Biology

Teaching Credential

Information for individuals seeking subject matter clearance for Single Subject Credentials in Biological Sciences, California State University Northridge

Admission to a CSU credential program or University intern program requires demonstration of subject matter competence in biological science, and there are several ways of completing that requirement. The most common is passage of a set of state-administered California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), with six testing dates per year (http://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/). The exact subtests to be taken depend on the teaching authorizations desired, but for grade 9-12 classroom teaching the requirements include general science (subtests 118 and 119) as well as biological sciences (subtest 120). An authorization to teach introductory or foundational level general science (typically in grades K-8) is available through passage of subtests 118 and 119 alone (http://www.ctc.ca.gov/notices/coded/2009/0902.pdf). A specialized waiver from subtest 120 is possible for certain students who have an undergraduate degree in biological science and at least 30 post-baccalaureate units in the field, or a post-baccalaureate degree in the field (http://www.ctc.ca.gov/notices/coded/030010/030010.pdf). However, the Biology (Specialized) credential does not authorize teaching of integrated/coordinated sciences, which is a common teaching assignment in the high schools. Completion of a B.A. degree in Biology should be adequate preparation for any of the three exams, but candidates may wish to speak to the Biology Credential Advisor to discuss course options. Students interested in becoming public school science teachers should discuss their plans with the CSUN Credential Office (/eisner-education/credential-office), as it is sometimes possible to combine preliminary credential coursework with a baccalaureate degree program. Students should also investigate the University Intern Program, by which a credential can be completed while the student is employed as a teacher.