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Applicant FAQs You are here: Home - Join - Applicant FAQs

Learn about transitioning your STEM expertise into teaching by earning a California single subject or career and technical education (CTE) teaching credential, along with our extensive support.

Eligibility

I want a career teaching in California’s high needs schools. How do I know if I am eligible for EnCorps?

In order to meet basic eligibility requirements to become an EnCorps Fellow, a candidate must:

  1. Currently live in an area we serve (Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Sacramento Area, Greater Los Angeles Area, Orange County, San Diego)
  2. Have at least 3 or more years of work or research experience as a STEM industry professional. (At least one year of STEM work experience must be within the last five years or two years within the last ten years. One year equals a minimum of 1000 clock hours and the experience may be full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid. Part-time work experience may be accumulated to equate to the required hours or years of work experience.)
  3. Be fully eligible to work in the United States (US Citizen, Permanent Resident, Work Visa)
  4. Hold an undergraduate degree with a 2.50 GPA or higher
  5. Not currently hold a California single subject teaching credential
  6. Complete and submit EnCorps’ online application

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 in high needs schools 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 single subject teaching credential that is current (not expired) you are not eligible to apply for EnCorps. Our program is designed to assist math and science professionals in their transition to teaching careers. However, if you hold a Career and Technical Education (CTE) credential and wish to earn a single subject teaching credential or hold an out-of-state credential, you are eligible to apply.

What if I do not have a science, technology, engineering or math 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 Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Sacramento Area, Greater Los Angeles Area, San Diego, 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 20-30 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. What are your reasons for wanting to tutor or teach STEM with this specific population of students? What do you hope your future work with this population of students will accomplish for them?
  2. Describe a time in your professional life when you demonstrated flexibility or adaptability in a situation that was challenging and/or not under your control. What obstacles did you face, what actions did you take and what did you learn from it?

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. There is no length requirement to your responses, but we encourage you to completely express your thoughts and feelings. We recommend composing answers in a separate document and pasting your responses into the online application when you are satisfied with them.

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 eligibility criteria 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.

In-person Interview

What happens at the in-person interview?

Our in-person interviews enable us to get to know you better and to make a final decision on your fit for the program. Interviews generally take about 3 hours. Candidates are asked to:

  • Present a 5-minute sample teaching lesson
  • Participate in a discussion about an education-related topic
  • Complete a written reflection
  • Engage in a one-on-one feedback session

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.

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

I meet all of EnCorps' eligibility requirements. Why wasn't I accepted?

The EnCorps STEM Teachers Program is highly selective. Our eligibility requirements 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 eligibility requirements 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 explore the possibility of becoming a STEM teacher in a high needs middle or high school. All Fellows will participate in the EnCorps program for a minimum of two years, this includes the time enrolled in a teacher credentialing program. In their first year with EnCorps, all Fellows volunteer as pre-service tutors or guest teachers for 2-5 hours per week in one of our partner schools as an opportunity to experience teaching and working with students first-hand. Following pre-service, Fellows may earn their CTE or Single Subject credential or continue to volunteer for an additional year. All Fellows are expected to attend an EnCorps orientation, EnCorps professional development events (Summer Residential Institute, Fall and Spring Institutes) and participate in other training EnCorps offers.

How long does it take to complete the EnCorps Fellowship?

When a Fellow has obtained a single subject or CTE credential and has accepted a teaching position in a high needs public or charter school, we consider them to have “completed” the Fellowship. This, however, doesn’t mean that Fellows disengage.

Fellows will typically participate in pre-credential volunteering for 1-2 academic semesters, although it can be longer. Obtaining a credential can be done simultaneous to this, or may take one additional year. Thus, most Fellows complete the Fellowship in under two years. EnCorps’ recommended tracks will ensure this timeline if followed.

Am I still an EnCorps Fellow when I’m in a credential program or teaching?

Yes! EnCorps Fellows maintain their connection to EnCorps and each other well into their teaching careers – we have engaged Fellows at every stage of their career transition. Of course, the nature of your interaction and support that EnCorps provides will look different for Fellows in credential programs and Fellows who are teaching.

What benefits are there to joining EnCorps?

The EnCorps STEM Teaching Fellowship is a rigorous on-ramp and exploration of a teaching career — offering the field experience, knowledge and connections to ensure our Fellows thrive. 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 schools and after-school programs 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. As an EnCorps Fellow, 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. EnCorps offers the following:

Immediate field experience working with high need students as a tutor and/or guest teacher
Mentorship from EnCorps staff and an experienced host teacher
Exam support and credentialing guidance
Robust slate of professional development
Collaborative cohort of peers to share ideas, support and best practices
Opportunity to work in a variety of school districts and charter networks

Is there a cost to the program?

