Subject Matter Competency 

Teacher candidates must demonstrate subject-matter competency in their subject areas. Subject-matter competency must be met in order to apply to be a student teacher or teaching intern. It 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. See scheduling CSET information
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

See more from CTC on Education Specialist subject-matter competence.


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

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


Student Teaching or Teaching Internship Application
CSET exams scores must be submitted in the student teaching and teaching internship applications. Students should schedule exams accordingly to ensure test scores are received prior to the designated application deadlines