Applicant FAQs

Eligibility

How do I know if I am eligible for EnCorps?

In order to meet basic eligibility requirements, a candidate must:

  1. Live in an area that EnCorps serves (San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego)
  2. Have at least 3 or more years of experience as a STEM industry professional
  3. Be fully eligible to work in the United States (US Citizen, Permanent Resident, Work Visa)
  4. Hold an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.50 or higher
  5. Not already hold a California single subject or CTE teaching credential
  6. Complete and submit EnCorps’ Online Application

 

Please visit http://encorps.org/educators for more information about eligibility and selection criteria.

Am I eligible if I have no previous teaching experience or prior coursework in education?

Yes! The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program is designed to support professionals in the math, science, engineering, and technology fields who are interested in exploring teaching as a profession, and who demonstrate leadership, achievement, and a commitment to urban education. Previous coursework or experience in education is not necessary.

Does my math/science teaching or tutoring experience count as 3+ years as a STEM professional?

While we recognize that teaching and tutoring experience at the K-12 or college level is valuable, EnCorps is specifically designed for STEM professionals with industry experience, who can directly answer the question of relevance for students. If your teaching experience includes research, you may be eligible.

If I already have a teaching credential can I apply?

If you already possess a California teaching credential you are not eligible to apply for EnCorps. Our program is designed to assist math and science professionals in their transition to teaching careers.

What if I do not have a math or science background?

California’s high-needs schools often struggle to find highly qualified math and science teachers. This is why the EnCorps Teacher Program’s mission is to recruit, prepare, and support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals as they make the transition to teaching in low-income schools. If you do not have a background as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professional, the EnCorps Program is not right for you. If you are interested in teaching other subjects, please visit the CTC’s web page for credentialing options.

Can I apply if I am out of state?

We currently only serve the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County regions. If you are planning to relocate to these regions and would be available for an in-person interview in the region, please apply. If you do not currently live in one of our service areas, please be in touch with us once you relocate.  We can not currently respond to applications from outside our service areas.  

Application

Is there a paper application?

No. All applications must be submitted online.

How long will the application take to complete?

The entire process should take you 30-60 minutes.  You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. At the end of each page, you have the option to save your work and come back to complete it later.

What should I include in my responses to the application questions?

We ask candidates to thoughtfully address each of the following application questions in 4-6 sentences:

  1. EnCorps works primarily with under-resourced students who attend high need schools in disadvantaged communities. What are your reasons for wanting to tutor or teach this population of students?
  2. Describe a time when you were a beginner or novice at something that was extremely challenging. What obstacles did you face, what did it feel like to you, and how did you respond?

Your answers to the open response questions are an integral part of the application, and it is important to make sure you have complete and thoughtful answers to each question. We expect that each answer should be, at minimum, 200 words long. More importantly, your responses should fully express your feelings and opinions as they relate to the question prompt.  

What happens after I apply?

An EnCorps staff member will review your application after you have submitted it. You will be informed of our decision within approximately 1 week. If you meet our pre-requisites and appear to be a good fit for the program, we will invite you to one of our in-person Interview Days. If after that Interview Day, we confirm that you are a good fit for our program, we will extend an offer for you to join the program.

Do I need to send transcripts when I apply?

No. Transcripts are not necessary for completing your application. We trust you to tell us the truth about your educational and professional history.  Please note, however, that official transcripts will be required when you apply to teaching credential programs.

Interview Day

What happens at Interview Day?

Our Interview Day (sometimes called Preliminary Assessment (PA) Day), enables us to get to know you better and to make a final decision on your fit for the program. Both EnCorps teacher candidates and STEM Expert Tutor candidates interview in the same format. Interview Day events generally run about 4 hours. Candidates are placed into small groups with EnCorps Assessors (interviewers). Each candidate is asked to:

  • Present a 5-minute sample teaching lesson
  • Participate in a group discussion
  • Write about a realistic education scenario
  • Engage in a one-on-one interview

Each candidate is evaluated holistically, and successful candidates will demonstrate the potential to positively impact student learning and achievement in a high-needs school during each part of the interview day.