EnCorps provides our Fellows with support, resources and coaching, free of charge. This includes, but is not limited to: CSET test prep materials (if needed), coaching, professional development, and support services including Summer Residential Institute, Fall and Spring Institutes and online webinars. EnCorps also assists Fellows with finding financially feasible credentialing programs, grants, scholarships, and financial aid to offset the cost of obtaining the credential.
While EnCorps support services are free, Fellows 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.
During pre-service EnCorps Fellows 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 Fellows, but we do not hire, pay or financially subsidize our Fellows. EnCorps staff will assist and support Fellows in finding a paid position once they have completed their teacher credentialing program or are eligible for an intern credential.

If I decide to not pursue a teaching credential and make a career change after volunteering, can I still be an EnCorps Fellow?

Individuals are admitted to the EnCorps Fellowship who are serious about exploring a career change into teaching. Our program is not for people who just want to volunteer. That being said, if an EnCorps Fellow makes a good faith effort at seriously exploring a career change into teaching and decides that it’s not for them, EnCorps will expect them to continue volunteering as a tutor or guest teacher for a total of two years, access EnCorps resources, and participate in EnCorps community activities.

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 2-5 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 formal professional development events each year — Summer Residential Institute (SRI) typically in June and Fall and Spring Institutes. In addition, EnCorps offers online webinars and in-person professional learning communities. 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 the benefits of being an EnCorps Fellow.

Pre-credential Tutoring and/or Guest Teaching

What is EnCorps pre-credential volunteering (tutoring and guest teaching)?

All EnCorps Fellows will engage in volunteer pre-service for at least one semester of 2-5 hours per week when beginning the EnCorps program as a way to explore education and gain field experience working with students.

Tutoring: Most Fellows begin their journey into teaching as a volunteer and observer in local EnCorps partner schools. Tutoring occurs in after school and/or enrichment programs or in a classroom. Fellows spend 2-5 hours per week facilitating student learning and gaining valuable experience in schools and with students. This exploration into teaching provides Fellows with time to take any required exams and consider whether full time teaching is the right pathway.
Guest Teaching: During this phase, Fellows are paired with a mentor teacher and spend at least 2-5 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 Fellows to gain valuable classroom experience and to make connections with schools that may eventually be looking to hire STEM teachers.

How do I get matched with a school site for tutoring or guest teaching?

After attending a New Fellow orientation in either December or June, you will receive a “menu” of EnCorps school and non-profit partners. These partners have been carefully vetted and have signed agreements with EnCorps. You will then have the opportunity to rank your site preferences in order and let your Program Director know any special considerations, like work schedule, geography, grade level or subject preferences. We do our very best to match you with a convenient school site; in almost all cases, Fellows’ preferences are honored.

Where are the placement sites located?

Program Directors can send accepted Fellows the menu of schools and non-profit partners for your region at request. Our partners are spread geographically in the regions we serve for the convenience of our Fellows.

We have received requests to be placed in schools not on our “menu.” EnCorps is only able to place our Fellows in schools with whom we have a written agreement. If Fellows have other schools in mind, we can see about forming an agreement with those schools, but please be aware that this process can take several months.

What do I need to do in order to start volunteering?

1. Attend an EnCorps New Fellow Orientation. You will only be placed at one of our partner sites after you’ve been oriented internally. At the New Fellow Orientation, you’ll tell your Program Director which school placement sites you’re interested in.
2. Obtain a Tuberculosis test from your doctor or healthcare provider. You’ll need to do this only once; you can use it with multiple sites, including the school you get hired to teach at. The cost of a TB test is usually $30-50, although your insurance may subsidize this. You are encouraged to obtain your TB test right away upon acceptance to EnCorps.
3. Undergo a Livescan fingerprint background check. Your placement site will have more specific instructions about this for you. Livescan results cannot be shared between agencies no matter how many times you’ve done them, so you will need to do a Livescan for each new school or district you volunteer or work for. The cost of Livescan varies from $20 – $90 and schools will only sometimes cover this cost.

Teaching

How soon can I get hired as a teacher?

EnCorps recommends that Fellows take time before their first teaching job to invest in their own training and preparation as much as possible.

Mid-year Start: If you accept an offer from EnCorps between July-December you are eligible to complete your New Fellow Orientation in December and begin pre-credential volunteering in January (or you may wait until June).

Standard Mid-year Start: You may simultaneously apply for credential programs in order to start in the summer or fall. Your single subject credential coursework or residency program will happen the following school year, and then you will be eligible to teach about 1.5 years after beginning EnCorps’ program.

