Why Become a Mathematics Teacher?

Teacher in the classroom with calling on young school children “I touch the future.  I teach.” 
Those words spoken by teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe ring true to the many thousands of people who call teaching their profession. 

People find different reasons and rewards for becoming teachers.  They teach because they find fulfillment in imparting their knowledge of a subject to an eager new audience.  They teach because they love the interaction with children and watching the signs of understanding appear on a child’s face.  They teach because they have such dedication to a particular subject that teaching it to others is a natural way to further own interest in it while getting others to love it as well.  They teach because they were inspired by a teacher while they were in school and want to become that kind of teacher to their own students.  They teach because they want to make a difference in the world by making a difference in a child’s life. 

If you recognize yourself in any of those statements, if you want to touch the future, then teaching is the profession for you.

Becoming a Mathematics Teacher

So you think you want to become a mathematics teacher? You can. The demand for mathematics teachers throughout the nation has never been greater. While preparation is demanding, the rewards of becoming a life-long mathematics teacher are endless. There are a number of things you need to learn and can start doing to make  mathematics teaching your career. First, visit Teach California for an on-line tour on the rules of the road for becoming a mathematics teacher in California. You may also want to vist the CTC at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/teach.html for further information on credentialing. Finally, click onto the http://careers.nsta.org/advice_planning.asp at the National Mathematics Teachers Association Career Center to start preparing now.

Requirements for Becoming a Mathematics Teacher

In order to become a mathematics teacher in California you must have a college or university four-year degree, establish subject matter competency in your chosen discipline area (biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics) and complete an accredited credential program. Subject matter competency can be established by passing a standardized subject matter test in your area visit http://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/CAW-exams.html for testing information. Subject matter competency may also be established by completing a commission-approved mathematics subject matter preparation program.

If you move into California with a credential from another state or country you should meet with a credential analyst to determine what you will need to do to convert your out-of-state credential into a California credential. In many cases you will be given a preliminary credential which is good for five years during which you are required to meet specific requirements. If you have a California credential and want to move to another state you will need to check on reciprocity agreements at http://www.ctc.ca.gov/notices/coded/060028/060028.pdf


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Two-year Community College Transfer Students

To find out about how your courses transfer from a community college to any of the California State Universities visit assist. org

Career Changers

Approximately 50% of future mathematics teachers are coming from a pool of individuals who have had prior careers in other areas of endeavor and who have decided to begin a new career in teaching mathematics. There are support structures at the various CSU campuses to help make the transition as smooth as possible. Some campuses have federally funded projects specifically targeting the needs of the career changer. You are not alone. We need your talents and experience in the mathematics classroom. Visit the CSU campus website for more information or consider visiting the National Mathematics Teachers Association Career Center at http://careers.nsta.org/.



Many of the CSU Campuses provide a means of completing final student teaching through a full year internship in a participating school district. Visit your CSU campus website for details on the specifics concerning their internship program. Most programs provide a range of support structures and mentoring while allowing the intern to receive over 90% of the first year’s teacher salary while completing final student teaching units. The list of CSU campus Web addresses may be found at www.calstate.edu.

Now You're a Mathematics Teacher, So, Now What?

California (and most other states, for that matter) have developed content standards for mathematics that describe what students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade level.  Mathematics teachers in California are expected to teach the California Mathematics Content Standards (link: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/scmain.asp).  The California mathematics standards are specified by grade in grades K-8 covering earth mathematics, life mathematics, and physical mathematics, and as a grade span for grades 9-12 covering biology, chemistry, physics, and earth mathematics.  All grade levels and spans include Investigation and Experimentation standards that are to be taught in conjunction with the content standards. 

The Assumption Program of Loans for Educators (APLE)

The Assumption Program of Loans for Educators (APLE) is designed to support students who are planning to teach mathematics in high need schools. The APLE program pays up to $19,000 on outstanding loan balances over 4 consecutive years of service. more

No Child Left Behind Compliance Issues

If you have a mathematics teaching credential and would like to secure No Child Left Behind compliance or add another mathematics subject area to your portfolio, visit NCLB Teacher Requirements resource guide.