Full Guide to California Teaching Credential Renewal | Requirements

California teachers also need teaching credentials to be able to teach in public schools or other institutions. And like you may already know, you will need to renew your teachers’ credentials every five years or yearly, depending on your teachers’ credentials.

However, if you’re yet to renew your California teaching credential, you’ll need to learn about the online renewal requirements.

The expiry of your teaching credentials would mean that you are not qualified to teach at any level. This will not go fine with you who are passionately in love with your job. For this reason – in order not to sustain any break in your profession – you should learn how to renew your teaching credentials yourself. It may prove a little inconvenient doing it yourself, but as the process is an entirely online one, you will soon come to be comfortable with it.

So, in this post, we will show you how California teachers can go about their teaching credential renewals. We will provide a step-by-step procedure for this, using the three most distinct teaching credentials.

But first, we would like to briefly intimate you of the kinds of teaching credentials you will need as a teacher. Hang on with us.

What Is Teaching Credential?

Teaching Credential or license is the certification that allows you to teach in public schools and other educational settings. This is a very important document in the United States. You can’t teach without it.

Hence, every state in the USA issues teaching credentials to its prospective teachers before they can teach. Each state will have its requirement for gaining a teaching credential, however. You will need to meet these requirements before you can get a credential or permission to teach.

While a state’s requirements to acquire the teaching credential will differ from another state, all the states in the USA’s requirement must encompass the federal guidelines. This doesn’t stop a state from making its requirements more difficult, however. So long as the aim remains to improve the quality of the education students gets, they are good to go.

Furthermore, teaching credentials you acquire in a state may be recognized as part of the application for a new one in another state. Some states have certain agreements put down that make their teachers’ credentials valid in another state. But you will have to check to see that the state you’re moving into has such agreement with your current state as this agreement doesn’t hold true for all states.

What are the Requirements for Getting Teaching Credential?

Like we explained earlier, each state in the USA will have its own custom requirements for teachers to qualify them to teach. But be that as it may, you will need the following to get teaching credentials in almost any state:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in teaching or education. You may also choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in any discipline at all and then complete a post-baccalaureate teacher education program
  • Pass the required competency examinations. This would in most cases be a simple basic skills test, It could also be a series of tests, including basic skills and specialty areas, which you’ll have to complete
  • Complete your state’s official application for a teaching credential
  • Pay the necessary fees
  • Agree to show up for a background check and submit your fingerprints.

Here are 21 Scholarships for Teachers and Tutors to Study Abroad towards a degree in teaching.

What are the Types of Teaching Credentials?

Teaching credentials go with the kind of teacher that you are. Therefore, there are as many teaching credentials as there are many kinds of teachers.

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing broadly categorized Teaching Credentials into four. These are:

  • General Education Teaching Credentials – Single Subject Teaching Credential (Secondary School Teachers), and Multiple Subject Credential (Elementary School)
  • Special Education Teaching Credential – Special Education Teachers
  • Designated Subjects Teaching Credentials – Career Technical Education, Adult Education (Special Subjects; Supervision and Coordination), and Business and Industry Partnership Teacher Authorization
  • Other Teaching Credentials – American Languages and Culture Teaching Credentials, Exchange Certificated Employee Credential, Sojourn Certificated Employee Credential, Eminence Credential, University Intern Credential, and District Intern Credential.

In all of these categories, you’ll find every kind of teaching credential. However, these categories can still generalized under three distinct credentials. These are:

  • Clear Credential;
  • Child Development Permit; and
  • Substitute Permit

We will explain these three distinct categories of credentials in sections to come and explain how to renew these kinds of credentials in California. But let us show you how much teachers in California earn.

How Much do Teachers in California Make?

According to Glassdoor, teachers in California earn $47,216 annually. However, breaking it down to the popular kind of teachers we have, the earnings are as follows:

While this may not be what this post is about, these salary figures can serve as a means to examine what you currently earn and further inspire you to renew your credentials before its expiry.

So, back to the question that prompted this article: How can I renew my California teaching credential?

Join us to discuss this in the next section.

How Can I Renew my California Teaching Credential?

