can be anywhere from 42 to 49 units depending on area of specialization. The average amount of time students take to complete the program is 2 years. Completion time is ultimately determined by how you set your schedule, i.e. full-time or part-time.

Can I complete the program in one year?

Yes, most of our credential programs can be completed through the two semester Accelerated Collaborative Teacher Preparation Program (ACT). This is a full-time, fast-track, post-baccalaureate program that begins each fall and ends in spring. If you are interested in this pathway you can obtain a brochure by visiting the Credential Office, by calling the ACT Office at 818-677-2567, or on the website at Some programs can be completed in one year through the traditional pathway as well.

Are there courses offered in the evening, in the summer, on the weekend, on-line?

Most credential courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening and usually meet once or twice a week. Occasionally there are Saturday classes offered, as well as a few on-line. Student teaching will of course take place during the day but may be reserved until the last two semesters of your program. In some programs limited coursework is available through the Tseng College of Extended Learning during the summer sessions.

How much does the program cost?

Please check the following link for current university fee schedules.

How do I apply for admission to the Credential Program?

First step, complete the online information session posted on the Credential Office website under Admission. Second step, submit a complete application online.

Do I also need to apply to the university?

Candidates who are not currently admitted must apply to the university via

If you are currently admitted to the university as a graduate student you simply need to notify Admissions and Records that you are adding a credential objective, you do not need to reapply.

If you are currently admitted as an undergraduate you will need to reapply to the university as a a post-baccalaureate student. We recommend starting this process at the beginning in the semester of your final undergraduate courses.

When are applications due?

The application deadline dates are August 8th for fall and January 10th for spring. Please check our website for updated application deadline information. It is to your advantage to get your application in as early as possible.

Are there any prerequisite courses required for admission into the credential programs?

No, there are no prerequisite courses required for admission to the credential program.

Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree?

All California public school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. However, you do not need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to begin the credential program. In fact, we have several “blended” programs that will allow you to complete your undergraduate degree and credential simultaneously and in less time than if you pursued these objectives independent of each other. For additional information regarding these programs please contact the appropriate department.

ITEP for the Liberal Studies degree and Multiple Subject or Special Education credential /humanities/liberal-studies

FYI / JYI for the English degree and Single Subject credential –

FYI / JYI for the math degree and Single Subject credential –

Do I need to take the CBEST?

In the past the CBEST exam has been the most common way to meet the Basic Skills Requirement (BSR) for admission to the program. Another exam option has now been introduced; the CSET Writing Skills exam. This exam may be used in conjunction with the CSET Multiple Subjects exam to meet the BSR; you would then not need to pass the CBEST. Note: This option is most suitable for Multiple Subject and some Education Specialist candidates since they will already be taking the CSET Multiple Subjects exam. Typically Single Subject candidate still use the CBEST to meet the Basic Skills requirement. Additional options for meeting the BSR are available on our website.

Do I need to take the CSET?

The CSET exam is used to meet the Subject Matter Competence requirement for admission to the program.

Multiple Subject candidates must take the CSET Multiple Subjects exam.

Single Subject and Education Specialist candidates have several options for meeting the subject matter requirement. They are as follows (select one):

  • Pass all subtests of the CSET exam for your subject area.
  • Complete a Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved subject matter program. If your undergraduate major was in the subject area you want to teach, there is a possibility you may have met this requirement by way of subject matter program. This must be determined by the subject matter program advisor in the department of your major. Contact the academic department of the institution where you completed your bachelor’s degree to see if you completed an approved subject matter program as part of your bachelor’s degree.
  • For specialized sciences only, an advanced degree in your specific subject area will meet the subject matter requirement. Note that the specialized science authorization is limited in that you will be able to teach only your specific area of science and not general sciences. For further information contact an advisor in the Credential Office.
  • It is important to be aware of the acceptable subject matter areas for the particular credential you plan to pursue; they are listed in the program application and in the online information session.

If I have already been fingerprinted do I need to do it again?

If your fingerprinting and background check resulted in you receiving a document issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (i.e. substitute permit, provisional intern permit, etc.) and your document is valid, then you do not need to go through this process again. If you were fingerprinted for any other purpose, you will need to get a current livescan service and complete the Certificate of Clearance process. Directions can be found on our website.

What is the entrance GPA requirement?

The GPA requirement for those applying to a blended program (ITEP, FYI, JYI) is 2.67 overall cum. For all other programs the GPA requirement is 2.67 overall cum or 2.75 in the last 60 units. Once admitted you must maintain a 2.75 overall cum and a 3.0 program GPA.

Can I substitute courses from another university?

Once you have submitted your application, your transcripts will be reviewed and a determination will be made as to whether or not any of your courses are applicable to our credential program. Coursework taken at another institution after you submit your application to our program is not acceptable.

Important Note: If you were previously enrolled in a credential program at another university you will need to provide a “letter of good standing” from that institution along with your program application. If you are transferring from another credential program you will be required to complete a minimum of 9 units of professional education coursework to establish residency at CSUN prior to student teaching.

I was a teacher in another state. How can I become a credentialed teacher in California?

If you completed a professional teacher preparation program including supervised student teaching and you were eligible for certification in another state, you may apply directly to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for a California Preliminary Teaching Credential. For additional information visit the Commission website at

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available if you qualify. Scholarship opportunities are available as well. Questions here can be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Information can be found on their website: Additional information regarding scholarships is available on the College of Education website at:

To whom should the letters of recommendation be addressed?

There is no specific individual to whom your letters of recommendation must be addressed. Any of the common general salutations are acceptable.

May I submit my application packet even though I do not have all the required items?

Only applications containing all required materials will be accepted and reviewed for admission into a credential program.

May I retrieve copies of my application packet once it has been submitted to the Credential office?

Please make copies prior to submission of any documents that you need to retain for your own records. All submitted items become part of the student file and are not returned to the student.

I have completed the online information session and have a few questions I would like to discuss with a Credential Advisor. How would I contact someone?

You can schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor through our online appointment system located on our home page.