Charter Schools

A charter school is a publicly funded school that is exempt from most provisions of the Education Code and provides instruction in grades K-12. A charter school is usually created or organized by a group of teachers, parents and community leaders or a community-based organization, and it is usually sponsored by an existing local public school board or county board of education. Specific goals and operating procedures for the charter school are detailed in an agreement (or "charter") between the sponsoring board and charter organizers.

Certification for Teachers and Other School Personnel

Since January 1, 1999, all teachers in charter schools are required to hold either a teaching credential or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The statute also provides that it is the intent of the Legislature that charter schools be given flexibility with regard to noncore, noncollege preparatory courses. Teachers in core or college preparatory courses must hold a valid credential equivalent to that which would be required of a teacher in a non-charter public school. The statute does not affect the qualifications for any service personnel (administrators, counselors, librarians or others) employed by the charter school.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The federal law requires states to develop assessments linked to teacher quality. To align with NCLB, California's State Board of Education established that teachers of NCLB core academic subjects must have: 1) a bachelor's degree; 2) a state credential or an intern credential for no more than three years; and 3) demonstrate core academic subject matter competence. Questions concerning NCLB compliance for charter schools may be addressed to California Department of Education (CDE) at

NCLB compliance or 'highly qualified educator' is a federal requirement that each local employing agency must meet including charter schools. Appropriate assignment is part of the compliance and CTC may respond to questions for this part of NCLB compliance. Questions concerning NCLB subject matter competence, High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE), or overall NCLB compliance must be addressed to the CDE at Additional information may be found on CDE's website at:

Assignment Monitoring

Statute requires charter schools to maintain 'on file' the credentials, emergency/teaching permits or waivers which authorize individuals to teach in the schools. The chartering authority has the responsibility to conduct 'periodic' inspections of such documents. The statute does not define 'periodic'. Charter schools should contact their chartering authorities which may be the school district or the county office of education concerning the frequency and manner of such periodic inspections. Questions concerning the periodic review should be addressed to the Charter School Division of the California Department of Education (see below for contact information).

The Commission has concluded that assignment monitoring in charter schools is not subject to the same statutory provisions that govern non-charter schools. County superintendents of schools are not required to monitor charter schools as a part of their statutory assignment monitoring responsibilities. However, if the county superintendents of schools' office is the chartering authority for a charter school, they are required to conduct the 'periodic' inspection of documents outlined above. The Commission does not receive information on assignments in charter schools as a part of the annual reports submitted by county superintendents of schools. See section above for information on NCLB compliance.

Charter Schools Program Approval and Funding

The Charter School Division of the California Department of Education is responsible for approval, maintenance, and funding of charter schools. You may contact them by the following methods:

Address: 1430 N Street, Suite 5401, Sacramento CA 95814
Telephone: 916-322-6029

Routes to Certification

There are several routes that an individual may use to earn a credential in California. Below are links to the requirements that may be of assistance to charter school teachers. They include traditional routes such as college and university teacher preparation programs and internships. However, there are additional routes including eminence credentials, private school experience, early completion internship options, and teaching permits.

Questions About Certification

Information Services Section: by email at

Teacher Education Programs

Elementary - General Education - Multiple Subject Credential

  • California-prepared [PDF]
  • Out-of-state prepared [PDF]
  • University Intern Credential [PDF]
    District Intern Credential [PDF]

Secondary General Education - Single Subject Credential

  • California-prepared [PDF]
  • Out-of-state prepared [PDF]
  • University Intern Credentials [PDF]
    District Intern Credential [PDF]

Other Routes to Certification

  • Private School Experience Option [PDF]
  • Eminence Credential [PDF]
  • Early Completion Internship Option [PDF]
  • University Intern Credentials [PDF]
    District Intern Credential [PDF]
  • Provisional Internship Permit [PDF]
    Short-Term Staff Permit [PDF]

General Certification Information:

  • Basic skills requirement [PDF]
  • Fingerprint/livescan process [PDF]
  • Fee schedule [PDF]
  • Foreign transcript evaluation [PDF]
Updated November 22, 2022