GWC Partners w/ CSULB, Westminster High for Program To Expedite Teaching Degree & Credential

Newly designed pathway will put new teachers in the classroom up to two years sooner than traditional route

Huntington Beach, Calif. — Golden West College has partnered with California State University, Long Beach and Westminster High School to offer students who are interested in becoming teachers a path that will take them from high school to a bachelor’s degree plus teaching credential two years sooner than the traditional route.  

Students who participate in the program will have an opportunity to complete up to 21 units of coursework at Westminster High School through GWC’s dual enrollment program. After high school graduation, students will transfer to Golden West to complete their associate’s degree, which should take approximately 18 months. They will then transition to CSULB where they will complete both their bachelor’s degree and Education Specialist Credential in connection with the Integrated Teacher Preparation Programs (ITEP) Grant.  

“The benefit to the students who participate in this program is that they will be able to complete both their Bachelor’s degree and their Education Specialist Credential approximately 3.5 years after high school graduation if they follow this pathway,” says  

Education Instructor Doreen Fioretto. “This means students will be able to enter the workforce approximately two years sooner than the traditional pathway.”  

The new pathway comes at a time when California is experiencing a significant shortage of teachers, with a 16 percent decline of new teacher credentials issued by the state last year. According to EdSource, this equates to roughly 3,000 fewer teachers “in California school districts already struggling to fill teaching positions” (source).  

“The country has experienced a three-decade-long shortage of qualified teachers to educate children in the K-12 system,” says Dean Alex Miranda. “At GWC, Elementary Education is a popular major. Hence, the College is investing in the enhancement of the Education Pathway to address an identified need in our state and national workforce.”  

Miranda also points out that students in Golden West College’s education program have the opportunity to earn paraprofessional certificates before they complete their degrees, giving them a chance to work in the education field before becoming credentialed teachers.  

“Early exposure to the teaching field is critical to ensure that students can make informed decisions about future career pathways,” says Dean Miranda. “Students benefit from early entry into the education field as paraprofessionals, as they progress toward their ultimate goal of becoming a teacher.”  

Eventually, Golden West hopes to expand this teaching credential pathway to include other high schools and universities, as well as other majors. “These partnerships work well and support student success at all levels,” says Dean Miranda.