Degrees & Programs Education
Mission of the Department of Education
Westmont's Department of Education provides a supportive collegial community in which to acquire a rigorous, practical, and professional preparation for K-12 teaching. Building on teacher-candidates' liberal arts education, our program is designed to develop exemplary instructional skills, habits of reflection, and moral and cultural sensitivities that promote lifelong learning of diverse students.
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Teacher Credential Program
Become a knowledgeable, caring, Christian educator through our rigorous, highly practical and professional program. You'll 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 opens doors for you to observe, teach, and invest in diverse schools. You enter our professional program with a collegial cohort, taking classes in the fall semester and student teaching in the spring.
If you desire to teach elementary school, begin by earning a college degree. At Westmont, the Liberal Studies major is a great choice as it helps you develop expertise in all subjects normally taught in the elementary classroom and prepares you for the CSET (subject-matter exams) required for entrance into a California Teacher Credential Program.
If you desire to teach junior high or high school, begin by earning a college degree in the subject you want to teach.
Westmont offers Single Subject Teaching Credentials in the following areas:
- History/Social Science
- Physical Education/Kinesiology
- Science (General, Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
Towards the end of your undergraduate studies, take the CSET (subject-matter exams) in the subject you wish to teach as evidence of strong content knowledge. With careful planning, hard work, and counsel from your academic advisor and Education Department advisor, you may be able to complete both a BA degree and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in four years.
Allison Judy ’19 discovered that Westmont prepared her in more than one way to become a teacher. “The faith-filled teachings and relationships with friends and teachers cultivated the compassion and perspective necessary for approaching teaching from the heart,” she says.
During the pandemic, nine Westmont student teachers used their creativity during this unique and challenging season while learning to teach. Placed in four schools in the Santa Barbara Unified and Hope School Districts, the students took credential courses at Westmont, both online and in person, while collaborating with their cooperating teachers in a remote K-12 classroom.
Anna Luce '22, a liberal studies major who values culture and language, hopes to incorporate both into her future teaching career.
Meet the Staff
Each spring, Westmont welcomes over 100 local teachers and student teachers to campus to celebrate the impact that teachers make each day on students' lives.
Professor Jane Wilson and Veronica Gines ‘16 present at the annual Santa Barbara School District’s Leadership Mindset Conference.
Westmont's Education Department awards an annual Excellence in Education award to an outstanding educator.
Student teachers promote the teaching profession by connecting with students alternate years by visiting a local high school education academy or inviting high school students to campus for a "Let's Talk Teaching" conference.
Each fall the Education Department gathers public and private school teachers for a community gathering. Local teachers offer words of encouragement and inspiration to one another.
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.
Alumni speak highly of teaching
One thing I really loved about getting my credential at Westmont was the personal and in-depth feedback I received from professors. The professors are incredibly caring and dedicated, so I had constant access to individual meetings and observations with specific feedback that was founded on positive relationships and knowledge of my personal growth and struggles over the year of the program. Teaching is the best thing I've ever done! At no other time in my life have I felt so fulfilled and happy. It's an enormous challenge that is different every day.
"Teaching is the best thing I've ever done! At no other time in my life have I felt so fulfilled and happy. It's an enormous challenge that is different every day, but I've had so many experiences that make it worthwhile a million times over."
"While teaching Spanish I get to engage students in conversations about their world and help them find their place in the world."
"As a math teacher, I enjoy shaping students' problem solving skills and giving them hope that every problem has a solution."
"As a music educator, I help students expressively create and convey messages to audiences that are uniquely and purposely their own."
"I love teaching Health and PE to give students tools and knowledge to live balanced, happy and healthy lives."
"Being an art educator means teaching innovation and visual self-expression and watching students grow in confidence and creativity."
"Though I love teaching history, even more I love guiding students in academic, physical, or emotional situations."
Alumni Receive Awards
Christina Pena Eckert ’17 received the 2021 Distinguished New Educator Award in Santa Barbara County and was honored at Santa Barbara's Salute to Teachers event in November 2021. Christina teaches Spanish and AVID at Carpinteria Middle School.
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 Edrington ‘12 received the 2015 Carpinteria Educator of the Year for her work at an alternative high school.
Alana Woodin '10 received Orange Cove's Community 2017 Educator of the Year Award, Westmont Education Department's 2018 Excellence in Education Award, and Westmont's 2018 Young Alumni of the Year for her work with AVID students.
Kendra Yancey '10 received the 2018 Capistrano Valley High School "Teachers are Heroes" award.