How to Become a Teacher in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is the largest school district in California and the second-largest school district in the country.1 To become a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, candidates must be certified to teach in California by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Credentialed jobs can be found in the public school district or in private and charter schools in Los Angeles. Continue reading to learn more about becoming a teacher in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Teacher Certification Requirements

To become a teacher in Los Angeles candidates must first complete a bachelor’s degree program as well as an approved teacher preparation program. The traditional way to complete these requirements is through a bachelor’s program with an included teacher preparation component. You will also need to complete the California exams for educators. You can learn more about California teaching requirements on our California teacher certification page.

Prospective teachers who hold a bachelor’s degree but did not complete teacher preparation must complete an approved preparation program, though they may be able to teach while working towards this requirement. The Los Angeles Unified School District also offers an intern program to help you fulfill the alternative educator requirements while teaching. To learn about other alternative routes to teacher certification in California, see our guide to California alternative certification.

Teacher Certification Programs in Los Angeles

The colleges and universities listed below offer teacher preparation programs in the Los Angeles area that can qualify you for teacher certification or, if you already hold certification, additional endorsements. You can read more about schools in the state on our California schools page.

  • Antioch University
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Bard College
  • Biola University
  • California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
  • California State University-Dominguez Hills
  • California State University-Long Beach
  • California State University-Los Angeles
  • California State University-Northridge
  • Claremont Graduate University
  • Hebrew Union College
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University
  • Pacific Oaks College
  • Pepperdine University
  • The Master’s University
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Southern California
  • Whittier College

Los Angeles School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher

To work in the Los Angeles Unified School District, you will need a California teaching certificate and a bachelor’s degree. You can either earn these at the same time through the traditional pathway or complete an alternative pathway if you already have a bachelor’s degree. See the certification section for more information. To apply for a position within the district, gather your documents and follow this process.

Step 1: Complete your online application.

Fill out an online application and provide copies of your current teaching credentials, passing scores on the state-required educator exams, contact information for professional references during the previous three years, and official transcripts and a resume.

Step 2: Attend an eligibility interview.

The next step is to attend an eligibility appointment with Human Resources. You will be given instructions on how to prepare for the interview and which documents to bring with you. Once reviewed and approved, your application will be kept on file for one year. Successful candidates are placed on an availability list and may apply for open positions at individual schools in the area.

Step 3: Attend an interview with school leaders.

If your skills and education match an open position in the district, you will be contacted to attend another interview with the school directly. You may be asked to prepare a sample lesson and/or bring a portfolio with you to this interview with school leaders, so be prepared to prove yourself as a qualified teacher.

Step 4: Complete the hiring process.

Those who have interviewed for open positions and receive job offers will then go through the school hiring process with the help of a district Talent Acquisition Specialist, who will help you complete a fingerprint background check and health clearances before you sign an employment contract.

Contact Information

Los Angeles Unified School District
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laschools
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laschools

333 S Beaudry Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 241-1000

How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the Los Angeles School District

To become a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for short-term assignments, you should have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.7 GPA, passing test scores from the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) state exam, and professional references for the past three years. You will need to attend an interview and complete a fingerprint clearance and a health clearance. Long-term substitute teaching positions are only open to candidates who meet the requirements of permanent teachers, which includes having a teaching certificate and an English Learner Authorization, if applicable.

Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in Los Angeles

To teach in charter schools in Los Angeles, candidates must meet similar requirements to those who wish to teach in the Los Angeles Unified School District. This includes a requirement that charter school teachers hold a state-issued teaching license. Private schools are not required to hire credentialed teachers, but in many cases prefer candidates who do have a California teaching certificate. Since hiring requirements vary, be sure to check with individual schools where you might consider working for open positions.

The Largest K-12 Schools in Los Angeles

We compiled the table below to help you compare the largest public, charter, and private schools in Los Angeles based on a variety of factors.

SchoolTypeGrade Level# StudentsStudent-Teacher
Union Avenue Elementary SchoolPublicK-51,10523:1
Seventy-Fifth Street Elementary SchoolPublicK-61,08023:1
Ninety-Third Street Elementary SchoolPublicK-61,06524:1
Gaspar De Portola Middle SchoolPublic6-81,84727:1
John Burroughs Middle SchoolPublic6-81,79028:1
James Madison Middle SchoolPublic6-81,76025:1
John H. Francis PolytechnicPublic9-122,76622:1
Van Nuys Senior High SchoolPublic9-122,71223:1
Alexander Hamilton High SchoolPublic9-122,63723:1
Granada Hills Charter High SchoolCharter9-124,65019:1
El Camino Real Charter High SchoolCharter9-123,56728:1
Cleveland Charter High SchoolCharter9-123,15827:1
Chaminade College PreparatoryPrivate6-121,96315:1
Harvard-Westlake SchoolPrivate7-121,5988:1
Loyola High SchoolPrivate9-121,24714:1

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.

Los Angeles Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018, elementary school and secondary school teachers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area earn average salaries over $80,000 ($83,960 and $80,330 respectively), which are comparable to statewide averages ($80,100 and $80,510) and significantly more than national averages ($62,200 and $64,340).2,3,4 Kindergarten and middle school teachers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area earn an average of $70,310 and $78,210 respectively, which are slightly more than California state averages ($69,690 and $75,660) and still higher than national averages ($58,370 and $62,030).2,3,4

Teaching positions are projected to grow in the Los Angeles area through 2026. Secondary school teaching positions are expected to see 6% growth through 2026, with similar projections for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school positions.5 Replacement openings will provide many additional opportunities for new teachers and those looking to make a change. Elementary and secondary school teachers are expected to see the most open positions per year during this time at 2,435 and 2,282 respectively.5

Los Angeles Teacher Shortage Areas

The US Department of Education bases some student loan forgiveness programs on teacher shortage areas, meaning that your chances of qualifying for loan forgiveness may be stronger if you are teaching a subject that has been formally identified as a shortage area. You may also qualify for other funding opportunities or a more competitive salary based on your endorsement(s). Note that shortage areas may change from year to year, so you should be sure to check with state education agencies, your selected education program, and your student loan providers about funding options. As of 2020, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in California (statewide):6

  • Bilingual Education
  • Career Technical Education
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Special Education

Los Angeles Teaching Jobs Boards

To find a teaching job in Los Angeles, look for openings in public, private, and charter schools. Many private and charter schools post on online job boards. You can also check out our jobs board to search for teaching jobs in Los Angeles now.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the starting Los Angeles teacher salary?

Answer: For the 2019-2020 school year, first-year teachers started at a minimum annual salary of $53,435.7 Teachers with advanced credentials or qualifications may receive higher salaries.7 Teachers also receive higher salaries commensurate with experience, with periodic step increases for the term of their employment with the LAUSD.7

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Los Angeles?

Answer: To work as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, you must apply through the district’s human resources department. Most school districts prefer that substitute teachers be fully credentialed through the state of California. If you are credentialed, you must also supply references, student teaching evaluations, and college transcripts.

Question: What is United Teachers Los Angeles?

Answer: United Teachers Los Angeles, or UTLA, is the teacher’s union representing Los Angeles public school teachers and other eligible employees. As a bargaining unit, it bargains for teacher contracts on behalf of its members.

Question: How do I find substitute teacher jobs in Los Angeles?

Answer: The Los Angeles Unified School District especially needs substitute teachers in the Central and South areas of its district, but is accepting applications from all areas. You can find out more through the district’s substitute hiring portal.

Table Notes and References:
1. Niche, Largest Schools in Los Angeles: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-schools/t/los-angeles-los-angeles-ca/

1. Los Angeles Unified School District – About: https://www.lausd.org/domain/4
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metropolitan Division: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_31080.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#25-0000
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#25-0000
5. State of California Employment Development Department, Employment Projections: https://labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas, California, 2020-2021: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Los Angeles Unified School District Salary Tables: https://www.lausd.org/Page/4045