For Special Education

Pathways to a Teaching Credential

View a chart that illustrates the different pathways to a teaching credential.

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 listed on the credential in the following settings: special day classes, special schools, home/hospital settings, correctional facilities, nonpublic schools and agencies, and resource rooms. School districts may also look for other related qualifications and experience.

A new option for obtaining an Education Specialist Instruction Credential has recently been created, and teacher preparation programs will be transitioning from the current "Level I" and "Level II" model to the new "Preliminary" and "Clear" credential model. The last date candidates may enroll in a Level I program is December 31, 2011. A chart new browser window icon is available that compares the two options.

To obtain a Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Obtain Bachelor's Degree or higher from a regionally accredited university
  2. Meet the Basic Skils Requirement new browser window icon
  3. Demonstrate subject-matter competency with the CSET Test new browser window icon or an approved college or university program new browser window icon
  4. Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) test new browser window icon (applicants who hold a valid California teaching credential other than internship credentials, internship certificates, and emergency permits are exempt from this requirement)
  5. Complete an accredited Education Specialist Credential program new browser window icon in an education specialist category

To obtain a Clear Education Specialist Instruction Credential, an individualized induction plan must be completed.

If you have a BA/BS degree and have met other requirements, you may be eligible for an internship program new browser window icon while you complete the coursework necessary for a credential.

If you already have a California teaching credential, you may want to add another credential or authorization new browser window icon. If you already have a special education credential, you may want to add an authorization. new browser window icon

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

Interested in locating Education Specialist Instruction Credential programs that provide financial support? Create your own list. new browser window icon (Make sure you select "OSEP-funded Program" at the bottom of the page.)

Learn more about Special Education.