Degrees & Programs Education (Liberal Studies)
Principals love our graduates!
We prepare knowledgeable, caring, Christian educators in a rigorous, highly practical and professional program. You will learn from full-time professors with K-12 experience as you develop essential skills and attitudes to succeed as a teacher. Westmont’s stellar reputation sets the stage for you to observe, teach, and invest in diverse schools. With careful planning, prospective teachers may be able to complete subject-matter requirements and professional coursework in four years, rather than the usual five, allowing you to begin your teaching career immediately upon graduation.
In California, those who wish to pursue a career in elementary education usually major in Liberal Studies. The Liberal Studies major is a degree primarily in academic content, allowing you to develop expertise in all of the fields of study that would normally be taught in the elementary classroom. Among other purposes, the major is specifically designed to prepare candidates for the CSET exam, required for entrance into a California credential program.
In the regular program, the teaching credential is earned during a 5th year of study. Graduates of Westmont’s Liberal Studies program may complete their 5th year (their credential, that is) either through Westmont’s state-approved credential program or through another institution.
Qualified candidates may, with careful planning, be able to complete both the Liberal Studies major and California’s requirements for a preliminary teaching credential in four years. Depending on the depth of your academic preparation in high school, you may need to enroll in pertinent summer classes to complete both programs in four years. In either case, academic advisors in the Education Department will work with you closely to ensure that you meet each state requirement.
Multiple Subject Plan
In California, those who want to teach high school generally major in the subject area they want to teach. Then, having completed the state subject-area requirements (see Subject Matter Preparation, below), they take a fifth year to complete a teaching credential.
Westmont offers single-subject (typically for use in Grades 7-12) credentials in the following areas:
- History/Social Science
- Physical Education/Kinesiology
- Science - General
- Science - Biology
- Science - Chemistry
- Science - Physics
Students wishing to teach in another subject area not listed here (e.g., Spanish) may still complete their secondary credential at Westmont by passing the CSET examination in another area listed above and then applying for credentials in both areas.
Subject Matter Preparation
In the spring before applying to the Credential program, candidates for secondary teaching take a subject-matter exam (the CSET) in the subject they wish to be credentialed in.
For students on a regular 4 year + 1 year schedule, the exam would be taken in the spring of the senior year. For fast-track students, the exam would be taken spring of the junior year.
Fast Track Option
At Westmont it is possible, with careful planning and extra classes over the summer, to complete both the subject area requirements and the requirements for a preliminary credential in four years.
Promotes compassion, reflection, gratitude, and joyful learning
Loves history, biology, literature—and K-12 students
Seeks to foster a desire to learn
Graduates teach in a variety of K – 12 classroom settings from public to private, and many teach in international schools. After several years teaching in the field, graduates often pursue educational administration, school counseling, or even add an additional credential.
The Department of Education welcomed 100 local teachers and student teachers to campus in April 2017 to celebrate the impact that teachers make each day on student’s lives.
Professor Jane Wilson and alums Laura Trudelle ‘10 Newton and Veronica Gines ‘16 presented at the 2017 Santa Barbara School District’s Leadership Mindset Conference.
The Department of Education awarded their annual Excellence in Education award to Isao Sugano and Nancy Thurston (local 6th grade teachers at Hope Elementary) for their outstanding collaborative work as educators (February 2017).
Westmont alumni earn awards
Alana Woodin '10 received Orange Cove's Community 2017 Educator of the Year Award for her work with AVID students.
Emily Hagen ’14 received the 2017 Support Employee of the Year for her work as an Intervention Specialist at Theodore Judah Elementary School.
Katie Curry ’13 received the 2014 Santa Barbara County Young Educator of the Year award.
Ema Diaz ‘12 Edrington received the 2015 Carpinteria Educator of the Year for her work with at an alternative high school.