How to Become a Teacher in San Diego
In 2015, there were over 23,000 teachers in the San Diego area, with job growth projected between 6.0% and 12.9% through 2022.1,2 The largest public school district in the San Diego area is the San Diego Unified School District, which educates over 130,000 students.3 You must have a teacher certificate to work in the public school district, which involves completing a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program, and the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Charter schools also require applicants to have a teaching certificate, although private schools set their own requirements. See the private and charter school section for more details.
San Diego School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher
To become a teacher in San Diego, you will need to become a certified teacher through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. There are many ways of completing the requirements for certification, including earning a bachelor’s degree in education or an alternative educator program. See the certification section for more information. To apply for a position in the district, follow these steps and check job postings frequently as positions are available throughout the year.
Step 1: Complete your application.
First, you should create an account on the school district’s website and complete the online application, including information on your educational background, criminal history (if applicable), and work experience. You will also be required to upload a resume and may be required to answer written questions or provide references.
Step 2: Be interviewed by a school leader or panel.
If your application is selected by the school, you may be asked to attend an interview. The interview process may include a written evaluation or test and/or a teaching presentation to demonstrate teaching skills.
Step 3: Complete the hiring process.
Successful applicants will be extended an offer of employment with the school. Offers of employment are contingent on successful verification of your credentials, reference checks, a drug test, a TB test, and a fingerprint clearance. In some cases, you may also need to complete a physical exam. Details will be provided at the time of hiring.
How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the San Diego School District
For substitute teaching positions (also known as “visiting teacher” positions in the San Diego Unified School District), you must hold a bachelor’s degree and pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Teacher certification is preferred, but in high-needs areas prospective substitute teachers can apply for an emergency 30-day substitute teaching permit. The substitute permit, which is valid for one year and must be renewed annually, allows substitutes to teach in any of the 42 schools in San Diego County. However, substitutes with this permit can only teach for a maximum of 30 days in the same classroom.
San Diego Teacher Certification Requirements
To become a teacher in San Diego, individuals must complete a bachelor’s degree program and an approved teacher preparation program, pass the CBEST and CSET tests, and complete a fingerprint check. This will enable you to earn the California teacher certificate through the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Students currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program may be eligible to complete a paying internship and earn classroom experience. To learn more about certification requirements, please visit our California teacher certification page.
Aspiring teachers who possess a bachelor’s degree but have not completed teacher preparation can earn certification through an alternate route by enrolling in a teacher preparation program and simultaneously working as a district intern. This can help you save time meeting the certification requirements while gaining experience. See our guide to California alternative teacher certification to learn more.
4100 Normal St
San Diego, CA 92103
Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in San Diego
California law requires that charter school teachers in San Diego hold a current teaching certificate or its equivalent. Private schools in San Diego have some latitude to set their own separate requirements for prospective teachers. Schools that are not part of the public school system are not required by the state to hire certified teachers but may prefer candidates who hold California teacher certification.
Private and Charter Schools
There are many well-known private and charter schools in the San Diego area that regularly hire teachers. Take a look at their websites to learn more about specific hiring practices.
Private Schools in San Diego
- Francis Parker School
- Montessori School of San Diego
- The Cambridge School
- The Child’s Primary School
- The Waldorf School of San Diego
Charter Schools in San Diego
- Empower Charter School
- Harriet Tubman Village Charter School
- Julian Charter School
- San Diego Cooperative Charter Schools
- The Charter School of San Diego
San Diego Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, secondary school teachers in the San Diego-Carlsbad area earn the highest average salary at $74,910, followed by elementary school teachers at $69,410, middle school teachers at $65,420, and kindergarten teachers at $60,590.1 These average salaries are $140 to $3,600 below statewide averages but $6,080 to $14,470 above national averages.1,4,5
San Diego-Carlsbad teaching positions for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school are projected to grow between 12.7% to 12.9% through 2022 and secondary school positions are projected to grow by 6.0% during the same time period.2 Each year, openings will be created by new positions and replacements for existing positions. Elementary school teachers are projected to have the highest number of total job openings each year (312) followed by secondary school teachers (220) and middle school teachers (142).2
San Diego Teaching Jobs Boards
To find teaching job opportunities in the San Diego area, regularly check online job boards for new postings throughout the year. Here are some sites with postings in the area.
- California Association of Independent Schools
- The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
- San Diego Unified School District
Check out our Jobs Board to search for teaching jobs in San Diego now.
Additional Resources for Teaching in San Diego
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Diego-Carlsbad Metropolitan Division: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41740.htm#25-0000
2. State of California Employment Development Department – Employment Projections: https://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/msa/sdiego.html#OCCDATA
3. About San Diego Unified: https://www.sandiegounified.org/about-san-diego-unified
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#25-0000
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#25-0000