How to add a Content Area to your Single Subject Credential (in California)

Hello fellow educators! Hope you are doing well!

Recently, I’ve obtained my single subject credential in secondary science (biological sciences). I chose to get my initial credential in science because STEM positions are in more demand and because I love doing hands-on activities and labs. In undergrad, I was also initially a Gen Bio major, then changed it to an Environmental Science major and then added Economics as a double major. So, it just made sense to go into science. Throughout grad school, I was also thinking about how I can bring more value to students with my social science background as well as my passion for art. This got me started on adding subject matter authorizations to my initial single subject credential.

Credentialing can kind of confusing and it can take long. As with anything, there’s a little bit of bureaucracy to hash out. Hopefully this account of my experience so far helps clear things up.

For my initial credential, I was “recommended” for a preliminary teaching credential (which lasts 5 years before you have to undergo an induction program to “clear” it for life… more on this at a later time), by my university (specifically the credentialing office).

I had to fill out a Credential Recommendation Form with basic demographic information. I needed the following as well:

  • Evidence of Basic Skills (which you can fulfill through a score of at least 123 on the CBEST exam, or passing SAT/ACT scores and more ways) Full requirements can be found HERE. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/leaflets/cl667.pdf
  • Student Teaching Hours Log from 2 semesters with a signature from each of my Guiding Teachers.
  • Passing edTPA scores. If you’re looking for some guidance on the edTPA (which I really wished I had) it’s available on my TPT! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Secondary-Science-EdTPA-PORTFOLIO-BUNDLE-4609323?aref=9vf5yzg5
  • US Constitution Exam scores (easier than it sounds) I did mine HERE but there are cheaper options if you’re not in a hurry. https://usconstitutionexam.com/Sign_up.html
  • Certificate of Clearance (you probably already got this for student teaching) part of which is a background check through fingerprinting to pretty much make sure you aren’t a criminal on school campuses.
  • passing CSET scores in your subject
  • First aid and CPR certification. You can’t do this fully online. It required in-person training when I got my credential in late 2019 but they may waive this due to COVID-19.
  • Transcripts

Depending on your program and year of completion you might need a few more bits and bobs but this was it for me. After the credentialing office received all of these documents, they “recommended” me to the CTC for my preliminary credential and I was good to go! They’re pretty backed up right now so it can take a few months for the CTC to approve your recommendation.

Soooooo after I got my credential, I was very fortunate enough to find a science teaching position. However, I’m actually pretty heavily interested in art and ceramics so I wanted to add that subject matter authorization before getting my credential cleared so that I could maybe do the induction program in art (unlikely though). I didn’t want to do them at the same time because as a new teacher, I really REALLY don’t want to overload myself.


The official CTC handbook on adding subjects can be found HERE. There are a bunch of rules on what subjects you can and cannot add to your initial credential. Give it a read also just to make things more clear.

Subject Matter Authorizations CAN be added to Single Subject Credentials, Multiple Subject Credentials, Standard Elementary and Secondary Credentials, University Internship Credentials (Multiple and Single Subject), Special Secondary Credentials in Academic Subjects

Subject Matter Authorizations CANNOT be added to General Kindergarten-Primary, Elementary, Junior High, or Secondary Credentials, District Intern Credentials, Special Secondary Credentials in Non-Academic Subjects, Special Education Credentials (current or previous), Adult or Vocational Credentials, and Career Technical Education Credentials.

Additional Content Area(s)
Additional Single Subject areas may be added to a valid Single Subject Teaching Credential. Completion of the following will allow a Single Subject Credential holder to teach the new subject area in addition to their initial subject:

  • requires a valid Single Subject Teaching Credential
  • verification of subject matter competency-CSET Subject Area Exams or completion of an approved waiver program
  • successful completion of a methods teaching course in the new academic area

Basically, what I’m doing to add my art credential to my pre-existing single subject credential is:

  1. Taking the Art CSET I and II
  2. Taking a CTC approved art pedagogy class at a local cal state university.

HERE is a leaflet on state-approved pedagogy courses. This took a little shuffling around to find and it is SUPER helpful. HERE is a resource from CSULB that also outlines the process.

I signed up for the CSET in March but all tests got canceled. They are slowly opening test centers back up and I have rescheduled my CSET for December 2020 which seems eons away! The pedagogy course I am signing up for requires up front passing of the subject CSET but made exceptions as we are in weird circumstances. So I think the moral of this story is to do your research and call/email around! You probably need to contact credentialing services and various schools to see if you can take the course through the school, hash out fees and all that.

I hope this helps clear some things up! Take care guys 🙂
– Linda

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