Education + Human Services

Help Others Succeed

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Are you passionate about people-centered work that transforms communities? You may want to consider building your future in Education + Human Services.

This career path is for those who want to become future educators, practitioners, scholars, community leaders, and change agents. Together, these professionals strengthen communities, address systemic issues, and support others through direct service, outreach, prevention, and advocacy. They are dedicated to the growth, development, and needs of individuals through work that includes teaching, child development, counseling, psychology, social work, social services, speech-language pathology, human resources, NGOs, and nonprofits. 

If this sounds like you or who you want to become, learn how you can move forward to help others.



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Meet Your Counselor

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John Coate

Career Counselor

Education + Human Services

How I Can Help

Needs and opportunities are abound in the career fields of Education + Human Services. Whether your initial interests are ignited by traditional occupations like teaching and social work or contemporary specialties that are emerging as we speak, I am here to help you explore the world of wonderful options that lead from UCSB. 

Offering 20+ years of experience in the helping professions (mostly with UC students!), I want to support you as you navigate your way. Let's take your first step together, no matter where you are in the journey.

Learn more about me

Explore Grad School: Teaching K-12

For complete information on graduate school search strategies and the application process, review our starter tips to Explore Grad School in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Credentials, Certifications, and Licenses

When pursuing a teaching career, it is helpful to make an early decision regarding the geographical location that you would like to teach at. To become a teacher, you need to be certified or licensed to teach within a specific state. Each state has individual requirements, certificates, and exceptions, therefore, selecting a state early will help you prepare for your teaching career. 

If you want to teach in California, we recommend that you research the requirements of the path which you are interested in pursuing early on, as each path has a specific set of requirements. Your steps will be different depending on your interest in becoming credentialed in the state of California or teaching through an alternative pathway, including national service programs or teacher residency programs. 

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) provides you with information related to the type of credentialing needed to teach in elementary, secondary, and special education in public schools. Using this resource, you can search for information on traditional teacher education programs, alternative certification or district intern programs, and substitute teaching.

You can also use the resource Teach California to gain information about the teaching profession, specifically addressing the shortage of special education, mathematics, and science teachers, explaining the teacher preparation process, and assisting prospective teachers with planning to become credentialed teachers.

Because teacher credentials differ between states, understand the specific requirements by researching the credentialing and licensing process for the state in which you are interested in working. 

  • Great resource to get started in learning about teaching in another state.
  • Provides current and aspiring teachers with a navigable map outlining steps to become a teacher. It also includes teacher salaries, teacher preparation and certification requirements for all 50 states as well as teaching abroad. It focuses on providing information on online preparation programs. 
  • Teacher Certification Degrees: Presents you with guides and resources to teach you about the requirements needed to become a teacher, and your educational options for all 50 states. 
  • To Become A Teacher: Offers career tips and advice for different grade levels, subjects and licensing for all 50 states and Canada. It also shares current news about the profession.

If you ever move to another state, you will need to apply for a new license in that state. You may be able to apply for teacher certification reciprocity, which would provide you with additional time to complete that state’s licensure requirements while teaching under a temporary license. However, this is not an automatic process, and the guidelines vary. 

Teacher Education Programs (TEPs)

Begin to research TEPs early in order to understand whether the program meets your academic and career goals, and familiarize yourself with the application process and any requirements. We recommend starting to research programs at least a year and a half before you plan to start your program. Not all TEPs are the same, and there are important decisions for you to make in your process of exploring programs.

Some TEPs offer master’s degrees as well as teaching credentials, whereas others are specialized by subject or population. Additionally, some programs take one year while others take longer. There is a wide array of options for you to choose from, which means you will need to research in order to determine which programs will work best for you.

As you research options, stay aware of application due dates. Many applications are due in January or February but some are due as early as November or December. Plan ahead to set a date for taking your admissions exams. To make a decision about which program to apply to, consider the program type (i.e., credential-only, credential with master’s degree, etc.), program length, experiential learning opportunities, cost, financial aid and scholarships, location, and anything else that may be important to you.


If possible, visit the schools that appeal to you and speak with the faculty and current credential candidates for a better perspective. Correspond directly with the teacher education office within the school that you are applying to. Typically, the majority of the information regarding the program(s) is on the website, however you can always request further information.

Application Process

Most teaching credential programs will evaluate your application for admission based on the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate GPA (primarily your upper division coursework)
  • Graduate Admission Test Scores (including, CBEST, CSET, and possibly GRE scores)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Other requirements such as classroom volunteer hours, language skills, etc. (if applicable)

Read each application thoroughly and understand what each program considers a “complete application.” TEPs tend to be very specific and many schools have an application handbook or checklist to help ensure that you have all the necessary components for applying. Click below to explore the application process in greater detail.