Accelerated Mid-year Start: You may complete a Career and Technical Education credential in spring or summer, or begin a single subject intern program in the spring or summer and complete it over the course of 1-2 years while teaching. Both these pathways allow you to begin paid teaching within 6-9 months of beginning EnCorps’ program.

School-year Start: If you accept an offer from EnCorps between January-May you will complete your New Fellow Orientation in June and begin pre-credential volunteering in August and will spend 2 semesters (1 school year) in the pre-credential phase.

Standard School-year Start: You will apply for credential programs in the fall or winter after you are accepted. Your single subject credential coursework or residency program will happen the school year after your year of pre-credential service and then you will be eligible to teach about 2.5 years after beginning EnCorps’ program.

Accelerated School-year Start: You may complete a Career and Technical Education credential while simultaneously engaging in your pre-credential service for one school year, or begin a single subject intern program about 9 months after beginning EnCorps’ program. Both these pathways allow you to begin paid teaching within 15 months of beginning EnCorps’ program.

Can I become a substitute teacher?

Yes, becoming a substitute teacher can be a great stepping stone for earning your single subject credential and getting into teaching full time. It is also a way to earn an income in the transition to teaching. Many substitute teachers are called to sub on a daily basis. Although substitute teaching is not a formal part of EnCorps’ program, we can provide some information to Fellows who are interested.

To become a substitute teacher, you will need to pass the CBEST (basic skills test), undergo fingerprinting, and submit an application to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) for your 30-day substitute teaching permit. This allows you to substitute in any California public school. Once this is completed and processed, you will be able to apply to any number of districts and charter school networks. Your Program Director can help get you connected to substitute teach in some of our partner schools as well. This PDF from the CTC describes the application process: https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/leaflets/cl505p.pdf?sfvrsn=c6f0a57_0

How can I earn an income and be part of EnCorps?

The EnCorps program is designed so that the first 1-2 semesters of being an EnCorps Fellow can be completed while still working full time in STEM industry or another role. For these first two semesters, Fellows are expected to spend 2-5 hours per week at a school site tutoring or guest teaching. Many Fellows also pursue substitute teaching if they are not working in industry so that they may produce an income while making the transition (see above). It is also possible to earn your teaching credential on a part-time basis or online, allowing you to work during this time as well.

Credentialing

What is the difference between a California career and technical education (CTE) and single subject teaching credential?

California Career and Technical Education (CTE) Certification
CTE programs are shorter and less expensive than single subject programs and are typically online or evenings/weekends. They do not include student teaching or classroom-based experience and take into account your 3+ years of professional STEM experience. There are online CTE programs that start on a rolling basis year-round, so you will be able to complete a CTE credential in the fall, winter, spring or summer. The CTE credential program can typically be completed over the course of about 4-6 months. Generally speaking, CTE credential programs can be completed alongside work obligations.

EnCorps, in general, does not consider the CTE credential program on its own sufficient training for the rigors of full time teaching, even though it may give you a certification. CTE credential programs do not include a student teaching component, and therefore all EnCorps Fellows who pursue CTE credentials only will be expected to participate in EnCorps Guest Teaching.

A CTE credential enables you to teach specialized elective courses that correspond to industry sectors. You are not able to teach core or traditional classes (like geometry or chemistry) with a CTE credential. Not all schools have CTE programs, so it’s important to know whether schools you are interested in working with have this option for students.

Single Subject Credentials
Traditional Programs – This standard course of teacher preparation provides coursework and then student teaching. This option is largely based in a university or college, and includes a student teaching component. Full time, usually 1 academic year, or part time, usually 1.5-2 academic years.

Residency Programs – Modeled after a medical residency, a teaching residency program focuses on the “clinical experience” as opposed to coursework. This gives teaching students or “residents” hands on experience in classrooms and the chance to implement ideas in a classroom setting, while receiving feedback and support from expert practitioners. Residents simultaneously take graduate level classes. Residency programs are less common and more selective. Residency programs usually result in a guaranteed job offer, and are full time commitments that usually last one academic year.

Intern Programs – An internship program allows individuals to work in the classroom as a paid “teacher of record” while simultaneously completing a credential program. Interns are working teachers and paid a salary by the school/district for their teaching time, but they are still uncredentialed. Interns need to complete credential requirements during evenings and weekends, on top of their teaching duties.This coursework takes 1-2 years to complete, and interns do not have the benefit of receiving training and practice before starting. It’s also important to note that by law, schools must give hiring priority to any candidate who has a credential over an intern, so interns are usually hired later in the hiring season.