Bilingual Authorization in Spanish Program FAQs

How much will tuition be?

Click here for more information about tuition and fees.

Will the courses be online or in-person?

All courses will be taught online.

I'm planning to do the MA in Teaching program. Will the courses conflict?

The courses have been scheduled so they do not conflict with MA in Teaching courses. In addition, you can use some of the Bilingual Authorization courses toward your MA in Teaching. The MA in Teaching requires a 3 unit elective, and you can use 3 units of the Bilingual Authorization courses for that elective requirement.

Do I need to speak Spanish to enroll?

Yes, you do need to be proficient in Spanish at an Intermediate to High level, which means you can communicate effectively in most everyday situations both orally and in writing. It doesn't mean your Spanish needs to be perfect, and the courses will provide space to practice and develop your Spanish. To enroll in the program, you'll take an online language placement exam called the Avant Place. It takes about 40 minutes, and you can take it anytime that is convenient for you. After you submit an admissions form, program director Dr. Laura Alvarez will set up a link for you to take the exam. If you took Spanish courses at Saint Mary's, you have probably already taken the exam, so she will coordinate with the Spanish department to access your scores.

What is the difference between a Bilingual Authorization and a BCLAD?

The Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) is what the Bilingual Authorization used to be called. Several years ago the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) changed the name to Bilingual Authorization, but it is the same thing — an added authorization to teach in bilingual settings. Many job postings and school/district personnel still use the term BCLAD.

Who is the instructor?

Program director Dr. Laura Alvarez will be teaching all three courses. She has 20 years' experience in education as a teacher, instructional coach, teacher educator, and researcher. She has spent most of her career as an elementary and middle school teacher in bilingual/dual-immersion programs in the Oakland Unified School District.

Is there a field placement requirement? How will I do that if I'm teaching full-time?

When you take EDUC 302 (Teacher Inquiry in Spanish Bilingual Classrooms), you will need to design and teach three lessons in Spanish over the course of the semester. If you're teaching in a bilingual program, you'll teach those lessons in your own class. If you're not teaching in a bilingual program, we'll talk through options for how you can teach those lessons, such as pulling a small group of your own students during the school day or after school or going into a colleague's class to teach the lessons.

Can I get a job in a bilingual classroom without the Bilingual Authorization or BCLAD?

There is such a demand for bilingual teachers that you can often get hired without yet having the Bilingual Authorization or BCLAD. The district will apply for a waiver or permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on your behalf, which will give you a set amount of time (e.g., a year) to earn the authorization. Program director Dr. Laura Alvarez can provide you with a letter verifying that you are enrolled in the program and will finish in Spring.

I haven’t finished all of my preliminary credential requirements or I just finished my credential program but my credential is still being processed by CTC. Can I enroll in the program?

Yes, you can still enroll in Bilingual Authorization while you are finishing your credential or while your credential is in process. We won’t be able to apply for your Bilingual Authorization to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) until you have your preliminary credential, so we’ll want to make sure you finish your credential requirements before or at the same time that you finish the Bilingual Authorization program.

If I do the Bilingual Authorization program, do I have to take the Spanish CSETs that are required for the Bilingual Authorization?

No. There are three ways to get a Bilingual Authorization via a California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)-approved Bilingual Authorization program, like ours:

  • By passing three California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) exams: CSET World Language Spanish Subtests III, IV, and V.
  • With a combination of CSETs and program coursework.

If you complete our program, you will not need to take any CSETs (aside from the CSETs required for your multiple or single subject credential).

I have taken and passed some of the Bilingual Authorization CSETs. Can I complete my Bilingual Authorization through your program? Do I still need to complete all the courses?

You can complete your Bilingual Authorization through our program if you have passed one or two of the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) World Language Spanish subtests. Depending on which CSETs you’ve passed, you will be waived from different admissions and course requirements:

  • If you passed CSET World Language Spanish III: You will be waived from taking the Avant for admissions.
  • If you passed CSET World Language Spanish subtests III and V: You will be waived from taking the Avant for admissions AND you will be waived from EDUC 303. You will take EDUC 301 and 302 to complete the program. Both are offered Spring 2022.
  • If you passed CSET World Language Spanish subtest IV: You are waived from EDUC 301 and 302. You will need to take the Avant for admissions and take EDUC 303 to complete your Bilingual Authorization. It is offered Fall 2021 and Summer 2022.


Can I get financial aid for the program?

If you are doing only the Bilingual Authorization program, you do not qualify for federal financial aid because it is a certificate program, rather than a degree or credential program and does not consist of enough units to qualify. You can still fill out the FAFSA to be eligible for Kalmanovitz School of Education scholarships. You can also speak with the financial aid office about loans. If you do the BILA program in conjunction with an MA in Teaching, you can qualify for federal financial aid. 

Many districts give yearly Bilingual Authorization/BCLAD stipends ranging from $1500–6000/year and the additional units can help you move over on the salary scale. Once you earn your Bilingual Authorization, it can pay for itself within 1–2 years, depending on your district.

What are the courses and when would I take them?

Please visit the Bilingual Authorization in Spanish website, scroll down, and click “Curriculum and Course Schedule.”

I don’t yet have my teaching credential?

The Bilingual Authorization in Spanish is an added authorization, which means you need to have a preliminary or clear credential or be enrolled in a credential program. You can add the Bilingual Authorization to a Multiple Subject, Single Subject, or Education Specialist credential depending on the population of students you would like to work with. There is a need for bilingual teachers at all grade levels and in special education as well as general education.