One of the first decisions to make about TEPs is whether you are interested in acquiring your teaching credential only or you would like to obtain a master’s degree. A Master of Arts in Teaching provides you with extra preparation for the classroom and allows you to be placed higher on the pay scale. Check out the Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master in Education article for details about the differences between master's degree options.


Learn More

Need more clarity on your general career goals? Be sure to browse our Self-Assessment page for personal insights.


To find TEPs in California, use the Approved Institutions and Programs search tool by the California Commission of Teacher Credentials (CTC). This page is the primary source of information on all aspects of teacher credentials in California.

To understand a few examples of TEPs, you can look into the UCSB Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Teacher Education Program and the California State University Teacher and Educator Degrees & Credentials. Programs usually offer thorough information on their websites and upcoming information sessions.


Learn More

Check out our Grad School 101 for general tips and resources about the process of searching for programs.


Teaching Credential programs generally require two to three graduate admissions tests, which you should plan to take approximately one year before your anticipated program start date. The three most likely to be required are the CBEST, CSET, and GRE. The school’s catalog and graduate application will specify which tests you will need to take, and, in some cases, an indication of the score needed to be competitive for the program. Before you fill out the test application, you will need to know the graduate schools to which you will be applying. 

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Whether or not you need to take the GRE depends on the graduate program that you are applying to. Some (but not all) schools require it for admission. Note that some TEPs allow you to take the Millers Analogies Test (MAT) in lieu of the GRE. 

Basic Skills Requirement: The most common way to satisfy the basic skills requirement is by obtaining a passing score on the CBEST. Additional ways to satisfy this requirement include obtaining a passing score on the CSET (test #142), SAT (minimum score of 550 math and 500 english), ACT (minimum score of 23 for math and 22 english), or AP examinations (minimum score of 3 in Calculus AB/BC or Statistics for Math and English Lang and Comp or Eng Lit and Comp for English).

Subject Matter Competency: Take a CSET Subtest for each subject that you want to teach. Review the Subject Matter Competency Requirements to find the exams that you need to take. In lieu of the CSET, you may be able to submit a subject matter waiver letter from an approved credential analyst, depending on the subject and coursework that you have completed. If you are interested in teaching secondary mathematics, UCSB undergraduate students who complete the Subject Matter Preparation Program in Mathematics can get their CSET in Mathematics waived. 


Learn More

For more information about the GRE, CBEST, and CSET, review our Entrance Exams page. Additionally, the California Educator Credentialing Assessments provides you with information about California educator credentialing examinations (e.g., CBEST and CSET), including information on test dates and locations, preparation materials, and registration for the assessments. 


All graduate schools will require anywhere from two to five letters of recommendation from professors or employers. Applicants pursuing a teaching credential immediately after their undergraduate work will want the majority of their letters to be from professors. At least one of your letters should be from a faculty member with whom you have studied and. Additionally, it would be ideal to include at least one letter from a teacher under whom you have accrued your prerequisite teaching experience. 

Letters of recommendation should be specifically directed toward your application for admission to TEPs. They should focus upon areas that directly pertain to your potential as a graduate student and as a prospective teacher. Approach your references early and give them at least one month’s notice to draft and submit their letters of recommendation.


Learn More

Review our Letters of Recommendation page for a deeper understanding of this topic.


The statement of purpose is your opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are qualified and a good candidate for their teacher education program. Be prepared to write an essay or statement on your background in interests as they pertain to teaching. 


Learn More

Look through our Essays page for a guide on writing statements of purpose and other admissions essays.


Many TEPs require that you meet a minimum of number of hours in the classroom or working with youth by the time you apply. This differs depending on the program, but generally you should have a minimum of 20-40 hours. You also need to satisfy the U.S. Constitution requirement with a course equivalency (e.g., History 17A or Political Science 12 at UCSB) or passing the U.S. Constitution Exam at an approved institution. Many schools also require an in-person interview. Review each application checklist for any school that you are interested in to ensure that you complete all the requirements. 

Your application should demonstrate your interest in becoming a teacher, and your capability to handle graduate-level work. Pay close attention to all of the application requirements and deadlines to ensure that you have a complete application. 

Funding and Scholarships

You may be wondering how you can finance your graduate education. Oftentimes, the program will provide you with information about funding, loans, and scholarships that you can apply for to help finance your graduate studies.

You may also be able to look into loan forgiveness programs, teacher training scholarships, grants or campus-based programs. There are several sources of financial aid if you are seeking to become a teacher in California. 


Learn More

Visit TeachCalifornia for more details about sources of financial aid to become a teacher in California. You can also stop by our Grad School 101 page for general information about funding graduate education. 

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