Any teacher assigned to provide instruction to English learners (ELs) will need an authorization for instruction to ELs in addition to an authorization in the content area of instruction. The authorization is based on the rights and needs of the students
to an appropriate education.
For a complete list of authorizations and the type of instruction to which they pertain, please refer to the Appropriate Credentials for English Learner Services web resource. Questions regarding earning a credential or credential requirements may be referred directly to the Commission's Information Services Section by email at email@example.com.
Questions regarding the appropriate assignment and authorization for teachers of English learners may be referred directly to the school district or county office of education responsible for the assignment.
The following frequently asked questions and responses are intended to assist local employing agencies to determine the appropriate assignment and authorization for teachers of ELs.
Where in California state law is the requirement that teachers need to attain authorization to provide instruction to ELS?
The California Education Code substantiates the need for individuals to hold an appropriate authorization prior to providing instructional services, including EL services. The pertinent statutes include: EC Section 44001, EC Section 44830(a), EC Section
44831, and particularly EC Section 44253.1, which reads:
. . . For these pupils to have access to quality education, their special needs must be met by teachers who have essential skills and knowledge related to English language development, specially designed content instruction delivered in English, and content instruction delivered in the pupils' primary languages . . .
The Commission is responsible for establishing the teacher authorization process by which teachers are certified as having specified knowledge, skills, and abilities for providing instruction to ELs.
Are all teachers, transitional kindergarten through grade twelve (TK-12), with one or more EL students in their classrooms required to have an EL authorization?
Yes. ELs identified in TK-12 (does not include preschool or adult) public schools in California are required to receive services designed to meet their linguistic and academic needs based on assessments made by the local employing agency. An appropriately
authorized teacher for English language development (ELD) and academic content instruction is required. The state laws do not specify exemptions for a small or particular number of ELs in a class, for a subject area such as elective classes, nor for
a type of setting such as special education or vocational.
There is no numerical trigger and no percentage of students needing particular English learner services that determines a misassignment. If one or more of the students in the class needs English learner services or requires specially designed academic instruction (SDAIE) in a subject area, the teacher providing the English learner services must hold an appropriate English learner certificate or authorization.
What does English learner authorization/CLAD certificate authorize me to teach?
The English Learner Authorization and CLAD Certificate authorize instruction for English language development and specially designed academic instruction delivered in English (SDAIE).
The CLAD Certificate and English Learner Authorization code (ELA1) reads as follows:
The following instructional services may be provided to English learners: (1) instruction for English language development in grades twelve and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. If the prerequisite credential or permit is a designated subjects adult education teaching credential, a child development instructional permit, or a child development supervision permit, English language development instruction is limited to the programs authorized by that credential or permit; (2) specially designed content instruction delivered in English in the subjects, programs and at the grade levels authorized by the prerequisite credential or permit. This English learner authorization also covers classes authorized by other valid, non-emergency credentials or permits held, as specified in Education Code Section 44253.3.
What does the bilingual authorization authorize me to teach?
The Bilingual Authorization authorizes the following instruction to English learners:
- Instruction for English language development (ELD) designed specifically for EL students to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English.
- Instruction for primary language development for EL students to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in their primary language.
- Specially Designed Academic Instruction Delivered in English (SDAIE) - instruction in a subject area delivered in English that is specially designed to provide EL students with access to the curriculum.
- Content Instruction Delivered in the Primary Language - instruction for EL students in a subject area delivered in the students' primary language.
The Bilingual authorization code (BA**) reads as follows:
The following instructional services may be provided to English learners: (1) instruction for English language development in grades twelve and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. If the prerequisite credential or permit is a designated subjects adult education teaching credential, a child development instructional permit, or a child development supervision permit, English language development instruction is limited to the programs authorized by that credential or permit; (2) specially designed content instruction delivered in English in the subjects, programs and at the grade levels authorized by the prerequisite credential or permit; (3) content instruction delivered in the language of (insert target language here) in the subjects, programs and at the grade levels authorized by the prerequisite credential or permit; and (4) instruction for primary language development in the language of (insert target language here) in grades twelve and below, including preschool, and in classes organized primarily for adults. If the prerequisite credential or permit is a designated subjects adult education teaching credential, a child development instructional permit, or a child development supervision permit, primary language instruction is limited to the programs authorized by that credential or permit. This bilingual authorization also covers classes authorized by other valid, non-emergency credentials or permits held, as specified in Education Code Section 44253.4.
