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FAQ - General Questions

What is the processing time for applications?
Online recommendations submitted through credential program sponsors are usually completed within 10 working days. Typically, all other applications, including those submitted using the Direct Web Application, are processed within 50 working days from the date we receive the application and supporting documentation.

How do I contact the Commission?
Click here for contact information, including driving instructions.

How do I change my name?
You may submit a name change at any time using the Online Services for Educators button on the Commission's website to access your personal profile. No application is required and there is no additional charge for the name change. Click here for directions on how to change information in your personal profile.

If you are unable to use the online system to complete the name change in your personal profile, you may submit the Declaration of Name Change Application form (41-NC) for this purpose. While name changes submitted online go into effect immediately, paper applications submitted to the Commission may take up to 50 working days before being processed.

How do I change my address with your office?
You may submit changes to your personal information at any time using the Online Services for Educators button on the Commission's website to access your personal profile. Click here for directions on how to change information in your personal profile.


Where can I get information on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in California?
The State Board of Education and the California Department of Education's NCLB Resource Guide can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/tq/. The Guide was developed to respond to questions about the NCLB requirements for a highly qualified teacher. Questions regarding NCLB compliance with teacher employment must be directed to the California Department of Education at TitleII@cde.ca.gov or to the California Department of Education's NCLB Office at 916-319-0884.

I am moving to another state. Will that state accept my California credentials?
You will need to contact the state's credential or education agency to ask whether they will accept California's credentials. Each state's credential requirements may differ.

Do I have to be licensed to teach in California's public schools?
Yes. Elementary and Secondary public school teachers must be certified by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in order to be employed in a California public school. Once an individual completes all Credential Requirements for certification in California, he or she may apply for and receive a California teaching credential.

What is the fee for processing my credential?
Please see the Fee Information Leaflet [PDF] for a full list of processing fees.

My credential has expired. How do I renew it?
Most Clear Credentials, Emergency 30 Day Substitute Permits, and Child Development Permits may be renewed online. You can check the status of your document using the Online Services for Educators button on the Commission's home page. Click here for directions on how to use the online renewal system. For additional information, please see Renewal and Reissuance of Credentials [PDF].

I renewed my credential online this morning. How long will it take for me to receive my document?
The Commission no longer prints, distributes, or mails paper documents. Your document should be available in a view and print format on the Commission's website within 10 working days (excluding holidays). Please use the Online Services for Educators button on our home page to access the online view and print process. Click here for directions on obtaining an unofficial printed copy of your document.

How can I get an error on my document corrected?
Send an email to the Commission at credentials@ctc.ca.gov. The email must include ALL of the following information:
  • Name of Document Holder
  • Document number or document title (example: Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential)
  • An explanation of the error
  • Name of requesting party if other than the credential holder
  • Phone number and/or email address
If additional information is needed to process the correction request, or it has been determined that a correction is not necessary, the Commission will contact you by email.

I don't know the name of the credential I want to apply for on the 41-4 application [PDF] form. What should I do?
Please be sure to review the instructions carefully. If you cannot determine your credential type, you may call or email the Commission's Information Services, or your prospective employer for assistance.

What is a teacher preparation program?
Teacher preparation is a program of professional course work (including student teaching) that develops the skills needed for serving in the classroom. This includes course work in areas such as teaching methodologies, curriculum development, and classroom management.

What is subject matter competence and how does it differ from a teacher preparation program?
While teacher preparation is knowledge of HOW to teach, subject matter competence is knowledge of WHAT is taught. Subject matter competence is a requirement for all multiple subject, single subject, and special education credentials (with the exception of Early Childhood Special Education), which assess the prospective teacher's knowledge in the academic subject area that she or he will be teaching. This requirement is met either by completing specific examinations or by taking courses (in addition to the teacher preparation courses) in the academic subject area through a California college or university that has a Commission-approved subject matter program for that area.

How do I obtain subject matter equivalence from the Commission?
The Commission does not have the authority to evaluate candidate information for subject matter competence. Such evaluations may only be performed by California colleges or universities that have Commission-approved subject matter programs.

Can I take online or correspondence courses through California colleges?
Most of California's community and four-year colleges do not offer course work through correspondence, although there are a growing number of course offerings on the Internet called "distance education", and by cable television (on DISH television's Community College Network, or CCN). To find information about distance education courses and programs in California, you can view a Distance Education Catalog at the web site for the California Virtual Campus at www.cvc.edu.

Can I access the fingerprint application forms on your website?
The 41-LS (LiveScan) form can be downloaded and printed from the Commission's website. Fingerprint cards (FD-258) are not accessible on the website; however, the Commission can mail cards upon request. Request fingerprint cards by sending an email with your name and address to the Commission's Information Services Unit at credentials@ctc.ca.gov.

What is the processing time for fingerprints?
The processing time depends upon the workload of the FBI and the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Response for fingerprints submitted via Live Scan has proven to be much quicker than traditional fingerprint cards, usually within 10-14 working days Generally, the Commission receives a response to fingerprint cards in about a month. California residents must use the Live Scan process when applying to the Commission; applicants residing outside California must use fingerprint cards. Click here for a list of Live Scan locations in your area or check with the county office of education in your area regarding the availability of Live Scan for credentialing purposes.

Can you tell me which school districts in California have a need for teachers?
The Commission issues certification for service in public schools, but does not maintain information regarding available positions or assist in job placement. You must contact the individual school districts, county offices of education, or other agencies for information on employment opportunities. Please visit the California Department of Education's web site at www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/ for a list of the county offices of education along with their addresses and phone numbers. Many districts in California provide information on employment opportunities on their own district's website. Individuals interested in teaching opportunities throughout California should visit the EdJoin website.

I would like the Commission to waive some of the course work required for my credential based upon training and experience that I have had. How do I do that?
The Commission does not have the authority to waive any course work required for certification. Speak with a California college or university with a Commission-approved teacher preparation program for more information.

The California university that I am attending is telling me that I must take four more courses for my clear credential but I feel that I have already completed everything for the credential. Can I apply directly to the Commission?
No. California prepared teachers must complete the course work required by their Commission-approved program. The Commission sets the standards for the programs. The institutions develop their programs based upon those guidelines and have the authority to require additional standards or courses beyond the minimum requirements set by the Commission.



Updated February 12, 2014