Cultural Proficiency Certificate Program

Learn about the Cultural Proficiency Certificate Program offered by SDSU's Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement.

The certificate is a professional development opportunity developed by San Diego State University’s Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement/ CPIE and presented through the College of Extended Studies.

As the student population in our schools becomes increasingly diverse, many teachers need professional development to build cultural competencies, the skills and awareness related to issues such as:

  • Culture
  • Language
  • Race
  • Ethnicity

Being culturally competent means having the ability to recognize and respond to the diversity of the world around you and to make better decisions based on that understanding. As educators, this topic has become vital in fostering a positive environment in the classroom and ensuring equity of opportunity for students of different backgrounds.

The Professional Certificate in Cultural Competence for Educators is designed for those looking to develop culturally relevant teaching strategies to address issues related to teaching in diverse school settings.

Complete this certificate program in only one year!


Explore online courses exclusively for educators.


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Certificate Program GoalsGroup of young kids smiling and looking up at camera

  • Develop and/or strengthen your skills, knowledge, and dispositions that lead to positive interactions with, and respect for students of different backgrounds
  • Develop culturally relevant teaching strategies that link learners’ prior knowledge, skills, interests, and backgrounds to challenging academic standards that students need to learn
  • Learn ways of engaging all students through rigorous and authentic learning experiences that prepare them for college, career, and life
  • Learn ways to develop supportive relationships with families and connections between their students’ home and the school
  • Learn ways to ensure equity of opportunity and achievement by providing personalized support services that support success for all students

Montage of SDSU students of color marching in a MLK Jr. Day parade holding banners, and 2 students looking at a laptop.


The certificate requires successful completion of 4 courses. Complete this certificate program in only 1 year!

Participants will:

  • Explore definitions in diversity and culture
  • Identify awareness of personal stages of cultural competence
  • Practice skills in cross-cultural communication
  • Participate in practical learning experiences for skill development in culturally competent strategies and application
  • Develop an action plan towards becoming culturally competent, both individually and in their classroom

This foundation course will enhance participants' abilities to understand, evaluate, and provide culturally sensitive and competent services to members of diverse groups. This course gives participants the opportunity to reflect upon their own cultural development and to be more sensitive to others.

Participants will engage in an experiential model of learning to include lecture, demonstration, case studies, and individual and small group interaction, to stimulate participants' engagement and practical learning.

Culture, cultural diversity and multiculturalism constitute some of the most significant social issues in America today.

Oriented around the core concept of culture and cultural groups, this 2-part course is designed to introduce the participant to the basic concepts of culture and cultural diversity, and develop an awareness and appreciation for the full range of diversity in the American (U.S.) culture.

This course will present a historical overview of the oppression experienced by each of the four major U.S. minority groups, to demonstrate the connection between historical oppression and current experiences of inequity and injustice.

We’ll also explore the impact of social institutions on identity and cultural patterns of minority groups, individual and family needs, and the social institutions and agencies attempting to meet these needs.

This capstone course critically assesses issues related to teaching in culturally and linguistically diverse school settings, and will enable participants to integrate their acquired knowledge of cultural competency to the programs within their schools.

Participants will present their professional identity, cultural self-awareness, equitable educational practices, and cultural competence policies they have incorporated into their classrooms through the development of a Reflective Learning Portfolio.

Course Schedule/ Class Meeting Times


  • $564 per 8-week course
  • Total certificate program cost: $2256

Employer Billing

Select "3rd Party Billing" option at checkout if you would like to have your employer invoiced. You will be asked to provide:

  • Employer's contact information
  • Documentation showing employer has agreed to pay for course (such as a purchase order or tuition assistance form)

Books and Workbooks

View publications and training materials including textbooks, workbooks, and student success training books.


Pre-register or register online through SDSU Extended Studies. For assistance, call or email College of Extended Studies Registration at:


Dr. Tanis Starck

Dr. Tanis King Starck
Assistant Dean, Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement