How to Become a Teacher in San Francisco

Public schools in San Francisco are part of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), which serves over 57,000 students.1 There are many private and charter schools operating in the city as well. Those interested in pursuing teaching jobs in San Francisco public schools must first become certified to teach in California through the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Eligibility requirements for teacher certification in California include completion of a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program and passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Teachers with the San Francisco Unified School District must also earn an additional certification to teach English language learners from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Charter school teachers must also be certified, but private schools set their own requirements. See the private and charter school section for more information, and continue reading to learn more about becoming a teacher in San Francisco.

San Francisco Teacher Certification Requirements

To be eligible for teacher certification in California, teachers must first complete a bachelor’s degree and approved teacher preparation program. You will also need to complete the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the appropriate subject tests depending on the age range and subjects you plan to teach. Learn more about how to become a teacher in California with our California teacher certification guide.

Individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree and want to work as a teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District can pursue alternative teacher certification through various paths. The district offers a Pathway to Teaching Program that enables you to gain classroom experience while you work towards a teaching certificate. Alternatively, you can complete an internship as part of a teacher preparation program that meets the requirements. You can find more information about these options with our guide to alternative teacher certification in California.

Teacher Certification Programs in San Francisco

The San Francisco colleges and universities listed below offer teacher preparation programs for first-time teachers as well as programs that can lead to additional endorsements for certificated teachers. You can read more about teaching programs in the state on our California schools page.

  • California State University-East Bay
  • Dominican University of California
  • Holy Names University
  • Mills College
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Pacific Union College
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Sonoma State University
  • St. Mary’s College of California
  • Stanford University
  • Touro University
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of California-Santa Cruz
  • University of San Francisco

San Francisco School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher

To get a job as a teacher in the San Francisco public school system, you should first earn your teaching certificate and then gather all the required documents for the hiring process. The San Francisco Unified School District hiring process for teachers requires that candidates apply to specific openings, which are available on the district website. Applicants must then take the following steps:

Step 1: Complete your application.

Complete an online application for the position(s) of interest, which should typically include a cover letter, current teaching certificate, resume, contact information for three references, a written essay segment, and your employment history.

Step 2: Be interviewed by a school leader or panel.

You will be contacted by a school individually to attend an interview with a school leader for an open position. After the interview, the school must recommend you as a new hire to the district’s human resources team.

Step 3: Complete the hiring process.

Human Resources will conduct a credential verification and background check before extending an offer of employment. At that time, they will also conduct a fingerprint clearance and a reference check and you will be required to complete a TB Risk Assessment and complete the necessary paperwork.

Contact Information

San Francisco Unified School District
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SFUnified/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sfunified

555 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 241-6000

How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the San Francisco School District

Substitute teachers for the San Francisco Unified School District must possess a current California teaching certificate or be eligible for a 30-day emergency substitute teaching permit. The substitute permit is valid for one year but restricts you from working for more than 30 days in one assignment. If you would like to be eligible for long-term assignments, you will need a teaching certificate. Those interested in substitute positions should possess a bachelor’s degree and must have passed either the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or the ACT or SAT exams. Finally, those who wish to become substitute teachers in San Francisco must have a negative TB test taken within 60 days of hire, and complete a fingerprint clearance, reference check, credential verification, and hiring paperwork. You must be available for assignments at least one day a week or 36 days per year.

Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in San Francisco

In accordance with state law, charter school teachers in San Francisco are required to hold a valid state teaching license or an equivalent credential. However, private schools in San Francisco may have different requirements for hiring teachers than the San Francisco Unified School District. In private schools, a teaching certificate may be preferred but not always required. Many private and charter schools post jobs and news on their websites, so it is a good idea to check frequently if you are looking for teaching opportunities in the area.

The Largest K-12 Schools in San Francisco

We compiled the following table to help you compare the largest public, private, and charter schools in San Francisco that may be hiring qualified teachers.

SchoolTypeGrade Level# StudentsStudent-Teacher
Claire Lilienthal ElementaryPublicK-867624:1
Gordon J. Lau ElementaryPublicK-563522:1
Edward R. Taylor ElementaryPublicK-562521:1
AP Giannini MiddlePublic6-81,17724:1
Presidio Middle SchoolPublic6-81,07724:1
Herbert Hoover MiddlePublic6-896023:1
Abraham Lincoln HighPublic9-122,06722:1
George Washington HighPublic9-122,00221:1
Galileo High SchoolPublic9-121,83120:1
Five Keys Independence High SchoolCharter9-123,20333:1
Thomas Edison Charter AcademyCharterK-873422:1
Gateway High SchoolCharter9-1248219:1
St. Ignatius College Preparatory SchoolPrivate9-121,47612:1
Sacred Heart Cathedral PreparatoryPrivate9-121,32514:1
Convent & Stuart HallPrivateK-121,1005:1

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.

San Francisco Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secondary school teachers in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro are the highest-paid teacher group in San Francisco, earning $83,080 on average compared to $80,510 across California and $64,340 across the country.2-4 Kindergarten teachers also earn a high average salary in this area compared to the national average ($62,310 vs. $58,370), though less than the California average ($69,690).2-4 Middle school teachers in the San Francisco metro earn an average of $78,180 compared to $75,660 on average in California and $62,030 across the US.2-4 Elementary school teachers earn an average of $81,540 compared to $80,100 statewide, also higher than the national average ($62,200).2-4

Kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teaching positions in San Francisco metro are projected to increase by 14.2% to 15.7% through 2026.5 Replacement positions will add to the available opportunities for San Francisco teachers. The greatest number of open positions are expected for elementary school teachers, with 508 job openings expected each year.5 A total of 250 job openings are expected for secondary school teachers each year, while middle school teacher openings are expected to average 189 per year across this timeframe.5

San Francisco 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. For the 2020-2021 school year, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in California (statewide):6

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

San Francisco Teaching Jobs Boards

If you are looking for a teaching job in San Francisco, take a look at online job boards for postings that match your teachable skills and certification. Jobs are often posted throughout the year. You can also visit our jobs board to search for teaching jobs in San Francisco.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much do teachers make in San Francisco?

Answer: Fully credentialed teachers start at an annual salary of $63,458 per year, based on a 184-school day calendar.7 Credentialed teachers with a bachelor’s plus 30 graduate credit hours start at $66,678 per year.7 Further increases are available based on higher educational attainment and experience.

Question: How much do substitute teachers make in San Francisco?

Answer: The regular day rate for substitute teachers who work between 1 and 70 assignments per school year is $174.66 per day.7 Substitutes who work 71 or more daily assignments are paid $211.29 per day (beginning with day 71).7 Extended hours, extra-curricular activities, high potential schools, and long-term assignments may entitle the substitute to additional pay.

Question: What is the San Francisco Pathway to Teaching?

Answer: The San Francisco Pathway to Teaching is a special program run through the collaboration of local teacher preparation programs and schools that aims to increase the number of highly qualified teachers available to teach in San Francisco public schools. Its recruitment and teacher preparation goals strongly emphasize social justice. To be eligible, you must have a bachelor’s degree. You can learn more through the program website.

Table Notes and References:
1. Niche, Largest Schools in San Francisco: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-schools/t/san-francisco-san-francisco-ca/

1. San Francisco Unified School District, About: https://www.sfusd.edu/about-sfusd
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Division: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41860.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 2016-2026: 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. San Francisco Unified School District, Labor Contracts and Salary Schedules: https://www.sfusd.edu/information-employees/labor-relations/labor-contracts-mous-and-salary-schedules