California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Regulations

Students knowing the right answer

Teachers and those who aspire to become teachers in California are subject to various regulations and laws. These laws govern not only who can become a teacher and how they do so, but they also regulate the conduct of these professionals once they become teachers. 

The Committee of Credentials is composed of seven members who are appointed by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). It is this committee that looks into any allegations of misconduct that come to the Commission’s attention involving either credentialed teachers or applicants. 

As an aspiring or current teaching professional, it is critical to understand these various laws and rules and how they can impact your career.

Types of Teaching Credentials Offered by the CTC

California’s Education Code discusses teacher credentialing beginning in Section 44000. The CTC offers several different types of teaching and other credentials. These include:

General Education Credentials

General education credentials are intended for teachers looking to teach in grades K through 12, including in elementary, middle, and high schools. A single subject credential allows the teacher to teach the subject that is listed on the credential. 

For teachers looking to teach several subjects to a class of students that remain together in one classroom, a multiple-subject teaching credential will be needed.

Other Teaching Credentials

Beyond the general education teaching credential, there are other credentials offered in California that the Commission oversees, such as the:

  • Special educator teaching credential
  • Career technical teaching credential
  • Adult education teaching credential
  • American Indian language and culture teaching credential

Each of these credentials has its own requirements that must be met before the credential can be issued. For general teaching credentials, for instance, you must possess a bachelor’s degree, demonstrate proficiency in the subject or subjects you are wanting to teach, and complete certain prerequisite courses. 

Similarly, the American Indian language and culture teaching credential requires demonstrated fluency and knowledge of a tribe’s language and culture.

Background Checks Are Completed on All Applicants

If you are applying for credentials, the Commission will run a criminal background check on you to look for disqualifying convictions. If you fail to disclose previous convictions — even ones that are not automatically disqualifying — this can lead to a denial of your application for credentials.

Teacher Discipline and Misconduct Rules and Regulations

Education Code Section 44000 and Section 44240 are the general provisions that govern teacher discipline and misconduct. Discipline can take the form of a private admonition, public reprimand, suspension of a teaching credential, or revocation of a teaching credential.

Automatic Denial or Revocation of Teaching Credentials

California law requires that the Commission automatically deny applications for credentials from certain individuals. Additionally, if a person presently has teaching credentials, those credentials must be revoked if the Commission learns the person has any disqualifying condition.

Convictions or situations that result in automatic denial or revocation of credentials include:

  • Any sex offense that is designated in Education Code Section 44011
  • A conviction for a violent or serious felony listed in Education Code Section 44424, or an attempt to commit such an offense
  • Having been adjudicated by a court to be a mentally disordered sex offender
  • Having been found insane by a state or federal court

These are the only situations where the Commission’s action in denying or revoking teaching credentials is required. In all other cases, the Commission will determine what discipline to administer based on the facts of each situation.

Other Actions Against Credential Holders

The Committee can open an investigation into a credentialed teacher or an applicant if allegations of misconduct come to the Committee’s attention. Education Code 44242.5 describes the circumstances that could lead to the initiation of an investigation into a teacher’s credentials or a person’s application. 

Some of the circumstances listed include receiving a sworn affidavit from someone with knowledge of misconduct or notification of criminal conduct from a court or law enforcement agency.

An Experienced Licensing Defense Lawyer Knows the Rules

As a teacher or aspiring educator, you are expected to know and comply with the rules and regulations that govern your profession. Even inadvertently failing to comply with them can be grounds for disciplinary proceedings. But it can be challenging to know and understand the various laws that apply to teachers and applicants seeking credentials.

This is why consulting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with California’s teacher credentialing and misconduct laws is crucial. At S J Harris Law, our team’s knowledge of these laws means we can quickly determine whether your credentials are in jeopardy and help you take appropriate action.

If you are concerned about your teaching career and license, you can turn to S J Harris Law for seasoned and well-informed help. Contact us for your free consultation.

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When dealing with these complex issues, you need legal representation that has a long track record of success in these types of cases. Scott Harris and the rest of our team at S J Harris Law will be ready to help you pursue any option available that allows you to keep your license and continue working, no matter what industry you are in.


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