Certifying Subject Area Competency in English

Certifying Subject Area Competency in English

Welcome to the Single Subject Credential Option degree program in English. This Guide is intended for students seeking certification of subject area competency in English. Our goal is to help you successfully complete your program and, should you pursue a teaching credential, become an excellent English teacher. To that end, we have prepared this Guide to help you through the process.

Should you have additional questions, please contact the English Education Coordinator or schedule an appointment with the English Department Advisor.

Purpose and Overview

The purpose of this program is to certify subject area competency in English. Certification of subject area competency is mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) for all students who intend to pursue a single subject credential and teach in a secondary school.

To demonstrate subject area competency, you need to

  • take the required courses as described by the catalog and the program provided by your Department Advisor;
  • maintain a 2.83 GPA in your degree program with no grade below C;
  • complete 24 hours of field experience (to be deducted from the 45 hours required in EDCI 300);
  • submit a passing portfolio to the English Education Coordinator at the end of your program.

You must successfully complete the above program prior to beginning your directed teaching which is supervised by the Charter College of Education. An alternative way of demonstrating subject area competency is to pass the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). (Currently, the CSET is not a requirement for the credential, although some schools require it as a condition of employment.)


  • Declare your major in a meeting with an English Department Advisor.
  • Visit TPAC Office to apply for Certificate of Clearance.
  • Visit English Department Advisor regularly (approximately twice a year or as necessary).
  • Keep copies of graded papers from each class you take for your portfolio, and take notes on teaching strategies.
  • Take English 310 and complete 12 hours of field experience.
  • Take English 494 and complete 12 hours of field experience.
  • Submit portfolio at the end of the program to the English Education Coordinator.
  • Apply to the Charter College of Education Credential Program. See King Hall D2069 for deadlines and application criteria.

TPAC and Field Experience

As soon as you declare your major in the Single Subject Credential Option in English, please visit the TPAC (Teacher Preparation Advisement Center) office to apply for a Certificate of Clearance. Because this multi-step process can take several weeks and because you need a Certificate of Clearance to begin your field experience, we urge you to begin this process as soon as possible. The TPAC office is located in Library South (Palmer Wing), 1040A, and their phone number is (323) 343-5434. Information about this process is also available in the English Advisement Office or from the English Education Coordinator or Department Advisor.

The two courses that require field experience are English 310 and English 494. For each course, you need to complete 12 hours of field experience, with five hours at a middle school, five hours at a high school, and two hours at either one. The TPAC Office will work with you to arrange and coordinate these hours, so please meet with TPAC staff early in the quarters you are enrolled in English 310 and 494.

We strongly suggest that you take English 310 early in your program (ideally, after completing English 200A, B, and C) and that you take English 494 in the last quarter of your program. The English Education Coordinator collects the portfolios at the end of the program, so you should have completed all the requirements for the portfolio by then.

Portfolio Information

The portfolio is a collection of artifacts that demonstrates subject area competency in four domains:

  • Literature and Textual Analysis
  • Language, Linguistics, and Literacy
  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • Communications: Speech, Media, and Creative Performance

To demonstrate competency, you need to submit a 5-10 page analysis of and reflection upon your program and field work and four graded assignments from classes that indicate your competency in these four domains. For more information on the portfolio, its contents, and the rubric, please pick up the handout "Checklist for Teaching Portfolio Contents" from your Department Advisor or from the English Education Coordinator. You can also get a description of these four domains from the English Education Coordinator. Successful portfolios will be complete, thoughtful, and reflective.

We hope that you will become more conscious of how your professors teach, as well as understand what they teach. To that end, we suggest that you keep all of your class notes. Organize them in any way that makes sense to you (by author, text, historical period, etc.). Note when professors give assignments and class activities that are particularly effective. Note the ways in which the professor is modeling pedagogy for you. What works very well? What could you adapt to your own teaching style? What could be better? How and why?

We also urge you to keep copies of all of your graded essays and assignments, including any graded responses to oral presentations. You will be including some of these in your portfolio.

The English Education Coordinator and/or the Department Advisor will inform students of any deficiencies, including inadequate GPA, incomplete or non-passing portfolio, or incomplete field experience. Students may resolve these deficiencies by retaking courses, revising and resubmitting portfolios, or by finishing field experience.

Good luck. We wish you well!

For More Information

English Department Advisor

Engineering and Technology A638

(323) 343-4140

English Education Coordinator

Engineering and Technology A638

(323) 343-4140

TPAC Office

Library South 1040A

(323) 343-5434

For more information on the Department of English at the California State University, Los Angeles, visit us online at