There is always a need for special education teachers, and this preliminary education specialist teaching credential degree program can prepare you to become a special education specialist in K-12 classrooms, as well as within other instructional settings geared for children and adults up to age 22. With a special education teacher certification, you will teach life skills and basic literacy to your students and help them achieve their highest potentials. In this role you'll serve as a vital ally to your students with mild-to-moderate disabilities and their families.
The education specialist credential program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and takes you through coursework and instruction styles, preparing you to work effectively as a special education teacher helping diverse special needs students. Most teachers with a special education teaching credential instruct students at early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary level.
During your time in the special education credential program, you'll participate in one of two tracks, student-teaching or intern program, to gain the experience you need to be a leader in the classroom from graduation and forward.
Make a Meaningful Difference
In the special education program you'll learn to teach students with disabilities and help them with classroom challenges, showing them how to navigate along the educational path and develop life skills that will benefit them for years to come.
Learn About Admissions Requirements
Get to Know Our Diverse Faculty
Your Path to the Classroom
No matter who we are, we all learn a little differently. That’s why you’ll find two routes to success in the online special education credential program. Making the most of our partnerships with schools around the area, we’ll support you in networking and finding the ideal placement for your future goals.
Student Teaching Track
During this track in your teacher education, prospective educators or teacher candidates will complete two, eight-week terms of unpaid student teaching placement under the guidance of a mentor teacher. This path is optimal for studying teaching methods and preparing you for classroom application before you even start your career as a full-time teacher-of-record.
Standard Intern Teaching
This option is perfect for those coming into the special education program with classroom experience but is open to all candidates, regardless of experience level. The very first class you'll take provides you with the tools and knowledge to set you up for success in your internship.
The Master Plan
Often, it’s the small leaps that lead to the most growth. Take the leap by enrolling in our online master of arts in education with teaching emphasis program.
How it Works: As a student in the preliminary online education specialist instruction credential teaching program, it only takes two more courses to earn your MAE in teaching. That’s because your special education coursework can be applied to your master’s degree. Even better, the MAE courses are all online.
Why it Works: A master's degree helps teacher candidates and future educators develop expertise in teaching and theory that you can apply in the classroom. And when you have a master's degree and teacher credentialing certificate, you also have more career options.
Links and Downloads
Frequently Asked Questions
What scholarship and financial aid options are available to me?
Private and public scholarships can help you meet the cost of your education, and Alliant offers institutional scholarships for many of our students. Learn more about these scholarship opportunities here. Additional financial aid is available for those who qualify in the form of loans, grants, federal work study, and military aid. Learn more in our Financial Options Guide.
Does completion of this program prepare me for my licensure exams?
Upon completion of this program you will have to complete two different licensure exams here in California—the CSET and the RICA. These are standard examinations that all special education teachers have to pass, regardless of the program they have graduated from. Alliant’s credential and authorization preparation programs are approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Successful completion of the program results in a preliminary teaching credential recommendation to the CTC.
When does the program start?
The credential is an eight-week term program and is open for enrollment during each of those respective enrollment periods. You can find a copy of our eight-week term academic calendar here.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The preliminary special education teaching credential is a 27-credit program and takes a minimum of one year to complete, over five terms.
“In my experience with Alliant it was very clear from the start that there was a commitment to education being the great equalizer—and so, I feel like I got tools through my learning at Alliant that are allowing me to become a better teacher and reach out to everyone in my classrooms.”
At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.
CSOE offers a variety of degrees, certificates, and credentials in education that prepare you to make a lasting difference through teaching, counseling, leadership, advocacy, administration, management, and community work. Whether you’re looking for an online degree program or an in-person learning experience for your higher education, we are here to guide you every step of the way.