How to Become a Teacher in San Jose

The largest school district in San Jose is the San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD), which covers most public schools within the city and educates over 32,000 students across 41 schools.1 To become a public school teacher in this city, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program and apply for teaching certification through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Private and charter school requirements may vary, so be sure to review our private and charter schools in San Jose section for more information. Continue reading to learn more about careers as a teacher in San Jose.

San Jose Teacher Certification Requirements

To earn teaching certification in California, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree and have completed an approved teacher preparation program. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, review the approved teaching degree programs in California. Once you have completed California’s teacher certification requirements, you will need to apply for the appropriate credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. More information about the traditional teacher certification pathway can be found on our California certification page.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can complete an alternative teacher certification program that may take you less time to complete than another bachelor’s degree in teaching. Alternative programs in California typically take the form of a graduate certificate or master’s degree. See our California alternative certification page for more information.

Teacher Certification Programs in San Jose

The following colleges and universities in the San Jose area offer teacher preparation programs for first-time teachers as well as programs that can lead to additional endorsements for certified teachers. You can also read more about certification programs in the state on our California schools page.

  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California-Santa Cruz

San Jose School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher

To become a teacher in San Jose, you will need to either follow the traditional pathway of completing your undergraduate education and then applying for teaching certification or, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, following an alternative pathway that may allow you to earn your teaching credential while you work in a classroom. See our certification section for more information on the different pathways to certification. Once you are certified, you will be able to apply for jobs in San Jose. The steps for each school district may vary. Below we have provided information for the largest district, the San Jose Unified School District, as an example of what to expect during the process.

Step 1: Search for jobs and submit online applications.

Jobs in the San Jose Unified School District are posted online. Most positions require you to complete an online application and submit a cover letter, resume, list of extracurricular involvement, official transcripts, two reference letters, and subject-specific test scores or credentials.

Step 2: Attend an interview.

The next step will likely be attending an interview with school officials. This will help you determine if the school and position are a good fit for your teaching style and career goals. You may be asked to bring supplementary materials, prepare sample lesson plans, or even teach a lesson to peers at this stage.

Step 3: Complete the hiring process.

Each school typically has its own administrative requirements for you to complete before you can begin teaching, such as orientation sessions and paperwork. The hiring school should inform you of any requirements during the hiring process before your first day on the job.

Contact Information

San Jose Unified School District
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SanJoseUnified
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SanJoseUnified

855 Lenzen Ave
San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 535-6000

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

Substitute teacher jobs are organized by each school district, so the following guidelines relate to San Jose Unified School District only. Contact each school district individually to find out specific requirements. To apply for the substitute teaching pool in San Jose Unified School District, apply to the online job pool posting. You will either need teaching certification issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing mentioned above or a substitute teaching license issued by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. To obtain this license, you will need a bachelor’s degree, fingerprint clearance, and a passing score on the California Basic Education Skills Test, but this license will only allow you to work for 30 days in the same classroom during one school year. If you are eligible for full teaching certification, that may be a better long-term option.

Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in San Jose

Each private and charter school in San Jose posts and manages their own teaching job postings. By state law, charter school teachers must have a valid California teaching certificate. State certification might not be required in private schools but is often an asset in the hiring process. Some schools may also have requirements related to their religious or subject-specific teaching approaches, which will be highlighted during the hiring process. It is best to read job postings for these schools thoroughly to ensure you meet the requirements and to consider qualifying for teacher certification. Given its location in Silicon Valley, it is no surprise that you can find science- and technology-focused private and charter schools in San Jose. However, you can also find private and charter schools with general, religious, or arts-based curricula.

The Largest K-12 Schools in San Jose

To help you compare public, charter, and private schools in San Jose that may be hiring qualified teachers, we compiled the following table of the largest schools in the area.

SchoolTypeGrade Level# StudentsStudent-Teacher
Merritt Trace Elementary SchoolPublicK-591328:1
Orchard Elementary SchoolPublicK-887421:1
Booksin Elementary SchoolPublicK-586927:1
Willow Glen Middle SchoolPublic6-81,26723:1
Bret Harte Middle SchoolPublic6-81,22722:1
Castillero Middle SchoolPublic6-81,16722:1
Leland High SchoolPublic9-121,92325:1
Abraham Lincoln High SchoolPublic9-121,87923:1
Willow Glen High SchoolPublic9-121,69822:1
DCP Alum Rock High SchoolCharter6-1267727:1
University Preparatory Academy Charter SchoolCharter7-1265620:1
Bachrodt Charter AcademyCharterK-565524:1
The Harker SchoolPrivatePK-122,04810:1
Archbishop Mitty High SchoolPrivate9-121,73517:1
Bellarmine College PreparatoryPrivate9-121,64314:1

See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.

San Jose Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018, elementary school teachers in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan district earned an average salary of $76,370, middle school teachers earned an average of $74,390, and secondary school teachers earned an average of $85,140.2 These salaries were slightly higher than statewide averages and above national averages for these groups over the same time period.4,5

Employment projections for the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area through 2026 indicate that the highest growth for teaching jobs in San Jose will be in preschool (13.9%), kindergarten (7.8%), elementary (7.2%), and middle schools (7.6%).5 This growth will be driven by new jobs, though replacements for existing positions will add to the opportunities available for new teachers. Projections estimate a total of 781 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 284 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 331 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in San Jose through 2026.5

San Jose 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 Jose Teaching Jobs Boards

San Jose teaching jobs are posted online throughout the year as positions become available. Check school district websites for jobs and online job boards. Here are some job boards where you can find openings in many different school districts in the city. You can also check out our jobs board to search for teaching jobs in San Jose.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is the typical San Jose teacher salary?

Answer: Teacher salaries in the San Jose Unified School District are based on years of service with the district and evaluation points–points that are awarded based on evaluations of the teacher’s work, feedback of peers, and personal reflections, as well as measures of student growth.7 This gives the teacher salary schedule in San Jose a unique structure compared to most other districts in the country. First-year teachers with the SJUSD who have a clear teaching credential may start at a salary between $58,344 and $63,852, depending on their total evaluation points.7 Annual cost-of-living increases are typical, and there is the potential to receive additional increases for teachers who earn more evaluation points in a given year than in a prior year–as well as the potential for a decrease in salary based on a decrease in evaluation points.7

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in San Jose?

Answer: Substitute teachers in the San Jose Unified School District must have either a state-issued substitute teaching permit or a full teaching credential. Educators who qualify can apply online, and should hear back from the district within a few days.

Question: How much do San Jose substitute teachers make?

Answer: Substitute teachers with the San Jose Unified School District are paid by the day depending on the job category. The base rate for standard assignments is $135 per day.8 Day-of assignments pay $200 per day, as do assignments covering leaves of 30 days or more.8 Certain other difficult-to-fill and long-term leave assignments pay $150 per day.8

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

1. SJUSD, Join Our Team: https://web.sjusd.org/join-our-team/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41940.htm#25-0000
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
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. San Jose Unified School District, Teachers: https://web.sjusd.org/join-our-team/teachers/
8. San Jose Unified School District, Substitute Teacher: https://app.hirenimble.com/jobview/326