School of Education


What are the types of credentials?

A Multiple Subject Credential authorizes teaching in a self-contained classroom in which the same educator teaches a variety of subjects to the same group of students. These classrooms are usually, but not always, in elementary schools (K-6).

A Single Subject Credential authorizes teaching in departmentalized classrooms in the subject area in which the educator specialized, teaching that subject only. Single subjects are usually taught at the secondary (middle school and high school) level, but a few subjects may be taught by a single subject teacher at the elementary level (e.g., art, music, and physical education).

An Education Specialist Credential authorizes the teacher to serve students who have special learning or emotional needs. The credential may be used in K-12 resource rooms, special day classes, or alternative settings. CSU, Chico offers a variety of special education options, including earning a Educational Specialist credential concurrently with a Multiple or a Single Subject credential.

A Bilingual pathway prepares the candidate for a Multiple or Single Subject Preliminary Credential with Bilingual Authorization. These teachers work in bilingual/cross cultural classrooms and in a variety of educational settings with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Undergraduate & Additional Options - Information on the non-teaching credential programs offered at Chico State. 

What must I do before applying to a credential program?

There are a number of requirements to satisfy before applying to a credential program. The most important requirements are the prerequisite courses and the credential exams. Please review our online admission guide (PDF) and our application page for more thorough information.

What are the prerequisites for my program? And do all prerequisites need to be completed before applying to the program?

The prerequisite courses vary for each credential pathway. Please navigate to the webpage for the pathway of your choice, and then click the link for "Course Sequence." All prerequisites must be completed prior to starting a credential program, but not before applying. Prerequisites can be in progress when submitting your credential application, so long as you complete all courses prior to the program start date. 

When are applications due? And when does the program start?

Credential applications must be submitted by February 15 for fall admission* or September 15 for spring admission.  

Fall-start pathways include Bilingual Multiple SubjectBilingual Single SubjectConcurrent Multiple SubjectConcurrent Single SubjectEducation SpecialistEducation Specialist Add-onMultiple SubjectSingle Subject, and CLASS Single Subject (first courses start in June). 

Spring-start pathways include Education SpecialistEducation Specialist Add-onMultiple SubjectSingle Subject, and CLASS Education Specialist

Is my credential program application separate from the Graduate School application?

Yes. You can apply to the Office of Graduate Studies. These applications are due by February 15 for starting in the fall term and September 15 for starting in the spring term (deadline for Fall 2020 applications is March 1). For any questions about this process, contact the Office of Graduate Studies at 530-898-6880.

If I am currently a CSU, Chico student, do I need to apply to the Graduate School?

Submit an application to the Office of Graduate Studies if:

  • You are a current undergraduate at CSU, Chico who will be awarded a degree at the end of the this semester, or
  • You have a baccalaureate degree from any institution, including CSU, Chico, and are not currently (this semester) enrolled at CSU, Chico.

If you have any questions about your student status, contact Student Evaluations (530-898-5957) or the Office of Graduate Studies (530-898-6880).

Is graduate student status required for acceptance into the credential program?

Graduate status is strongly recommended, but not required. You must be a regularly admitted student to the University, whether as an undergraduate or graduate student. Any student wishing to complete the credential program as an undergraduate will be required to sign a memorandum regarding the consequences of completing the program as an undergraduate, particularly future salary ramifications. 

When do I need to take the credential exams (CSET and/or CBEST/CSET Writing Skills)?

All exams must be passed before applying to a credential program.

Which exams are required for admission to the credential program to which I intend to apply?

The specific exams you will need to take depend on your situation and the credential you are pursuing. Please review our online admission guide for more information on which exams you must take > Getting Started (PDF).

When I took the CSET and/or CBEST exam(s), I indicated that the scores should be sent to CSU, Chico. Do I still need to submit my results?

No, if you had your scores sent directly to the University we do not need a copy of your results. However, if you did not have your exam scores sent directly to the University we will require official verification of your passing status; official, sealed results may be obtained from the testing company.

Are there any preparation materials available to assist me with the exams?

The CSET/CBEST website(opens in new window) has preparation materials available for every exam under the "Preparation" section (some website exploration is necessary). There are also study guides available for purchase, similar to those available for the SAT and GRE. Other materials (some free, others for pay) are widely available online. There is also a test-taking strategies workshop archived online to assist you with the exams. 

What is a Certificate of Clearance?

A Certificate of Clearance is a document issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing after your fingerprints have been successfully processed and cleared by the FBI and DOJ. This document is required before you can visit a school site (e.g. begin student teaching). This process normally takes several weeks, and can take months or even over a year if you have a record, so plan accordingly if you think there might be a delay in the issuance of your Certificate. The School of Education has no influence over who receives a Certificate of Clearance or when; this process is completed entirely at the State level.

What happens if I cannot obtain some of the documents required for the application?

Submit your application on or before the due date with everything you have at that time. You may include a written explanation of any deficiencies with the dates you expect to be able to complete the application. As you obtain the missing documents, please bring or send these items to the School of Education office as soon as possible.

A complete application is best, so start early to obtain everything needed.

What are my chances of being accepted into the credential program?

Each application is carefully considered – we are eager to accept highly qualified credential candidates. Priority is given to complete applications, especially with regard to the exams, prerequisite courses, GPA, and Certificate of Clearance. Standards for admission as well as comparative strengths and weaknesses of candidates are evaluated. Many factors are weighed, and of course the number of applicants versus the number of available openings will affect the outcome.

For more detailed information about this process and help in planning your own individual career possibilities, call 530-898-6455 or email to discuss your options with a pre-program advisor. Plan to discuss application matters with an advisor at least one semester before applications are due.

What is the application review process?

