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

Make a Difference Teaching Special Education Students

The Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Mild-Moderate Disabilities) program prepares you to become a special education teacher 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.

Embedded within the 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.

Successful completion of the program results in a Preliminary teaching credential recommendation to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) that must be elevated to a Clear Credential within five years, as well as the following learning outcomes for the educators we prepare:

  • 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

Teach as an Intern and Earn an Income While Completing Your Credential

The Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential is available only through our Intern Teaching path. The Intern Teaching path is ideal for those wishing to pursue their teaching certification while earning an income as a salaried teacher-of-record at an Alliant-approved site. You will also engage in online coursework, on-ground seminars, and mentoring.

Program Overview

  • 27 total units (credential only)
  • 33 total with optional online Master of Arts in Education with Teaching Emphasis
  • Hybrid program blending online coursework and limited seminar
    • Complete coursework and assignments online
    • Attend two face-to-face seminars per semester while intern teaching
  • Complete two semesters as a salaried teacher-of-record at an Alliant-approved (a K-12 public or charter school) school site
  • Receive mentorship and support through a minimum of four classroom observations and coaching sessions each semester conducted by your designated Alliant field supervisor
  • Please note: Candidates are responsible for finding and securing an approved Intern Teaching position; Private schools are not state-eligible to host intern teachers
  • Approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)

Earn Your Master's with Only Two Additional Online Courses

Candidates for the Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential have the option to dually enroll in our online Master of Arts in Education in Teaching program, providing you with enhanced instruction and expertise in teaching pedagogy and theory to help shape your applied experience. Obtaining your master's also opens up possibilities for increased financial rewards and employment possibilities, including teaching at community colleges or universities. The master’s may be completed with only two additional online courses beyond the credential.

Locations Offered

San Diego | Los Angeles | San Francisco

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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