Teaching Here

Why Choose San Diego?

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David Suh (San Diego '14)

As a San Diego Native, working with Teach For America- San Diego has rebranded the typical way in which outsiders view the city. It has also helped me become more aware of the educational inequity that exists within my own hometown. My experience has provided me with the opportunity to explore my passions and empowered me to step out of my comfort zone. Although San Diego is a great city, our students and communities still have a great need.

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Kevin Pelaez (San Diego '14)

My fellow corps members in San Diego have helped me and been there for me the past two years, whether it be for lesson-planning or just having someone to talk to on the weekends.

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Sarah Snook (San Diego '14)

Teaching science in San Diego was a truly meaningful experience. San Diego is a huge biotech and engineering hub, but that isn't part of everyday reality for a lot of students. To have the opportunity to connect students with the amazing things happening in their own community-- that was my favorite part of TFA-SD. (Although it doesn't hurt to live in one of the best vacation destinations and experience year round perfect weather, either).

What You Need to Know


Salaries range from $35,000 - $47,000.




May require a third year to complete (see details below)


Takes 1.5 to 2 years, depending on your teaching assignment

Earning Your Teaching Credential

  • Credentialing Overview
  • What should corps members do before arriving in the region in order to meet credentialing requirements?
  • How much does the credential cost?

Upon acceptance, incoming corps members work with the San Diego regional team to ensure that they are ready for the first day of school. Corps members must meet many California mandated requirements in order to teach, and Teach For America guides and supports them through this process.

How is Credentialling Structured?

The California Department of Education offers an intern credential program designed specifically to support individuals who enter the classroom on a nontraditional path. A preliminary credential can be obtained in approximately 14-18 months through our credentialing partner, National University. 

All K-12 San Diego corps members must pass two state exams before the start of their credentialing coursework, and will complete a full-time course load of credentialing work as they teach, enrolling in evening and online courses.

While they are attending credentialing courses, they will work as the lead teacher on an intern credential work permit and receive additional TFA and NU supports as they pursue a preliminary teaching credential. Upon completion of their program, they will receive a preliminary credential, valid for five years in the state of CA.  

Those who are interested may elect to enroll in additional courses after earning their preliminary credentials to work towards a graduate degree.


Upon accepting their offers to join Teach For America and the region, corps members will receive more information about their next steps. Though state requirements often change, the steps typically include studying for, taking, and passing certification exams such as the CBEST (basic skills), CSET (content area), and US Constitution Exam.

San Diego corps members must pass all required testing prior to Induction, which is typically the first week of June. Corps members will be responsible for paying for the tests out of pocket; total cost ranges from $300 to $500, excluding any necessary retakes.

Credential costs are dependent on the specific program in which a corps member is enrolled – costs can range from $18,000 to $25,000.

Contingent upon the renewal of Teach For America’s partnership with AmeriCorps and individual eligibility, corps members may choose apply their AmeriCorps education award to a portion of this tuition. AmeriCorps education awards are issued at the end of each school year, and corps members are responsible for any out-of-pocket credentialing expenses prior to receiving the award.


Placement School Locations

Subjects And Grade Levels

  • Special Education (K-12) 
  • Math (6-12) 
  • Science (6-12) 
  • Elementary 
  • Multiple Subjects (6-12) 

Neighborhood Tour

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San Diego is a city of complexity. Micro-communities dot the entire county. Whatever you’re passionate about, whatever your interests may be, wherever you’re from, San Diego has something for you. Ranging from relaxed coastal lifestyle to the energy of the emerging music scene, from our exceptional craft breweries to refined coffee, and from gourmet fare to street-eats, San Diego has something for everyone. -Faye Pacho (San Diego '14)

Get to Know Neighborhoods Where Corps Members Live

  • Normal Heights
  • Hillcrest
  • Ocean Beach
  • East County
  • North County

Centrally-located, the Normal Heights’ neighborhood of San Diego has ample foot traffic. Bookstores, salons, boutiques and shops, and a variety of bars and restaurants are within walking distance to residents of this area. Throughout the year, Adams Avenue also offers numerous street festivals, including the Adams Avenue Street Fair, Adams Avenue Unplugged, and Art Around Adams. University Heights offers similar attractions with fewer crowds.

Hillcrest is an eclectic and welcoming neighborhood that serves as the center of San Diego's LGBT community. The streets are full of unique stores, restaurants, and bars, and the Sunday Farmers Market is not to be missed. Hillcrest also sits next to Balboa Park, the city's best cultural attraction, and is a short distance from North Park. 

Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and Pacific Beach are right along the water and offer easy access to the ocean. During the day, locals enjoy swimming, cycling, kayaking, surfing, and exploring boutique shops. At night, a mix of casual and upscale restaurants and bars attract people from all over the city.

East County, located in the interior valleys outside of San Diego city, is comprised of several smaller cities: El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, and Lemon Grove. East County is home to several community colleges, shopping malls, and festivals. East County’s diverse geography, which features valleys, mountains, and lakes, allows for ample opportunities to kayak, hike, bike, and more. East County neighborhoods tend to be warmer yet more affordable than areas in the city of San Diego.

North County is a diverse and exciting place to live. The inland cities are more affordable than some of the coastal cities and still offer many cultural and social opportunities. North County is home to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Legoland, Oceanside Pier, Camp Pendleton, and many lagoons and hiking destinations.

Alumni Spotlights

New York 1998
Executive Director, KIPP San Diego
Allison is the Executive Director for KIPP San Diego and a passionate advocate for educational equity. Her experience as a Teach For America corps member in New York City’s public schools drove Allison to continue serving low-income students across the country as a teacher and school leader, continually growing in impact.
New York 1999
President, Continuing Education, San Diego Community College District
Carlos O. Turner Cortez, a longtime educational leader with a strong commitment to social justice, found his calling while serving as a corps member in New York City. Carlos is now the President of Continuing Education in the San Diego Community College District, serving 40,000 students a year.

Community Spotlights


Interested in Joining the Corps?


Regional Expenses

Monthly Salary

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs