Earn an Education Specialist Credential and Make an Impact in a Child’s Life

Becoming a special education teacher will not only change your life, but will allow you to make a positive impact on the lives of countless students.

The Online Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential (Mild-Moderate Disabilities) Program helps prepare you to become a special education teacher in California’s K-12 classrooms and in other instructional settings geared for children through adults up to age 22. As a graduate of the program, you will be armed with the knowledge and skills to serve students with mild to moderate disabilities, including autism, various learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, and other health issues.

Successful completion of our Online Special Education Program results in a preliminary teaching credential recommendation to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential is valid for five years, after which it must be elevated to a Clear Credential.

The special education credential focuses on strengthening your skills in:

  • making subject matter comprehensible to all students
  • assessing student learning
  • engaging and supporting all students in learning
  • planning instruction and designing learning experiences
  • creating and maintaining effective environments for learning
  • developing as a professional educator
  • addressing matters of multiculturalism and diversity in education

Included in the Special Education Online Teaching Credential Program are the state-required authorizations in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development (CLAD).

Two Pathways to Earning Your Special Education Credential

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

  • Student Teaching Option
    Following this path, students complete a 16-week, unpaid student teaching placement in two different grade levels under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
  • Standard Intern Teaching
    The Intern Teaching path is ideal for those wishing to pursue their teaching certification while earning an income. Students complete up to three terms as a paid teacher-of-record at an Alliant-approved school site (a K-12 public or charter school). In addition to the California School of Education’s general admission requirements, to pursue the intern teaching option students must meet the following state requirements*:
  • CTC Certificate of Clearance
  • US Constitution competency
  • Offer of Employment letter
  • Signed Statement of Release form
  • 120 hours of pre-service fulfilled through Alliant’s online course. Students must be enrolled in Alliant’s credential program to enroll in Preservice.
  • Verification of passing the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) prior to beginning an 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.

* Please note that these are not requirements for entry into the preliminary teaching credential program and are only for the intern teaching program. Alliant can help you achieve each of the aforementioned requirements for entry into the education specialist credential program.

Candidates are responsible for finding and securing an approved intern teaching position; private schools are not state-eligible to host intern teachers.

How Online Education Specialist Credentialing Works

While Alliant’s Education Specialist Credential Online Program allows all coursework and assignments to be completed from home, you won’t miss out on valuable 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.

The online education specialist credential is largely asynchronous, allowing you to listen to most lectures and complete most coursework when convenient for you during the week. Other benefits of the online program include customized notifications for class announcements or grades; cloud storage to access your classwork online; and an ePortfolio to display your work to colleagues and even future employers.

Earn Your Master’s with Only Three Additional Online Courses

Students in the Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential Program also have the option to enroll in our Online Master of Arts in Education in Teaching program. Eligible courses in the special education credential count toward completion of the Online Master’s in Education, meaning the master’s may be completed with only three (3) additional online courses beyond the credential curriculum.

When to Apply

We offer a variety of courses every eight weeks. We offer rolling admissions where applicants are reviewed for admission on an on-going basis.

With a variety of courses beginning every eight weeks, we offer on-going, rolling admissions. Applications are reviewed for admission ahead of each eight-week period.

You’re encouraged to apply as early as possible to:

  • secure your program position and prepare for the next available start date
  • make sure all testing requirements are completed in time
  • receive full consideration for all possible scholarships and financial aid opportunities

Please read the following to learn more about admission requirements for our special education credential program.

Ready to Begin a Life-Changing Career as an Education Specialist?

If you want to explore what it takes to earn a special education teaching credential online, how to become a special education teacher, or how to take the next step to become a special education teacher, contact an Alliant admissions counselor today or call 1-866-825-5426.