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For Special Education Credential Requirements

Virtual Advisor The Virtual Advisor can answer your questions about requirements
and direct you to
the right resources.



To teach special education in California, you must have the Education Specialist Instruction Credential. It authorizes the holder to teach in the area of specialization and in a variety of settings listed on the credential. School districts may also look for other related qualifications and experience.

California has a two-level special education teaching credential.

To obtain a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction CredentialIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site, valid for five-years, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Obtain a baccalaureate degree
  2. Satisfy the basic skills requirement
  3. Satisfy the subject-matter competence requirement
  4. Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)
  5. Complete a course or pass an examination on the U.S. Constitution
  6. Complete a Commission-approved Education Specialist Credential program and be recommended by the program sponsor.

To obtain a Clear Education Specialist Instruction CredentialIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site, valid for two-years, a Commission-approved Induction Program specifically approved for special education must be completed.

Intern ProgramsIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site (An alternative path to a preliminary credential)
If you have a baccalaureate degree and have met certain other requirements, you may be eligible for an Intern program while you complete the necessary coursework and are employed as a special education teacher at the same time.

Find the Right Preparation ProgramIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site identifies Commission-approved teaching preparation programs for all credentials including Intern programs.

Add another credential or authorization
If you already have a special education credential, you may want to add an authorizationIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site. If you already have a general education California teaching credential, you may want to add another credential or authorizationIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site.

Credentialed or licensed in another state or country? Go to the Make and Follow Your Plan section.

Learn more. Read the brochure, Teach Special EdIcon indicating a URL to an external Web site.