Subject Matter Competency 

Teacher candidates must demonstrate subject-matter competence in their subject areas. Subject-matter competence must be met prior to student teaching or intern teaching and can be met by examination or waiver program. 
The California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) is a series of subject matter examinations for prospective teachers who choose to meet the subject matter competence requirement by taking examinations. Computer-based CSET exams are available year-round by appointment. Scheduling information is available on the website
Multiple Subject Credential Examinations:
Single Subject Credential Examinations:
Education Specialist Subject Credential Examinations:

A candidate for an Education Specialist Credential must demonstrate subject-matter competence, in one of the following subject areas by the passing the following Commission examinations or completing a Commission-approved subject matter program:

Multiple-subject examinations or waiver program

Or Single-subject examinations or waiver program in the following core academic subjects:

  • English
  • Reading/Language arts
  • Economics
  • Arts
  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics/Government
  • Mathematics, including foundational-level mathematics
  • Science, including foundational-level general science or specialized science
  • Social science
  • Music
  • Foreign language


Passing Standards
To pass the CSET in a given subject area, a minimum scaled score of 220 must be achieved on each subtest.
CSET website:

Subject Matter Competency Waiver Program

Institutions of higher education may be approved to offer undergraduate subject matter preparation programs. Completion of a subject matter program offered by a Commission-approved institution or passage of subject matter competence examinations satisfies the subject matter requirement necessary to earn a teaching credential. 

Learn more about Commission-approved institutions