I have an EL authorization because I completed a 2042 program or RYAN program with AB 1059 content. Does this authorize the same service as a CLAD certificate?
Yes, the scope and content of the authorization is the same.
What is the timeline for certificated staff to attain an English learner authorization?
Certification is required on the date when a teacher is assigned to provide instructional services to an EL student or sooner if it is required by the employer.
What if I do not have any ELS in my classroom and my district says that I need an EL authorization, can the district require EL authorization for all teachers?
Yes. If a district is requesting that their teachers hold an EL authorization even though they are not providing any EL services, they may do so as an employment requirement for the position.
The employer is responsible for determining how EL services will be provided and for appropriate assignment of staff to meet the needs of their students and ensure equitable access to the curriculum. Program design, placement of students, and teacher hiring and retention practices are local decisions. Incentives and sanctions are at the discretion of the district.
If the requirement is for employment and not for appropriate authorization, the Commission does not have purview over the issue.
Are any teachers providing instruction to ELS exempt from this certification? Are service providers such as counselors and administrators exempt?
The state laws do not specify exemptions for a subject area or particular number of ELs in a class. This requirement includes areas such as special education and vocational education.
Providing services such as counseling or speech therapy does not require an EL authorization as the EL authorization is a teaching authorization.
I am a credentialed teacher with tenure and I need an EL authorization. What are my options and where do I start?
An English Learner authorization or Crosscultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD) Certificate is available to all teachers by completion of appropriate coursework or examination. For more information, please see CL-628C.
Teachers holding Designated Subjects Vocational Education, Career Technical Education, Special Subjects Teaching Credential or Service Credentials (with a Special Class Authorization) may be eligible for the Certificate of Completion of Staff Development (CCSD). For information on the requirements to obtain this Certificate, see leaflet CL-824.
I have a bilingual teacher education program from out of state. How do I obtain an English learner authorization in California?
Individuals who hold a comparable full bilingual authorization from a state other than California may apply directly to the Commission for a California Bilingual Authorization and it will be listed on their corresponding teaching credential.
See Credential Leaflet CL-628B for more information.
I hold a certificate of completion of staff development. Is this equivalent to the CLAD certificate?
No. The Certificate of Staff Development does not authorize ELD in a departmentalized setting at elementary, middle, or high school, including middle or high school level ELD courses or instruction where students are pulled out of a self-contained classroom at the elementary level and grouped for ELD. Please refer to the Administrator's Assignment Manual [PDF] for additional information.
May a certificate of completion of staff development holder provide instruction in a classroom composed of only ELS?
Yes, a Certificate holder may provide instruction authorized by their basic credential and the Certificate to ELs regardless of the number of ELs in their classroom unless the content is departmentalized ELD.
What does a certificate of completion of staff development authorize me to teach if I hold a Designated Subjects Special Subjects, Vocational Education, Career Technical Education credential or a Service Credential with a Special Class Authorization?
The Certificate of Completion of Staff Development (CCSD) authorizes the holder to teach Specially Designed Academic Instruction Delivered in English (SDAIE) to English learners (EL) within the subject matter content and grade level of the holder's prerequisite credential.
Where can I find information on the examination for the CLAD authorization?
Information about the California Teachers of English Learners (CTEL) exam may be found on the Examination website. Passing scores on the CTEL exam may be used to obtain a CLAD Certificate or English learner authorization on a valid prerequisite document, as will completing coursework through a Commission-approved CTEL program. For further information and clarification, see leaflet CL-628C.
I passed all three sections of the clad examination in June 2005 but did not apply for the certificate. Can I still use these passing scores to apply for the CLAD certificate?
No. The last administration of the CLAD examination was June 24, 2006. Since scores from this examination were only valid for five years, these exam scores are no longer eligible to be used for certification purposes.
How can I get training to prepare for the CTEL examination?
Contact the Bilingual Teacher Training Program (BTTP) center closest to your area. You may find a list of these agencies on leaflet CL-772.