I get a lot of questions from coaches outside of California who want to come here to teach and coach. Let’s face it: California is a pretty darn great place to live! The weather can’t be beat. The taxes, and cost of living, that’s a different story. But remember, the weather can’t be beat!
BECOMING A TEACHER IN CALIFORNIA
There are many steps to becoming a coach and teacher here in California. One of the first steps, if you’re a teacher, is figuring out how your teaching credential will work here in California. If I was from outside the state looking to come in California, I would make sure to have that step taken care of before you start applying to schools. It can be a bit of a process. Folks don’t want to waste a lot of time evaluating a candidate from out of state who isn’t cleared to teach in the state. So, get that squared away first. That way when you apply you can have your plan ready to go and let the district know what your plan is and how you’re going to get your credential here in California.
The website that you need to go to in order to figure this out is https://www.ctc.ca.gov/. This is the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The direct link for out of state candidates is here. There are so many different variations and ways to make your credential valid in California, that each person needs to go here to figure that out for themselves. I have heard it can be a difficult process. The word on the street is that if you get a credential in California, you can easily transfer it to any state in the Union pretty easily. But coming in can be a little more difficult. (We love our red tape here in CA!)
HOW ABOUT THE PAY?
People ask about salaries often. It is ALL over the board. For instance, let’s look at a 7 year teacher in a few different areas of California.
7 Years of certificated teaching experience + Bachelor’s degree only
San Diego Unified = $57,616.79
San Bernardino Unified = $58,737
Fresno Unified = $60,773.86
Hesperia Unified = $66,254
Fullerton Unified = $68,543
San Dieguito Union High School District = $76,248
7 Year of certificated teaching experience + Bachelor’s degree + 60 units
San Diego Unified = $63,246.72
Fresno Unified = $65,909.60
San Bernardino Unified = $72,890
Hesperia Unified = $73,811
Fullerton Unified = $79,953
San Dieguito Union High School District = 96,738
Good luck figuring out the Los Angeles pay scale, it is here.
THE SALARY SCALE – A MAJOR ISSUE MOST PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND
Almost every public school district will have a cap on how many years that you can bring in on the salary scale. I recently had a conversation with a gentlemen from the Texas Football Coaches Association leadership while at the USA Football Conference. He was blown away at this. Districts have contracts with the teaching union, which all falls under the California Teachers’ Union.
It seems like 7 is the magic number for many districts. Meaning that you can only bring in 7 years of your experience on the pay scale. This means that you will start on year 8 on the pay scale. Even if you’ve been teaching for 20 years, you will go on year 8. This is one of the reasons there is a lot of turnover in California right now. It has a direct influence on how coaches move around.
For instance, school loses a great Head Football Coach. Their district only allows 5 years on the scale. This means that their pool of candidates is not going to be very large. Most great Head Coach candidates worth their salt have been teaching and coaching for more than 5 years. So, you’re not going to leave year 15 on the pay scale in your district to go to that district that only accepts 5 years. So, their candidate pool is a bunch of young coaches, or coaches not in the building. Not that “walk on coaches” are all bad. But the track record for a walk on coach (a non teacher) building a strong program and sticking around for a long time is not very good.
This is a MAJOR issue, and one that many people aren’t very well versed in. A lot of people think “Well we can negotiate that.” And in some districts, you might be able to. But in most districts, there is absolutely NO room for negotiating this. There just isn’t. It is a written contract with the union that has gone through collective bargaining, etc.
I know of a district down in the San Diego area that allows just THREE years to come in. Usually, the nicer the district is, and the better the area is, the less years that you can bring in with you. This is because when these districts hire a teacher, they will have plenty of candidates to choose from. It’s all based on the law of supply and demand. Vice versa, a district in the “rougher” areas or less desirable places to live with will give more years. Some districts will bring in ALL of your years! That’s tremendous.
Stipends vary a whole lot from one district to the next. They are all over the place. There is not a set amount for California. Most districts will pay a set stipend per head coach and assistant coach. Many districts have a cap on how many assistants they pay. So, either you volunteer, split up a stipend among coaches, and or get compensated by the boosters.
I know of a school who pays their coordinators $10,000. Some of that is from the school and then a good chunk is from the Booster Club.
Head Coach stipends from the district range from about $3,500 to $7,000. Assistant Coach stipends from the district range from $1,800 – $3,500. Again, some programs have healthy Booster Club programs that will “kick in” over and above the district stipend. Or they will give you some money for the spring and or summer as well.
This is only about public stipends. Privates, that’s a whole different ball of wax. Small schools have small stipends, large privates have larger stipends. For the most part. I know of a private school that gives the head coach a pool to split up. So, he has about $20,000-30,000 to split up among his assistants as he sees fit. The next school over, the same size, might pay their assistants $1,500 each. So, privates are all over the board as well.
GETTING YOUR START IN CALIFORNIA
I really think the best way to get to California if you’re coming from outside is becoming an Assistant Coach and teacher first. Reach out to the Head Football Coach at a school where you want to coach. Most schools in California are hurting for on campus coaches. If you find an area you want to coach, and see a teaching spot in that area, reach out to the Head Coach. Let him know that you’re going to apply for a teaching job that you see open at his school. Sometimes, that Coach can go to the Principal, and get you to the front of the line for an interview. And sometimes, it really doesn’t even matter, the school does nothing to help coaches get on campus. Again, that’s all over the board as well. But that’s one of my best suggestions.
I think that you’ll have a much better shot at landing in a system coach job then landing a head-coaching job from out of state I think this forever idea reasons. One of the keys to building a successful program is having a staff but you can put together and being tied into the youth football community in the area. If you’re coming from out of state with you things are difficult to know about. However it’s not to say that it hasn’t happened.
One of the most high-profile jobs here a few years ago was at Helix High School in San Diego. They hired a Coach from Colorado. A school named Harvard-Westlake just recently hired a coach from out of state as well, so it happens. Usually there is some kind of connection between the coach and an administrator, or a key player at the school.
WEBSITES TO HELP YOU FIND A JOB
To find a public school teaching job: Ed Join.
You can also find coaching jobs, by searching “football” on Ed Join.
California high school athletics are governed by the California Interscholastic Federation, known as CIF. The federation is broken down in to ten sections up and down the state.
Each section has their own job board area.
And of course, I’m tracking every Head Football Coach job change in Southern California (Southern Section, LA City Section and San Diego Section) at EightLaces.org/SoCal.
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