To start a career as an elementary, middle, or high school teacher in California requires a 5-year preliminary credential while you work towards your “Clear Credential.” As well as a college degree in any subject, the preliminary credential requires passing a number of tests (CBEST, RICA, etc.) in reading, mathematics, and writing and in how to teach these subjects, with a special emphasis on teaching reading skills, including vocabulary, comprehension, and background knowledge in your chosen content area(s). You also need to complete a teacher preparation program at UC San Diego or elsewhere including successful student teaching, and you need to show that you understand the U.S. Constitution, and know how to use technology for teaching.
A major in History can prepare you to be a teacher in two specific ways. First, you will learn content needed for mandatory social studies curricula at the K-6th grade levels, or content for teaching history, economics, geography, government, and civics at the 7th-12th grade levels. Even if you wish to teach a subject other than History, the ability to teach multiple subjects will make you a much more appealing job candidate when applying for your first position. Teacher preparation programs in CA teach pedagogical skills, such as assessment and classroom management; you must demonstrate your knowledge of subject matter before entering a teacher preparation program.
Second, history emphasizes reading many different kinds of text, from primary documents to secondary scholarship to textbooks to websites of historical material. History teaches you to raise questions, consider other people’s points of view, and communicate your own through different kinds of writing, discussion, and oral presentation. You will need to master these skills if you are to teach them to your students. Professors of teacher education comment that these are the kinds of skills they like most to see. These skills, as well as the wide, interdisciplinary approach of the UC San Diego History faculty to many facets of the human experience in the past, make an excellent preparation for teaching.
The certification in Social Studies requires both broad surveys and more concentrated courses in world history and geography of all major regions and U.S. history and geography (including social, economic, and cultural as well as political history), fundamental principles of American democratic institutions, civic practices, and comparative politics, California history, and economic theory and history, as well as an understanding of history as a practice. Any of the History courses we offer will contribute to your success in the CSET, but as you put your program together you may consult both with History Department advisors and with Professor Cheryl Forbes of the Education Department. See eds.ucsd.edu.