Begin Your Teaching Career

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela

If you are exploring the possibility of a career in teaching, congratulations! You are considering an invaluable, impactful field of work, a career that offers you the opportunity to change lives and shape our country’s future, one classroom at a time. You are also considering a career with strong financial prospects and the promise of long-term stability. Job growth for teachers is expected to hold strong over the next ten years, and many states are eager for well-prepared new teachers as veteran teachers retire or leave the profession.

Today, a national shortage of well-prepared teachers and a cultural climate that needs courageous leaders to step forward means that becoming a teacher could be your chance to change the world, one student at a time.

Our programs prepare you for the preliminary teaching credential required by California schools. You will work with students in San Diego's own diverse community and start making a difference while mastering the teaching skills needed to make a real-world impact. Additionally, USD students are in high demand for teaching jobs, with nearly 100% employment at graduation.

Why Choose USD? 

The Dual Credential Program. Increase your teaching skills and employability by earning two credentials at the same time and for the same number of units through our unique and innovative Dual Credential Program! We have fused many general education and special education credential requirements so you do not have to take parallel courses for each credential. Instead, you will learn the valuable professional skills of collaborating and co-teaching as you are co-taught by our general and special education faculty. We believe that all teachers should be prepared to work with all students in inclusive schools – and so does the California Credentialing Committee! Our dual program meets all state requirements for becoming a general education and mild-to-moderate special education teacher. Join us as we simultaneously prepare educators in meeting the needs of all learners within a socially just society. You will leave our program with the option of one or both credentials and a Master in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. 

Pathway 1: Meet the Minimum State Requirement

Enroll in our Preliminary Credential Only program. The credential system in California is designed to reflect the need for growing specialization and depth of knowledge that occurs as students move throughout their middle and high school years. It also reflects the necessity of having teachers who are specifically trained to work with children and young adults with special needs. The Credential Only program is best suited for those who already hold a master's degree and are looking to transition into teaching. 

At SOLES, there are three types of credentials you can pursue along your path toward teaching:

Multiple Subject (K-6)
Enables you to teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom, such as the classrooms in most elementary schools. 

Single Subject (7-12)*
Enables you to teach in a specific subject area, such as those taught in most public middle and high schools.

Special Education (Mild to Moderate)
Enables you to conduct Educational Assessments related to student’s access to the academic core curriculum, and to provide instruction and support in grades K–12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22 for: specific learning disabilities; mild to moderate intellectual disabilities; other health impairment; serious emotional disturbance. 

*We offer single-subject courses in: 

List of single subject credentials
  • Biology
  • Chemistry 
  • English
  • General Science
  • Geosciences
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Spanish
  • Social Sciences
  • World Languages 

Pathway 2: Preliminary Credential(s) with Masters

Are you fairly confident that teaching is the career for you? Consider adding a little time to your teacher preparation program and complete a full master’s degree in education.

The Value of Adding a Master’s Degree to Your Teaching Credential

Many prospective teachers make the choice to go ahead and get their master’s in education (M.Ed.) while getting their credentials because they understand the value of a master’s degree long-term. When you get a master’s at the beginning of your teaching career, you tap into a higher earning tier from year one and reap the benefits of that higher salary over the course of your career. Getting your master’s in education while pursuing a credential is not only a smart financial decision, it also means you are better prepared to enter the classroom.

Consider Two Credentials

Our teacher candidates have the option to add an optional special education credential (mild/moderate) when pursuing a combined master's and credential program. This is another way to increase your hire-ability and expand opportunities for employment.

One Credential

Multiple Subject (K-6)

Single Subject (7-12) 

Special Education (Mild to Moderate)

Dual Credential

Multiple Subject (K-6) &
Special Education (Mild to Moderate)

Single Subject (7-12) &
Special Education (Mild to Moderate)