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Do You Know Which CTC Exams You Need to Take?

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Are you hoping to be a teacher in California, but you’re not sure about the next step? You are probably wondering what the CTC is and which test you need to take. There are so many! It can be confusing, but we will help you figure it out. The sooner you know, the sooner you can start studying and work your way to a passing score.

In this article, we will tell you all about the CTC. We will break down the different tests and give you a bit more information about them. Even if you plan to do the Early Completion Internship Option, this article will help you figure out which test to take.

Ready to learn? Let’s go!

What is the CTC?

CTC stands for the (California) Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The CTC has developed exams to make sure that prospective teachers meet specific requirements before getting certified to teach in California. Some of the tests cover basic teaching skills, while others focus on specific subject areas. Which CTC test you need to take depends on where you are in your schooling and which grades you are getting licensed for.

Who has to take the CTC?

Anyone who wants to be a teacher in California must pass at least one CTC test. Before being accepted into a teacher preparation or certification program, you need to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). If you want to teach elementary school, you need to take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) multiple subjects test. If you plan on teaching at the secondary level, you will take the CSET for your subject area.

What CTC test do I have to take?

Before becoming a licensed teacher in California, you need to fulfill the basic skills requirement. To do this you can take the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) or take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subjects plus the CSET: Writing Skills.

The CBEST consists of three sections: mathematics, reading, and writing. You can take all three parts in one sitting or you can split them up. The mathematics and reading portions each have 50 multiple-choice questions. The writing portion consists of two essays.

You are allowed four hours to take the test; it doesn’t matter whether you register for one, two, or all three sections of the test. There is a $41 test fee each time you register and a $61 CBT service fee. When taking all three sections, a score of 123 is needed to pass. The scores for each section are scaled and range from 20 to 80. A scaled score of 41 is required to pass each section.

Need more information on CTC scores and how to read your score report? Be sure to check out this helpful article.

You can find more information on the CBEST and take a free practice test here.

Another way to fulfill the basic skills requirement is to take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) Multiple Subjects Test and the CSET: Writing Skills. The CSET Multiple Subjects exam consists of three subtests:

You can register to take just one subtest, two subtests, or all three subtests. If you take all three at the same time, you will have five hours to finish. You have three hours for Subtests I and II, and two hours and 15 minutes for Subtest III. If you register for all three subtests at the same time, it costs $247. If you take each one separately, they cost $99 per test. Each subtest is graded on a scale from 100 to 300. A passing score is 220 per subtest.

CTC exams have a lot of varying costs and fees, which can start to get confusing. If you need more details on test costs, we’ve got what you need! For more information on the CSET Multiple Subjects and a free practice test, go here.

Elementary

If you are an aspiring elementary teacher in California, you also need to take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA). The RICA tests your knowledge of reading instruction. You have the option of taking a written test or a video test. You have four hours to complete the exam. Here is a breakdown of the test:

Of the 70 multiple-choice questions, only 60 are graded, and the other 10 are field questions. A passing score is 220 out of a range of 100 to 300. The case study is worth 20% of the total points. The case study is assessed using a system of pluses: 3 or 4 pluses is adequate or better, while 1 or 2 pluses is not adequate. It costs $171 to take the RICA test. You will get your test results in four weeks.

You can find more information on the RICA test and take a practice test here.

Secondary

All teachers who wish to teach middle school or high school in California need to satisfy the basic skills requirements and take a CSET subject test. A few of the most common single-subject tests are CSET: Mathematics, CSET: Science, and CSET: Social Science.

CSET: Mathematics consists of three subtests. Subtests I and II each contain 35 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response questions, with two hours and 30 minutes allotted per subtest. Subtest III contains 30 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions, with two hours allotted to finish. Each subtest costs $99. A score of 220 is passing. You can register to take one subtest per session.

Visit here for an Ultimate Guide and practice test for CSET: Mathematics.

CSET: Science consists of two subtests. Subtest I is 100 multiple-choice questions and four constructed-response questions, with four hours allotted to finish. Subtest II is 50 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response questions, with two hours allotted to complete. You can register to take both subtests together or separately. Subtest I costs $133, Subtest II costs $134, and both subtests taken together cost $267. A passing score is 220 per subtest.

Check out the free Ultimate Guide and practice test for CSET: Science here.

CSET: Social Science consists of three subtests. Subtests I and II contain 39 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response questions, with two hours and 15 minutes allotted per subtest. Subtest III contains 40 multiple-choice questions and three constructed-response questions, and you have one hour and 45 minutes to finish. You can register to take one subtest or all three in a single session. Each subtest costs $99, or $297 if you take all three at once. A passing score is 220 per subtest.

There’s an Ultimate Guide and free practice test for CSET: Social Science here.

For more information on CSET, visit here.

Teaching English Learners

If you are planning on teaching English language learners, you can take the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) exam. This test consists of three subtests and you can take one, two, or all three in one session. CTEL 1 has 50 multiple-choice questions and one essay, CTEL 2 has 60 multiple-choice questions and two essays, and CTEL 3 has 40 multiple-choice questions and one essay. If you take all three subtests at once, the cost is $260 and you will have six hours to finish. To pass, you will need to score 220 per subtest. This test is only available during four different two-week testing windows throughout the year. Check the dates here so you can plan before registering.

Check out the CTEL Ultimate Guide and a free practice test here.

Physical Education

If you want to be a physical education teacher, you will need to take the California Subject Examination for Teachers for Physical Education (CSET PE). This test consists of three subtests, and you can take one or all three in a single session. Subtest I and II have 40 multiple-choice questions and two constructed-response questions, while Subtest III has 40 multiple-choice questions and one constructed-response question. If you take all three subtests in one sitting, you will have five hours to finish. Each subtest costs $99, or you can take all three together for $297. To pass you need a score of 220. There are specific testing windows when you can take this test. Make sure you check here to plan when you will take your test.

Check out the CSET PE Ultimate Guide and a free practice test here.

Early Completion Internship Option (ECO)

If you want to enter the Early Completion Internship Option (ECO), you will need to take the Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Elementary or Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary. Each of these tests contains 100 multiple-choice questions, one case study, and one work product. The cost is $95 and you have three hours to complete the test.

Find the Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Elementary Ultimate Guide and free practice test here. There’s also an Ultimate Guide and free practice test for the Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary here.

Now that you know which test to take to teach in California, make sure to allow plenty of time to study. And don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Guide for the test you need to take. For more study and testing tips, check out this resource.

Picture of: Kari Wasmer

Kari Wasmer

Kari is a microscopist at an environmental testing company, but her passion is science education. She has experience writing and editing science textbooks and loves helping educators understand how to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In her free time, she enjoys gardening with her young daughters, sewing, and knitting.