Renewing your California Teaching Credential is pretty straightforward. No matter the kind of teaching credential, you’ll have to do it online through the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CTC) website. However, if you are unable to meet the online renewal criteria, you can renew your California teaching credential via mail.

However, different kinds of teachers’ credentials in California will have different requirements for renewal.

Hence, we will explain the different requirements for the three major classifications of teaching credentials in California before we explain the online renewal process.

Clear Credential Renewal Requirement

The clear credential is the most popular kind of teacher credential. It is the categories of teachers’ credentials that professional teachers in California have.

Initially, when you become a teacher for the first time, you will receive the Preliminary Teaching Qualification. This qualification is not renewable, thus you’ll need to apply for the Clear Credential to become a professional teacher.

However, to get the Clear Credential in California, you must meet the following requirements:

Once you get your Clear Credential Document, you are qualified to teach in California. This California teaching credential lasts for five years, however, after which you must renew it online through the CTC website.

Child Development Permit Renewal Requirements

The child development permit is the credential you must get in order to teach in childcare or development programs. Several states have several requirements which you must meet to be able to acquire this permit.

But once you possess the Child Development Permit, it will serve you for five years before you consider renewal.

Renewal of this California teaching credential will require you to register for over 105 hours of professional growth activities. These activities include attending conferences, conducting relevant research, and completing relevant university courses.

You can choose to specialize in Early Childhood Special Education and teach Special needs children by first gaining any of these 10 Cheapest Online Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education

Once you have this in place, you can renew your Child Development Permit online through the CTC website.

Substitute Permit Renewal Requirements

The Substitute Teaching Permit is an Emergency 30-Day permit that allows teachers holding it to serve as a daily teacher in any classroom at different levels such as preschool, grade 1-12, and adult classes.

Unlike the two other kinds of teachers credential, the substitute permit expires after a year and you will have to renew it on expiry.

Fortunately, the Emergency 30-Day Substitute Permit is not difficult to renew. It follows the same renewal process as other California teachers credential, which is online through the CTC website.

Now, we’ll proceed to explain how you can renew your California teachers credential through the CTC website.

How to Renew Your California Teaching Credential Through the CTC Website

To renew your California Teaching Credential online, first, allow pop-ups on your browser as CTC will be sending you pop-ups to be able to complete the payment process.

Once you’ve done this, follow the steps below:

Log-In and Renew

  1. Log into the CTC Online System by clicking the “Start Renewal” button at the end of the tutorial.
  2. Log in with your User ID and Password. If you haven’t logged into the CTC website before February 2017, you will need a new registered User ID by creating an account.
  3. After logging in, continue to the Educator Page, which will come up after the Legal Disclaimer and Personal Information pages.
  4. Edit your personal information where necessary and click “Save.”
  5. Scroll down to the option that says, “Renew Your Document.”
  6. Locate your document by clicking on the “Document” button on the left column of the page.
  7. Select the document you want to renew by first clicking NO, then select YES from the dropdown that shows from clicking NO.
  8. If you wish to renew more than one eligible document, repeat steps 3-5. However, if the document you want to renew is not dependent on holding a valid basic credential (e.g an Administrative Services Credential), then proceed to the next step. 
  9. After selecting YES in step 7 for each document you wish to renew, click Complete to continue your California teacher credential renewal.
RELATED:   ICRC Policy and Humanitarian Traineeship 2018


  1. You will be directed to the Disclosure and Professional Fitness Questions (PFQs) page. Here, you will preview an informational page that contains the PFQ questions and additional requirements. Answer the PFQ questions and click Next to go to the Oath and Affidavit page.
  2. Fill in all the required fields on the Oath and Affidavit page and click Submit Payment to proceed to the payment page.
  3. Click Process Payment on the Payment page, confirm your document for renewal, input your credit card information, click the Payment Authorization box, and finally Complete Payment to continue.
  4. Do not click complete payment more than once and don’t click the Back button on your browser. Wait to get the Confirmation (Receipt) page.
  5. On the Receipt page, use the first link there to print a receipt for reference purposes.
  6. Wait for 10 to 15 business days to receive your new California teaching credential.

How to Renew Your California Teaching Credential Through Mail

While CTC allows for renewal via mail, not all kinds of California teaching credential can be renewed through the mail. You must renew all Clear Credentials and Emergency 30-Day Substitute Permits must be renewed online.