Credential applications must be submitted by the deadline: February 15 for fall admission or September 15 for spring admission (deadline for Fall 2020 applications is March 1). Each application is checked for completeness and a student file is created. An acknowledgement email is sent to each applicant, at which time applicants must sign up for an interview with program faculty. Once interviews are complete the applicant files are forwarded to program faculty for evaluation. The program coordinator collects the files and evaluations and determines admittance status for each applicant. Notification is sent to each candidate regarding acceptance or non-acceptance and follow-up procedures. The process usually takes 4-6 weeks.

Can I apply if I have not taken and/or passed the required exams?

No. The exams for Basic Skills and Subject Matter Competency must be completed prior to submitting a credential application. 

Where can I obtain information about and help with the required examinations – CBEST, CSET, RICA?

Get more information about required examinations(opens in new window).

What happens if I am not accepted into a credential program?  Can I apply again later?

You are welcome to apply again to the credential program at no additional cost. You should notify your chosen program that you are re-applying and also update your application materials.

What should I do if I know my GPA is below the admission standards?

The GPA requirement for all credential programs (except those programs that also include an MA in Education) is 2.67 cumulative or 2.75 in your last 60 semester (or 90 quarter) units of coursework. If your GPA is below admission standards you may still apply. If you are considered a highly qualified applicant in all other respects, you may be offered the opportunity to complete a GPA appeal process. The list of steps for that process will be provided if you are considered a candidate for the appeal. If you do not meet the GPA requirement for admission to the Office of Graduate Studies (2.5 cumulative or 2.5 in your last 60 semester (or 90 quarter) units of coursework), you will need to complete a separate appeal process, available at the discretion of the Office of Graduate Studies.

If your GPA is extremely low and/or your GPA appeal is denied, you can complete additional coursework through Open University to improve your GPA, and apply to the credential program at a later date.

Can I apply to a program to teach a subject that was not my major?

You can apply to a program to teach a subject that was not your major as long as you have Subject Matter Competence in that subject area. Subject Matter Competence can be verified by passing the CSET exam in that area. 

What is an internship?

Most credential candidates complete unpaid student teaching to satisfy the field component of the credential program. However, if a school district or county office of education offers a credential candidate a contract for a paid teaching position, that individual is recommended for an Intern Credential, which is granted by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the duration of the credential program or the employment contract, whichever is shorter. Interns complete the same admission paperwork and processes and are admitted to the same credential pathways as everyone else; the difference is that interns must complete the additional paperwork for the Intern Credential (PDF) after they have signed a contract with a school district. The exact requirements for an internship are detailed in the intern packet. Internships are only available to students in the Education Specialist, Multiple Subject, and Single Subject pathways, and it is the student's responsibility to obtain employment as an intern. Offers of employment can come before students begin the credential program, midway through the program, or even before a person has applied to the credential program or taken any prerequisites--it is important to remember that employment is at the discretion of the employing agency. Additional internship information and by meeting with an advisor

Can I obtain more than one credential?

For educators who hold a Multiple or Single Subject credential or are currently in a credential program, there is an option for adding additional credentials without completing a second credential program. Additional information is available on the CTC website(opens in new window). Educators with one Education Specialist Credential (Mild/Moderate or Moderate/Severe) wishing to earn the second may do so via the Add-on Program. Holders of Education Specialist credentials wishing to obtain a general education credential, or holders of a general education credential looking to earn an Education Specialist Credential, must complete an entire second credential program. Please email our Credential Advisor at for more information on earning a second credential.

What are authorizations and how can I get one? 

Authorizations are issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing based on previous coursework completed. They are added to a primary teaching credential and allow limited instruction in the additional content area listed on the authorization. For example, an Introductory Subject Matter Authorization for Math will allow a Multiple Subject Credential holder to teach in math classrooms through grades 9 and below. Additional information on the various types of general education authorizations can be found on the CTC website(opens in new window).

Added Authorizations In Special Education(opens in new window). Except for Mild/Moderate, Moderate/Severe, and Adapted Physical Education, all authorizations must be obtained directly from the CTC.

Can I meet with an advisor?

Yes. Please call the School of Education Credentials Office for more information: 530-898-6455, or email

Is an online credential program available through CSU, Chico?

No, the programs all require attendance on campus. However, some programs do provide more opportunities for online courses than others. Many prerequisite courses are online and most other courses include online elements, but face-to-face classes have been chosen as a part of the effective instructional practice of our faculty.

What is the cost of the credential program?

University fees may be viewed online for the current semester. Fees vary slightly each semester, and the total cost of the program depends on how many semesters it takes for you to complete all necessary coursework.

Is there financial aid available during the credential program?

Yes, there is. Additional information is available on the Financial Aid website, or on the School of Education website

Once I complete the program, is there any assistance with the employment process?

Yes, the Chico State Career Center offers advising and a number of events and workshops, as well as an annual hiring fair, to assist credential completers with the hiring process. 

What is the U.S. Constitution requirement for a credential?

California requires every credential candidate to satisfy a U.S. Constitution exam or course prior to earning a credential. Normally this requirement is satisfied by an undergraduate American government course (POLS 155 or equivalent). However, for graduates of non-CSU universities, or those who did not pass the course with a C- or higher, the requirement can be satisfied by taking an online exam: U.S. Constitution Exam(opens in new window)

What is the speech requirement for a credential?

Before you can obtain a preliminary credential we must verify that you are proficient at public speaking. Normally this requirement is satisfied by an undergraduate public speaking course (CMST 131, CMST 132, or equivalent). However, for graduates of non-CSU universities, or those who did not pass the course with a C- or higher, the requirement can be waived by obtaining verification (PDF) of your public speaking abilities. Please email for more information.