More information about interview days and how to prepare for them will be provided to qualified candidates who receive an invitation to interview.

I meet all of the program's pre-requisites. Why wasn't I accepted?

The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program is a selective program. Our pre-requisites are only the minimum qualifications necessary to be considered for the program and meeting them in no way guarantees acceptance. Although ensuring candidates meet our program’s pre-requisites is an important step in our initial review of applications, our selection process is ultimately driven by our desire to identify individuals with strong track records of achievement in their previous endeavors that demonstrate a steadfast commitment towards improving the achievement of students in California’s high-needs schools. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applicants, we are not able to provide individual feedback to candidates.

I wasn't accepted. Can I appeal the decision?


Because we receive an exceptional number of applications each year, we are unable to provide personalized feedback to applicants who have not been accepted to the program. We encourage all applicants interested in education to continue to pursue teaching through other avenues. You can begin your research on other programs by visiting the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) website.

EnCorps Program

What will my commitment be to the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program?

When you join EnCorps, you are committing to two years in public education. All Educators and STEMx Tutors begin their experience with a semester of volunteer tutoring for 3-5 hours per week. Throughout the first semester, EnCorps participants decide on a credentialing (career pathway) or STEMx tutoring track. Credentialing pathway Educators will complete a teacher credentialing program and commit to teaching for 3 or more years in a high-needs school. STEMx Tutors commit to volunteering for at least one additional year. All participants are expected to attend EnCorps professional development events (Summer Residential Institute, Fall and Spring Institutes) and participate in other training EnCorps offers.

How does EnCorps help me explore education?

Tutoring: You will begin your journey into teaching as a volunteer and observer in local EnCorps partner schools. Your first experience will be tutoring students in after school and/or enrichment programs or in a classroom. You will spend 3-5 hours per week facilitating student learning and gaining valuable experience in schools and with students. This exploration into teaching provides you with time to take any required exams and consider whether full time teaching is the right pathway for you.
Guest Teaching: During this phase, you will be paired with a mentor teacher and spend at least 3-5 hours per week in that teacher’s classroom observing, working with individuals and small groups of students, and eventually teaching portions of lessons and whole lessons to the class. This structured, semester-long program provides an opportunity for you to gain valuable classroom experience and to make connections with schools that may eventually be looking to hire STEM teachers.

What benefits are there to joining EnCorps?

The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program exists to support STEM professionals as they make the transition to teaching. That means we set you up with experiences in the classroom that help you determine whether or not full-time teaching is the best fit for you. We place you with partner agencies for tutoring and guest teaching and when you are ready to enter the classroom full-time, we help you make connections with principals and schools. Upon entering your first year of teaching at a high-needs school, you become eligible for 100% Tuition Reimbursement through federal and state forgiveness programs. As an EnCorps Educator, you will join a network of like-minded professionals dedicated to closing the achievement gap and to making a difference in the lives of their students.

Is there a cost to the program?

EnCorps provides our Educators the following free of charge: CSET test prep materials (if needed), coaching, professional development, and support services including Summer Residential Institute, Fall and Spring Institutes and online web seminars (webinars). EnCorps also assists Educators with finding financially feasible credentialing programs and grants, scholarships and financial aid to offset the cost of obtaining the credential.
While EnCorps support services are free, program participants are responsible for fingerprinting/LiveScan fees, Tuberculosis testing fee, test registration fees and fees associated with ordering transcripts. They are also responsible for all credentialing tuition, as well as all materials and textbooks required by a credentialing program.
EnCorps Educators who are tutoring and guest-teaching are considered volunteers and are unpaid.

Is this a paid position?

The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program offers many resources to our Educators, but we do not hire, pay or financially subsidize our Educators. EnCorps staff will assist and support Educators in finding a paid position once they have completed their teacher credentialing program.

