Education Specialist Credential Program

Students throw a bean bag through a target during an adaptive physical education program.

The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential program, with authorizations for Mild to Moderate Support Needs or Extensive Support Needs, prepares future teachers to serve children, youth, and adults who have special learning or emotional needs. The education specialist credential may be used in K-12 resource rooms, special day classes, or alternative settings. Education Specialists function in public schools or private settings as instructors and as consultants to teachers and to families. As a credential candidate, you may choose to pursue either the Mild to Moderate Support Needs or Extensive Support Needs Authorization.

Subject matter preparation requirements are governed by state legislative action and approval of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Requirements may change between catalogs. Please consult with your department credential advisor for current information.

Types of Credentials

Mild to Moderate Support Needs

The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential: Mild to Moderate Support Needs authorizes teachers to instruct individuals in grades K-12 and adults who have:

  • specific learning disabilities
  • mild/moderate intellectual disabilities
  • Autism
  • emotional disturbance
  • orthopedic impairment 
  • other health impairments

Extensive Support Needs

The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential: Extensive Support Needs authorizes teachers to instruct individuals in grades K-12 and adults who have:

  • Autism
  • severe intellectual disabilities
  • deaf-blindness
  • emotional disturbance
  • extensive support needs
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • multiple disabilities

Licensure and Credentialing

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., Social Security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. 

The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states' educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state's requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 §CFR 668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).