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. All teaching credentials in California are obtained through a two-level process, beginning with the preliminary credential and resulting in the clear credential. School districts may also look for other related qualifications and experience.
A preliminary credential is valid for only five years. The following requirements must be met to obtain the preliminary credential:
To obtain a clear credential, you must complete one of the following options before the preliminary credential expires
An intern program is an alternative path to a preliminary credential.
If you have a baccalaureate degree and have met other requirements, you may be eligible for an intern program where you complete the necessary coursework and are employed as a special education teacher at the same time. Our Find the Right Preparation Program page identifies California specific information you should know prior to selecting an intern teacher preparation program.
If you already have a special education credential, you may want to add an authorization. If you already have a general education California teaching credential, you may want to add another credential or authorization.
If you are already credentialed in another state or country, you should visit the My Career Plan section.
Learn more. Read our Teach Special Education brochure for more information.