May I work while exploring a transition to teaching with EnCorps?

Yes, for portions of the EnCorps program, it is possible to work full time. The first semester of EnCorps’ pre-service volunteering is designed to allow STEM professionals to continue working in their industry as they explore teaching as a career. This can be done with after-school or weekend volunteer tutoring assignments for 1-5 hours per week. It is more difficult to work while guest teaching in the second semester of EnCorps’ program.

What is the professional development training?

EnCorps holds three professional development events a year — a 3-day Summer Residential Institute (SRI) typically in June and Fall and Spring Institutes. At SRI, EnCorps facilitates workshops that address many topics for new teachers and transitioning professionals. Key topics include:

  • Understanding how to manage a classroom
  • Understanding the history, challenges, and current successes in urban education
  • Planning lessons
  • Building relationships with students
  • Setting and achieving ambitious learning goals for students

For additional information, see What We Offer to Our Educators.

State Credentialing Tests

Do I need to have taken or passed tests to apply?

No. If you have not yet taken and/or passed the California teacher credentialing exams, you are still eligible to apply. If accepted into the program and you decide to pursue a single subject credential, we will assist you in signing up and studying for the tests appropriate to your subject area.

What tests will I need to take?

Testing will depend on the pathway you choose with EnCorps. If you choose to pursue a Career and Technical Education Credential (CTE), you will be required to pass the US Constitution Test (this is often satisfied by coursework if you completed an undergraduate degree in California), but no other credentialing exams. If you choose to pursue a single subject credential (math or science), you must take and pass the US Constitution Test, the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) in your subject of choice. When you do sign up to test, you will include EnCorps as an agency to send your score report, our code number is: 889.
The CBEST screens for basic reading, mathematics, and writing skills. The exam contains both multiple-choice and essay questions. The paper test is offered every other month and the computer version is generally offered at least once a month. For more information, please visit the CBEST registration page.
The CSET, the California Subject Examinations for Teachers, tests your subject-matter competency in either math or a science discipline. The CSET exams are generally more difficult than the CBEST as they require much more in-depth knowledge of your subject area (math or science). The CSET test is broken up into 3 or more subtests depending on the subject. For more detailed information on what is covered in each subtest, visit the CSET website. It is advised that you do not take more than 2 subtests in one sitting. Test takers are given the same amount of time regardless of the number of subtests signed up for. Please keep this in mind when registering. Please visit the CSET website for further details, test dates, and to sign-up.

When should I take the CBEST?


EnCorps Educators pursuing a single subject credential will need to take and pass the CBEST prior to applying to credentialing programs in the winter of their first year with EnCorps. Further details on the timeline will be available when candidates join the program.

When should I take the CSET?


Applicants who plan to pursue a single subject credential are encouraged to become familiar with the CSET tests as soon as possible. EnCorps Educators pursuing a single subject credential will need to take and pass the CSET exams prior to applying to credentialing programs in the winter of their first year with EnCorps. Further details on the timeline will be available when candidates join the program.

Does EnCorps provide CSET study materials?


EnCorps can provide CSET study materials if requested, once you have gone through an interview day with EnCorps and received and signed an offer letter.

I want to teach Science. Which CSET exams should I take?


The science CSET exam is comprised of up to 3 subtests, which can be taken all in one sitting or individually. It is advised that you take one or two subtests at a time, as you have the same 5 hours to test no matter how many subtests you are signed up for. All science teachers need to pass subtests I and II, which cover general science. Passing subtests I and II allows you to teach middle school or non-specific science courses. After that, you must select and take one of the subtest III exams. Choose the subtest III that pertains to the subject you intend to teach: biology/life science, chemistry, earth and planetary science, or physics. You may take more than one subtest III if you would like to be qualified to teach more than one science subject (though initially your credentialing program will ask you to select one to focus on). By passing subtests I, II, and III, you will be qualified to teach General Science, Integrated Science and the concentration covered by subtest III you selected.
For more details on what the exams test for please visit the official CSET website.

