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BA in Theatre, teach HS English in CA?


New Member
If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it!

My BA is from an accredited regional university in Missouri with a 3.5 gpa. I currently live in Los Angeles and very much want to take the steps towards getting my Single Subject Certification in English for the state of California (Yes, I'm an actress who is now happily making the switch to a more stable and gratifying life).

I've found tons of information online but nothing that depicts my specific situation. Do I need to first take undergraduate courses to attain a BA in English and THEN move on to a credential program? Or is my BA sufficient and can I simply begin the process from there?

I know I must pass the CBEST and understand the two tiered credential program required by the state. I've also read that there are certain tests that can be taken to bypass some of the coursework. Anyone know what my options are?


Senior Member

CA may have very different regs, but it sounds as if you might be able to do a masters. I'm surprised that the Dept of Ed website in CA doesn't have a licensure or Certification link that explains it all.

I would suggest going to the college you would go to for this, and go to the graduate office and ask for help. They may be able to help you.

Also, it will depend if you are looking to do High School, Middle School, or a general elementary. Check out your options carefully at the college. I discovered on my own that I could piggyback a certification so I have two and it only meant taking two extra courses and an additional test.

Would you be interested in a Reading Specialist position? This is in high demand, as are Science, Math, and Special Education teachers. Or if you have a bent for second languages, this may also be something you might want to do.

Good Luck!


Senior Member
Well...I have a BFA in theatre in Georgia. To get certified, I sent a letter and my transcripts to the state office in charge of certifying teachers. They sent me back the college classes I would have to take to get a teaching certificate in middle grades language arts and social studies.

My advice would be to get accepted into a teaching program (master's) and obtain an advisor. The folks at a college would know the procedures to get certified chapter and verse. Find out the office's address at the state level in charge of certifying teachers and request an application for certification. You can probably get answers on the phone as to whether you need to send a paper request or if there is a website, etc. You might have to have your old colleges send the transcripts so that they are "official." Your advisor at the college will know classes you have to take to begin with. For instance when I started, I HAD to take a course on students with special needs and a course on teaching reading since those two courses were mandated by the state for everyone to take.

50 percent of achieving anything is getting started. Good luck with your new career! You'll have plenty of chances to use your theater background in the classroom!


New Member
Thanks for your advice and perspective. You were right that it took sitting down with an advisor. The info is out there but it's a little buried.

So for anyone is California with a BA or BS who is interested in teaching - here is how it works in this state.

If your degree is not in the field you wish to teach, you will have to "establish subject competency". This can be done one of two ways: you can take about a semester's worth of classes or you can take the CSET in your chosen subject. I am told it's difficulty level is comparable to the GRE and that it costs $200. If you pass, you have established that you are competent in your subject and may proceed with obtaining your teaching credential.

However, I got awfully lucky. Turns out that a the majority of my Theatre classes counted as English classes and thus I have already established competency. Thank goodness for those Shakespeare classes, huh?

Hope this is of some use to someone down the line.


Senior Member
Lots of use

You have answered a question I've been wondering about for quite some time. Thanks for posting it.