Multiple Subject Credential Quick Facts

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Teach at elementary level and sometimes middle school

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Teach multiple subjects to the same group of students

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5-year issuance

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Generalist credential

Is elementary school teaching for you?

Maybe you love the idea of really getting to know a class for an entire school year, or you're inspired by memories of your wonderful 2nd grade teacher. With the Multiple Subject teaching credential, you will teach the same group of students everyday. The Multiple Subject teaching credential authorizes you to teach all subjects in a self-contained classroom and is most frequently used in elementary schools. However, it can also be used in a core setting in middle and K-8 schools. For example, your 4th grade teacher who taught you all the subjects most likely had a Multiple Subject credential. But your middle school teacher who taught you Language Arts and Social Studies for two periods a day might also have had a Multiple Subject credential. It all depends on how your school administrator arranges your course schedule.


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So what's the process?

First things first: if you want to teach in California, you need a credential. There are different levels of credentials available depending on where your journey begins. You may start out with an emergency permit (which you would obtain through a public school employer), an Intern credential (which would allow you to teach while you complete a preparation program), or a Preliminary credential. It all depends on whether you want to begin working before completing a teacher preparation program, during, or after.

A teacher preparation program takes about two years to complete and receive your Preliminary credential. Once you have your Preliminary, the final step is to upgrade to the Clear credential by completing an induction program (which is a mentoring and support program for beginning teachers). After you have cleared your credential, all you have to do is renew it online every five years.

Flowchart showing the process of getting a credential and the options of substitute permit, emergency teaching permit, intern credential, preliminary credential, and clear credential.

Ready to get started on your Multiple Subject teaching credential?


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If you need help deciding which credentialing program model suits your needs, check out Which program pathway will you choose?


For the full list of requirements to obtain a Multiple Subject teaching credential, check out Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Requirements for Teachers Prepared in California.

Updated August 31, 2023