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Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Special Education Credential) in Mild-Moderate Disabilities

Make a Difference as a Special Education Teacher

The online Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Mild-Moderate Disabilities) program prepares you to become a special education teacher in California in K-12 classrooms, as well as within other instructional settings geared for children and adults up to age 22. As a graduate of the program, you are specifically equipped to serve students with mild to moderate disabilities, including autism, various learning disabilities, emotional disturbances and other health impairments.

Successful completion of the program results in a preliminary teaching credential recommendation to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). The Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential is valid for 5 years, after which it must be elevated to a Clear Credential. Upon completion of this California teaching credential program, students should be able to meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Make subject matter comprehensible to all students
  • Assess student learning
  • Engage and support all students in learning
  • Plan instruction and design learning experiences
  • Create and maintain effective environments for learning
  • Develop as a professional educator
  • Address matters of multiculturalism and diversity in education

Included in this online teaching credential program are the state-required authorization in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD) and compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

2 Pathways to Earning Your Special Education Credential

The Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential is available through two pathways: Student Teaching and Intern Teaching.

Alliant’s Education Specialist Credential program is now offered in a fully online format. Although all coursework and assignments are completed online, you won’t have to miss out on face-to-face interaction with experienced faculty. Each student in this online teaching credential program will be paired with a field supervisor who will provide mentorship and support through classroom observations and one-on-one coaching sessions.

Please note: Candidates are responsible for finding and securing an approved Intern Teaching position; private schools are not state-eligible to host intern teachers.

Earn Your Master's with Only Two Additional Online Courses

Students in the Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential program have the option to dually enroll in our online Master of Arts in Education in Teaching program. Many of the courses in our California teaching credential programs count toward completion of the online Master’s in Education, meaning you will only need two additional online courses beyond the credential to earn your Master’s.

When to Apply

Admission is granted each Fall and Spring, and we offer rolling admissions

We encourage all prospective students to apply as early as possible to achieve the following: secure program position and desired start date; make sure all required testing may be completed in time; and receive full consideration for all possible scholarships and financial aid opportunities.

Admission Requirements

  • Application - Apply now online
  • Admissions interview with program director
  • Two letters of recommendation from supervisors, academic instructors, volunteer coordinators or other professional and/or academic relationships                 
  • 2-4 page personal essay including autobiographical statement, professional aspirations, accomplishments and any relevant experience in teaching or working with children and adolescents, and/or within K-12 schools
  • Official undergraduate transcripts from a regionally-accredited university (degrees in progress are acceptable) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 (GPA exemptions may be granted)
  • California Basic Educational Skills Test™ (CBEST®)
  • $65 application fee 
  • International students: Please review Alliant's additional admission requirements for international applicants

Intern Teaching Requirements

In addition to the Hufstedler School of Education's general admission requirements, Education Specialist Intern Teaching credential candidates must comply with several additional requirements mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) before beginning any intern teaching position. These requirements are meant to both guarantee your own success in the classroom and students' safety. 

Please note that these are not requirements for entry into the preliminary teaching credential program - only to participate in the intern teaching portion of the program. Alliant staff will help guide you through meeting these requirements, which include:

  • CCTC credential application (41-4 form)
  • CCTC Certificate of Clearance
  • US Constitution competency
  • Offer of Employment letter
  • Signed Statement of Release form
  • 160 hours of pre-service fulfilled through Alliant's 6-week, online course offered immediately prior to each Fall and Spring term. You do not need to apply to or enroll in Alliant's credentialing programs to complete our pre-service course.
  • Verification of passing the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) prior to beginning intern teaching position. Most special education teachers must pass the CSET Multiple Subject exam unless intending to teach a specific subject area, in which case the CSET exams for that subject area must be passed.

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