I want to teach math. Which CSET exams should I take?


In order to obtain a single subject math credential, you will need to take and pass at least math subtests I and II. If you pass the first two exams, you will be qualified to obtain a Foundational Level Mathematics Credential so that you may teach math courses through trigonometry, but not pre-calculus or calculus. If you take and pass subtest III in addition, you will be qualified to obtain a regular Mathematics Credential, allowing you to teach all mathematics courses K-12 including calculus. Please visit the official CSET website for more details.

If I have a graduate degree in math or science, do I still need to take the CSET?

Yes. In some rare instances, a candidate may apply for and receive a subject-matter waiver from the University where he or she is enrolled in credentialing courses. The requirements for a waiver are extremely specific and non-negotiable. We recommend that all candidates register for and prepare to take the CSET even if they choose to pursue a waiver so as not to jeopardize their eligibility to teach.

Becoming a Teacher

What is the difference between a CTE and single subject credential?


A single subject credential is the type of teaching credential traditionally thought of, allowing holders to teach math and science. It is obtained by applying to and going through a credentialing program at a university, county office of education or district/charter school. Single subject credentials typically take 12-18 months to obtain and allow the holder to teach only math or science. Single subject areas include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Foundational Science
  • Geosciences
  • Math
  • Foundational Math

A Career and Technical Education (CTE) credential can be obtained in 15 industry sectors, 8 of which EnCorps supports as STEM. The state has made a $1.25 billion dollar commitment to education in CTE to prepare students to be career, college and community ready. CTE classes are currently taught as electives and are increasing in demand in many public school districts. It is obtained by applying to and going through a credentialing program at a university, county office of education or district/charter school. CTE credentials typically take 4-6 months to obtain and allow the holder to teach only the subject listed on their credential (many times STEM professionals get multiple industry sectors listed on their credential).

  • Arts and Media
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Engineering and Design
  • Finance and Business
  • Health Science and Medical Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing and Product Development
  • Transportation

CTE teachers can not teach core subjects and single subject teachers can not teach CTE classes, but you may be credentialed in both.

What are the different kinds of single subject credential programs?


Single subject teaching credential programs in California vary in length, type and cost. Some programs are part-time, some full-time, some are online and some in person. Additionally, some programs have a master’s degree option as well.
Intern Program – An internship program allows individuals with a bachelor’s degree and subject matter competency (typically proven by passing the CSET exams) to work in the classroom as a “teacher of record” while completing a credential program. These individuals are working teachers and paid a salary by the district or school for their teaching time. Internships are generally offered for hard-to-staff subject fields; currently, science and mathematics. The Intern program allows individuals who do not currently hold a teaching credential to teach for two years while taking graduate-level education credits toward achieving a Preliminary Teaching Credential. Examples include Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Transition to Teaching Program and UCLA Extension’s Intern Program.
Traditional Credentialing Program – Traditional credential programs consist of coursework followed by a student teaching experience. Traditional programs can sometimes be completed on a part-time basis. This option typically takes 12-18 months. Passage of CBEST and CSET (or proof of registration) is required for admission. Examples include San Jose State University, Cal State LA and Loyola Marymount University.
Residency Programs – Teacher Residency programs are generally a 14-month graduate-level program. Modeled after a medical residency, a teaching residency program gives teaching students, or “residents,” the chance to implement ideas in a classroom setting, while receiving feedback and support from expert practitioners. Residents are simultaneously taking graduate level classes. Most residency programs offer a “living wage” during the 14-month period in the form of a stipend. Examples include Los Angeles Urban Teachers Residency (LAUTR) and the San Francisco Teacher Residency program (SFTR).
Candidates who sign an offer with EnCorps will receive additional information about credentialing program options and resources.

Do I need to commit to a specific number of years of teaching?


In order to make a significant impact on the high-needs communities we serve, we expect EnCorps Educators to teach for at least 3 years in a high-needs, low-income school. It is EnCorps’ goal to seek and accept candidates with a commitment to becoming an effective teacher, and learning to teach is both an art and a science and it can take several years to gain your stride as a new teacher. As you consider becoming an EnCorps STEM Teacher, you are considering moving into a rewarding, exciting and challenging career. In addition, to qualify for the Loan Forgiveness Programs, you must serve as a full-time teacher of record for one to five years. The longer you teach in a high-needs school, the greater the loan forgiveness amount.

What if I want to teach a subject other than Math, Science, Engineering or Technology?


EnCorps was developed to address the overwhelming shortages of qualified Math and Science teachers at the middle and high school level in low-income schools. We support Educators in obtaining a math or science single subject credential or a CTE credential in a STEM industry sector (see above for sectors). Currently, we do not provide a pathway to teaching at the elementary or adult school level and do not assist in matching teachers in other subject areas at the middle or high school level.

Does EnCorps provide placements at each step on the career pathway?

Placements are arranged with our partner institutions for the tutoring and guest-teaching pieces of the program. If asked to join EnCorps, you will meet with program staff to work out which of our partners’ openings would suit you best. Assignments are based on need, grade level and subject preferences and location. EnCorps does not provide job placements, however, we can be a great resource in helping our Educators to find full time teaching opportunities. We will do our best to help you make connections with schools and principals, but we do not guarantee job placement.

Where in California are EnCorps Educators placed?


We have Educators placed in the San Francisco Bay area, the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and its surrounding vicinity, Orange County, Sacramento and San Diego. EnCorps Educators work in high-need schools in low-income communities as our mission dictates. We work with traditional public and charter schools that are dedicated to improving education for their students and supporting the development of new teachers.

STEMx Tutors

How do I apply?

Applications are only accepted online. EnCorps uses the same rigorous application and interview process for our career pathway Educators and STEMx Tutors because at different points throughout your EnCorps experience, you may choose to switch over to another pathway (ie. STEMx tutors, single subject credential, CTE credential). STEMx Tutors also have the same access to resources and partners as our career pathway educators and are highly regarded as an invaluable resource to our partner schools and non-profits. Please apply here.

What will the interview look like?

Our Interview Day (sometimes called Preliminary Assessment (PA) Day), enables us to get to know you better and to make a final decision on your fit for the program. Both EnCorps teacher candidates and STEM Expert Tutor candidates interview in the same format. Interview Day events generally run about 4 hours. Candidates are placed into small groups with EnCorps Assessors (interviewers). Each candidate is asked to:

 

  • Present a 5-minute sample teaching lesson
  • Participate in a group discussion
  • Write about a realistic education scenario
  • Engage in a one-on-one interview

 

Each candidate is evaluated holistically, and successful candidates will demonstrate the potential to positively impact student learning and achievement in a high-needs school during each part of the interview day.

 

More information about interview days and how to prepare for them will be provided to qualified candidates who receive an invitation to interview.

What is the time commitment?

STEMx Tutors commit to one to five hours per week for two years, during the school year (typically mid-August to May). There is flexibility in finding a match that works for your availability, grade level, subject and geographic preferences. We will do our best to match you with a middle or high school or after-school program that is convenient for you.

What kind of training will I receive?

STEMx Tutors are invited to participate in all of EnCorps’ training for career pathway Educators  as well as those specifically geared toward tutors. This includes Summer Residential Institute (3-day training and professional development event), Fall and Spring Institutes (1-day events), webinars and conference calls, tutoring “office hours” and informal get-togethers regionally. In addition, EnCorps provides STEMx Tutors with a Tutoring Handbook with tips, tricks and templates. STEMx Tutors will also participate in an initial orientation or meeting with their host site.

Will I be placed in a school or after-school program close to my home/work?

EnCorps does our best to place STEMx Tutors in a convenient location either close to home or work. We partner with many schools and after-school programs in each of our regions so there is usually a convenient location for most participants and EnCorps is always working to develop additional partnerships.