5 Myths about PLNU’s School of Education (and How You Can Start Your Teaching Career)

teacher helping a student

Laura Beth Webb, graduate and professional studies counselor at PLNU, shared some common misconceptions about PLNU’s three-semester School of Education program, as well as some encouraging advice for students considering pursuing a teaching credential. Here are five common myths about becoming a teacher, and Webb’s advice on how to thrive in PLNU’s education programs.

Myth: You have to plan to be an educator from the start. 

Reality: You can pursue teaching anytime with any background.


Many believe an undergraduate degree in education or something similar is required to earn a teaching credential. In California, the primary requirements of the teaching credential are the CBEST and CSET standardized tests, in addition to any bachelor’s degree. Even if teaching was never part of your plan during undergrad, you can still pursue a teaching career — even if you hope to teach a subject separate from your major.

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Another common misconception is that you have to be a certain age to begin your teaching career. In actuality, there’s a large range of age demographics.

According to Webb, most prospective School of Education students fall into three categories. Many are young, fresh out of undergrad and want to start or finish a program. Some are continuing from PLNU’s undergraduate programs, but there are many new students too. Typically, this age group consists of the students who had planned to be involved in teaching and education as a career.

Others are five to 10 years out of their undergraduate education — they thought about teaching but had to circle back through a career transition.

Others are five to 10 years out of their undergraduate education — they thought about teaching but had to circle back through a career transition.

Some students are older, and are coming to education as a second or third career choice. Webb talks to many stay-at-home parents who want to transition into teaching, or people seeking to leave the corporate world for something new.

“So many students that come in say, ‘The idea of teaching has always been there,’” Webb said. “They find themselves wanting to teach in some capacity. It doesn’t need to be a full-time career, but other times that desire is so deep that students just need to make it a full-time career.”

Myth: Being a teacher is a short-term goal. 

Reality: It takes planning and dedication.


Webb sometimes interacts with students who see teaching as a short-term goal, or something to try. In reality, becoming a teacher actually requires a minimum three- to five-year plan.

“Some students say [about teaching], ‘I’ll test it out and see if it’s right for me,’” Webb said. “It really is a longer commitment. You get that preliminary credential and within five years of that credential, you need to clear it. This requires a full-time teaching contract, which can sometimes be difficult.”

Both the single-subject and multiple-subject programs take about one year to complete during fall, spring, and summer semesters. Since the San Diego district doesn’t offer year-round programs, however, prospective educators often can’t observe or teach a classroom during the summer, which may mean those three semesters are inconsecutive.

However, PLNU’s credential program is built so that it can transition into a master’s program (if desired). Not all schools are built that way.

“Students can choose to start a master’s degree that summer,” Webb observed, “and can use that extra time toward their education. That’s a really great option.”

Taking extra courses or working toward a master’s degree not only helps inform a student’s teaching, but can also open up higher-paying opportunities.

Taking extra courses or working toward a master’s degree not only helps inform a student’s teaching, but can also open up higher-paying opportunities.

“Teaching positions’ pay scales are usually determined either by years of service or education units completed,” Webb said. “Often, it’s easier to complete that next degree or that next chunk of units to move up on the pay scale.”

Myth: The standardized teaching credential tests are easy. 

Reality: Studying is still a must.


In California, a teaching credential requires taking the CBEST and CSET exams. The CBEST covers kindergarten through eighth-grade level curriculum, and the CSET is college level.

Webb recognized how some students don’t know what to expect when taking the tests. Even though anyone who has a bachelor’s degree can apply to become a teacher, that doesn’t mean everyone will be equally prepared. Just as the path to becoming a teacher shouldn’t be taken lightly, neither should preparation for the tests. Studying diligently is essential.

“The last standardized test most of them took was probably the ACT or SAT in High school,” Webb observed. “It’s not that easy. A lot of people underestimate these tests. You really have to study and prepare.” Click here to learn about PLNU’s free virtual CBEST prep course, a workshop offered periodically throughout the year.

Myth: Student clinical hours are there just to fulfill requirements. 

Reality: Clinical teaching fosters valuable skills and connections.


In PLNU’s three-semester program, the first two semesters are what Webb calls ‘core content’ — learning everything you need to effectively run your own classroom. This consists of traditional classroom learning as well as fieldwork hours and observation.

The third semester includes clinical practice as a student teacher. In addition to offering crucial experience for aspiring teachers, it can also provide valuable connections for students.

Webb always reminds students that the clinical practice is not just to fulfill a requirement; it’s designed to help you expand your network, decide where you want to work, and build partnerships.

“It’s not just a time to absorb all you can,” Webb said. “It’s similar to an internship. It’s a time to show who you are, and to really put yourself out there, and to use that as a networking opportunity.”

“It’s not just a time to absorb all you can,” Webb said. “It’s similar to an internship. It’s a time to show who you are, and to really put yourself out there, and to use that as a networking opportunity.”

Myth: Teachers stop learning when they start teaching. 

Reality: Learning never ends.


Regardless of how much experience a teacher has in a classroom, the need for learning never stops. The ways a teacher interacts with students, subject matters, and the world around them are constantly changing.

“There’s no end to education,” Webb said. “Education is always changing, the curriculum is always evolving, and every educator is required to be a part of continued education.”

While this might sound daunting, new teachers should take encouragement from knowing that even the most experienced educators still need to learn and adapt to new protocols and ideas. Consequently, there is never a bad time to jump into the world of education.

If you’re interested in continuing your education, take the first steps today by clicking here for an overview about PLNU’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. Or, click here to request more information about PLNU’s graduate programs.


About the Author
Toby Franklin is reader and writer of speculative fiction and comic books. He loves alluring stories, especially if they come from unexpected places. "Mask of the Sentinels," the graphic novel he co-created with his twin brother, is available now on ComiXology.

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