With this Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, you may choose a focus which best suits your unique student population.

Mild/Moderate Disabilities

Students with mild/moderate disabilities may be learners who have difficulties imposing structure in learning tasks. They may display delays in intellectual development, specific learning disabilities and/or serious emotional disturbances. This credential authorizes the teaching of individuals who experience mild-to-moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disability, other health impairments and serious emotional disturbances. Serves ages 5 to 22

Moderate/Severe Disabilities

Students with moderate/severe disabilities require specialized support to address unique learning needs resulting from a range of intellectual, behavioral, emotional, communication, sensory and/or motor impairments. This credential authorizes the teaching of individuals with moderate to severe autism, intellectual disability, hearing and/or vision impaired, serious emotional disturbances and multiple disabilities. Serves ages 5 to 22.

Special Education Early Childhood

Specialists with this credential may provide educational services to children from birth through pre-kindergarten who are eligible for early intervention, special education and/or related services under federal and state laws. Serves ages infant to 5.  

Foundational Coursework Option

Candidates may be admitted to the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential Program and enroll in Foundational Coursework (SPEC 601 & SPEC 602) without the completion of the CBEST or CSET. In order to proceed into the official cohort start (Fall) candidates must meet the minimum testing requirements of successful completion of the CBEST and a minimum of one section of the Multiple Subject CSET. CSET is not required for candidates seeking only the Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential.


  • Cohort model
  • Coursework offered in online, blended and traditional models
  • Autism authorization imbedded in each credential
  • Option to complete an education specialist credential and multiple subjects credential concurrently
  • Option to complete Master of Arts in Special Education with 12 additional units

Program director

Lisa Keith
Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

Assistant Professor of Special Education

Sarah Johnson

Program Director of Moderate/Severe & Physical Health Impairments

Celsa Shewan
Celsa Shewan

Assistant Professor of Special Education Program Director of Early Childhood


Megan Chaney Faculty
Megan Chaney

Assistant Professor of Special Education. Mild/Moderate Program Director

Donna Martin

Special Education Program Director - Visalia Center

Admission requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Educational Plan form
  • Three graduate reference forms
  • Proctored writing sample
  • Official transcript of bachelor degree
  • Verification of negative TB test (Within last 12 months)
  • Official CBEST results
  • Official CSET results
  • One subtest passed for admission
  • All subtests passed prior to third term (Not required for early childhood special education candidates)
  • Valid California credential or Certificate of Clearance
  • Addendum to Graduate Application: Special Education