Traditional Pathway

Program Overview

Candidates admitted to the Education Specialist Credential Program for Spring 2022 or prior click here to view program course requirements.

Beginning in Fall 2022 the Education Specialist Credential Program is comprised of 10 courses (2 pre-requisites and 8 core courses) plus a semester of student teaching for a total of 39 units.  The program has both authorizations in mild/moderate support needs (MMSN) and/or extensive support needs (ESN). Candidates choose which authorization they would like to pursue at the time of application to the program.  It is possible to pursue both authorizations with one added course and an added 8 weeks of student teaching.  Preliminary courses prepare individuals to perform the duties required of entry-level special education teaching positions. Candidates in the Education Specialist Credential Program will earn a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential at the completion of the program.  

The Education Specialist Credential Program prepares candidates to teach individuals in the areas of Mild/Moderate Support Needs and Extensive Support Needs.  The program's goals are to assist candidates in becoming:

  • Effective and caring teachers;
  • Partners with parents and others in the development of high quality educational program;
  • Life long learners engaged in program development reflective of best practices in special education.

The program themes of Collaboration, Diversity, Literacy, Technology, and Transition emphasize current issues of importance to the field of special education, and are addressed across the curriculum.


Prerequisites (6 units) 

Note: Candidates must have both pre-requisite courses completed or in progress to submit a program application. 

  • EDSP 410 - Inclusive and Equitable Practices in Special Education (3 units) (25 hours clinical practice)
  • EDSP 454 - Academic Language Development and Inclusive Instruction for English Language Learners (3 units) (25 hours clinical practice)

Core Courses (24 units) 

Students must be admitted to the Credential Program in order to take these courses:

  • UDCP 400 - Foundations of Teaching & Learning in Inclusive Diverse Settings (2 units)
  • UDCP 401 - Positive Behavior Supports (3 Units) (15 hours clinical practice)
  • EDEL 452 - Teaching Reading, K-8 (3 units) or (10 hours clinical practice)
    EDSE 457* - Reading/Writing in Secondary Schools (3units) (10 hours clinical practice)
  • EDSP 518 - Integrated Math Instruction Across Content Areas (3 units)
  • EDSP 534 - Collaboration and Transition in Special Education (3 units) 
  • EDSP 558 - Literacy Supports for Students with Diverse Abilities (4 units) (130 hours clinical practice)
  • EDSP 564 - Assessment and Evaluation of Students with Disabilities (3 units)
  • EDSP 577 - Instructional Methods and Strategies for Individuals with Mild/Moderate Support Needs (3 units)
    - OR -
    EDSP 578 - Instructional Methods and Strategies for Individuals with Extensive Support Needs (3 units)

* This course does not prepare candidates for the RICA exam. Passage of RICA is a requirement for the Preliminary Credential.

Program Policy requires that students maintain a 3.0 GPA in Core Courses with no grade lower than a "C." A grade of "D" or "F" will result in the candidate being placed on probation and given two academic semesters to retake the course to receive a C or higher.  Candidates not able to complete remediation within two academic semesters will be disqualified from the program. 

Student Teaching (9 units) 

Candidates must meet state and program conditions for advancement to student teaching.  Candidates must submit a Student Teaching Application by the appropriate deadline the semester prior to enrolling in the courses listed below.  

  • EDSP 587 - Student Teaching: MMSN (8 units)
  • EDSP 589 - Student Teaching Seminar: Education Specialist (1 unit)


  • EDSP 588 - Student Teaching: ESN (8 units)
  • EDSP 589 - Student Teaching Seminar: Education Specialist (1 unit)

Students pursuing dual MMSN/ESN authorization must complete an additional 8 weeks of Student Teaching by enrolling in EDSP 587A/588A (4 units), the student teaching seminar (if needed), and EDSP 577/578 (3 units). Candidates are encourages to complete their ESN student teaching first for purposes of the TPA. 


Candidates in the Education Specialist Credential Program are required to complete 600 hours of clinical practice over the arc of the program. These hours are complete through a combination of fieldwork observations and experiences along with reflection activities. Clinical Fieldwork for the Education Specialist Credential Program is divided into three phases:   

  • Clinical 1: Candidates in the pre-requisite courses complete 50 hours of clinical 1 fieldwork.  
  • Clinical 2: Once admitted into the program, candidates will complete 150 hours of pre-student teaching/clinical 2 fieldwork.
  • Clinical 3: Student Teaching requires a minimum of 400 hours.

Suggested Course Sequence

The Education Specialist Credential Program is a self-paced program that may be completed either part time or full time. Once candidates are admitted into the program they are required to attend Mandatory Advisement where they will create their individualized Advisement Plan with the faculty advisor and receive permits for EDSP and UDCP core courses. Below is a course sequence:

Semester 1 - Pre-Requisites (6 units)

  • EDSP 410
  • EDSP 454

Semester 2 - Core Courses (8 units)

  • UDCP 400
  • EDEL 452 or EDSE 457
  • EDSP 564

Semester 3 - Core Courses (13 units)

  • EDSP 534
  • EDSP 518
  • EDSP 558
  • UDCP 401

Semester 4 - Core Courses & Student Teaching (12 units)

  • EDSP 577/578
  • EDSP 587/588
  • EDSP 589

Candidates wishing to enroll in core courses prior to admission to the Education Specialist Credential Program must meet the following requirements a minimum of one week prior to classes beginning:

  • Meet the Basic Skills Requirement
  • Meet Subject Matter Competency
  • Have a valid CTC Clearance
  • Have a valid TB Test
  • Complete a faculty interview
  • Submit a Petition to take Program Courses Prior to Admission
  • Have approval from the Program Coordinator

Candidates that think they have completed a similar course at another institution that meets a credential course requirement, may file a Request for Course Equivalency.  The Education Specialist Credential Program accepts up to 9 units of course equivalencies from other institutions. To file a Course Equivalency Request, complete the form and attach 1) a copy of your unofficial transcript from the institution that you took the course at, 2) a copy of the course catalog description and 3) a copy of the syllabi if available. Submit your Course Equivalency Request via DocuSign. 

Candidates must meet the following admission criteria to be eligible for full admission to the Education Specialist Credential Program:

  • Submission of a complete application packet prior to the appropriate deadline 
  • G.P.A. of at least 2.75 for the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units, or 2.67 overall 
  • Completion and passage of oral interview with program faculty 
  • Verification of meeting the Basic Skills Requirement
  • Current TB test verification 
  • Provide verification of subject-matter competence by passing the appropriate subject matter examination(s), by degree, proof of completion of a CTC approved subject matter preparation program or through a combination of coursework and CSET exam.
  • Successful completion of the prerequisite courses with a C or better including 50 hours of clinical practice.

For complete Admission and Application requirements and procedures click on Post-Bac Admission in the navigation menu on the left.