However, you can renew some other kinds of Substitute Permit by mail. We will explain this below.

Emergency Permits

You must renew all Emergency 30-Day Substitute Permits online but this is the only kind of emergency permits that you can renew online. The Long-term emergency permit, for example, will require you to file your application for renewal through your employing agency, of which the new document may only be reissued upon completion of the renewal requirements listed on the permit. This and other kinds of emergency permits will need you to manually submit the Application Form 41-4 with current processing fees attached. Application fee for renewal of California teaching credential either online or with form 41-4 costs $100, plus a processing fee of $2.50.

Child Development Permits

If you choose not to submit your Child Development Permit online you can submit by mail using the form 41-4 and submitting the appropriate fee to the commission before your permit expires. This is the $100 and $2.50 fee.

However, you can upgrade to a higher level permit within three years of receiving your initial permit if you meet the requirements for a higher-level permit. You will submit verification of completion of the requirements, an application (form 41-4), and half the current application fee, which is $50.

Your mail should be addressed to:

State of California
Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Certification Division
1900 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95811-4213.

Advance in your teaching profession by utilizing this Fully Funded International Fulbright Distinguished Awards for Teachers in the USA

Additional Information on California Teaching Credential Requirements

New teachers will have to obtain fingerprint clearance, or the Certificate of Clearance (COC), prior to gaining certification to teach. Also, some employers will require you to renew your COC to have a current clearance on file. CTC affords you the opportunity to renew your COC online for $50.00 plus a $2.50 service fee. However, you must first complete a form Live Scan 41-LS and take it to an electronic fingerprint processing location.

Meanwhile, the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CTC) offers teachers a valuable reminder service for credential renewal. If you provide CTC your email address, you will receive a reminder notice 90 days before the expiration of a credential that you can renew online.

Furthermore, you can renew your credentials one year prior to the expiration date if you have met all of the applicable requirements. However, you will not have to renew some credentials if your teaching position does not specifically require it. Also, you may renew these expired credentials at any point if you meet all the requirements.

Procedure for Appealing for the Extension of your Permit

Say for some reason you were not able to renew your California teaching credential, you are free to ask for an extension by filing an appeal. However, this will require you to download and fill out the 41-4 application form and mark the application as an appeal.

RELATED:  What Do Engineers Do? Top 11 Career Opportunities for Engineering Students

Also, you will state why you are appealing for an extension, provide documents confirming why you need to extend (such as a note from a physician) and furnish the correct documentation showing that you met the renewal requirements.


How do I renew my CA teaching credential?

You can renew your California Teaching Credentials in two ways – online through the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (CTC) website or through postal mail. Whichever medium you’re using, you’ll have to meet your credentialing requirements, fill in vital information (either online in the 41-4) application form, and make payments for your new credential.

What is the processing time for applications?

Online recommendations submitted through credential program sponsors usually takes CTC within 10 working days to complete. Typically, CTC processes all other applications within 50 working days from the date they receive the application. Login to your CTC Online Educator Account to monitor your application status.

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 confirm 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 gain certification by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing 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?

The application fee for renewal, whether online or through the application form, costs $100. Plus the additional $2.50 service fee for all online transactions at CTC website, it will cost you $102.50 to process your credential.

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. So, your document will be available in a view and print format on the Commission’s website within 10 working days (excluding holidays). You can view and print your document when you login to your CTC Online Educator Account using the Educator Login button displayed in the upper right-hand column.

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?

CTC 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.


California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) oversees the provision and renewal of teaching credentials in California. So, without certification from CTC, you will not be able to teach in any public school in California at any level. Hence, while you currently hold your certificate to teach, ensure to renew it before expiry. But if your California Teaching Credentials has expired, you can easily renew it online through the Educator Login or through sending a postal mail to the commission with your application fees after meeting your permit requirements.

However, your method of renewing your teaching credentials will differ by the type of California Teaching Credentials as described in this post. We believe you will find this post as an appropriate guide to renewing your teachers’ credentials.


We Also Recommend

Does this article meet your immediate needs? If yes, leave us with a 5-star rating in the Review Box below. If no, leave us an opinion in the comment box to express your concern or ask a question and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

You May Also Like