Education Specialist Credential Program Overview
There is a vital need for special education teachers in California, and this Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential Degree Program prepares 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. In this role you’ll serve as a vital ally to your students with mild-to-moderate disabilities and their families.
Faculty and Admissions
Get the information you need in order to start your program, see the latest admission requirements and get to know our diverse faculty with the links below.
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 with diverse special needs students.
During your time in the Special Education Credential program, you’ll participate in one of two tracks, student-teaching or internship, to gain the experience you need to be a leader in the classroom from graduation and forward.
Become an Agent of Change
In the 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.
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, prospective educators 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
The intern teaching option lets you pursue your teaching certification while earning an income, meaning you assume immediate and full teaching responsibility and management of the classroom. This option works best for those coming into the program with previous classroom experience, and has other requirements.
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 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
Find the Program That’s Right for You
By using our Teacher Preparation Program Finder and answering a few questions, you’ll be guided towards the best teaching credential or certificate program for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the career outlook for graduates of the Preliminary Special Education Teaching Credential program?
The career prospects for those working toward becoming a special education teacher are strong, as the nation’s population continues to rise at a relatively steady rate. Primary and secondary education enrollment in special education programs has increased slightly in the past couple of years, and demand for special education services and teachers should rise as children with disabilities are increasingly being identified earlier and enrolled into special education programs. Ultimately, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an 8% growth rate from 2016 to 2026—or, slightly more than 33,000 positions—there is reason to be optimistic about the future of special education in the U.S.
What kind of job can I expect to get with this degree?
Graduates of the program will often end up as a special educator, teaching at the elementary-, middle-, and high-school levels—largely dependent on the age range you choose to teach. Other career options include becoming an adult and secondary educator, specialized child care, special education classroom materials creator, policy maker, and a professional tutor.
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 International University 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.
Degree Campus Locations
The Special Education Teaching Credential Program is only offered as an online program. Explore our online Special Education Credential programs below.
At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve the lives of people in diverse cultures and communities around the world. Our Vision is an inclusive world empowered by Alliant alumni.
At CSOE, we believe that education is the great equalizer and are committed to preparing and empowering the next generation of educational professionals.