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Preparing to Teach Elementary School

Elementary school teachers teach a broad spectrum of subjects and so must possess expertise in a variety of areas:

  • Language arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social science
  • Visual & performing arts

Elementary teachers also teach physical education.

In order to be an elementary school teacher, candidates must possess a bachelor's degree and a preliminary multiple subject credential.

What should I major in?

If you are planning to teach elementary school, you should choose general education (GE) classes and a major that will contribute to your overall subject matter knowledge. Specific coursework is required for the multiple subject credential. If you are a community college student, you can make sure you are taking the required courses by checking our transfer agreements.

If you are a traditional undergraduate student:

  • FPU's liberal studies major is designed to give excellent preparation because of its interdisciplinary content which provides the background and courses needed. It also allows for individual specialization in your chosen area of interest. 
  • This major also has a fast-track program which prepares students to enter the job market as fully credentialed teachers a semester earlier than other candidates.

If you are a student in our degree completion program:

  • The liberal arts major gives excellent preparation for teacher credentialing programs and for the challenges faced by educators today.
  • The early childhood development major is an academically challenging program which prepares students to pursue a master's degree in special education and a multiple subject credential.

What is a preliminary multiple subject credential?

The preliminary multiple subject credential offers foundational knowledge in a variety of subject areas. It also develops an understanding of child growth and educational principles, skills in methods of teaching, strategies for managing classroom behavior, and teaching using technology. It includes both regular classes and fieldwork.

How long does it take?

Depending on whether you attend full-time or part-time, the program lasts for 12 or 15 months.

ITEP Program at FPU - The Integrated Teacher Education Pathway at FPU offers students the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Arts degree and multiple subjects teaching credential in four years. Transfer students can complete their Bachelor of Arts degree and multiple subjects teaching credential in two years!.This pathway takes at least one year off the current traditional path. Learn more at

What do I need to do to get my multiple subject credential?

Please view the Preliminary Multiple Subject program page for more information.