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Early Childhood Preliminary Credential

School of Education

Gain knowledge of both historical and contemporary theoretical, philosophical, legal, and empirical influences’ underlying evidence-based practice in the field of Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education. You will use this knowledge to shape your practice with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, families, administrators, community organizations and agencies.You will also gain skills in:

  • Assessment and evaluation to apply appropriate interventions
  • Understanding of the range of authentic, appropriate, formal and informal assessment
  • Evaluation approaches and strategies
  • The influence of specific disabilities on development and learning

View our State Professional Licensing and Certificate Disclosure

Program Highlights

  • Guaranteed course enrollment within cohort sequence means no wait listing.
  • Courses are held in the evenings and weekends, with coursework taught in online, blended and traditional models.
  • Option to complete Master of Arts in Special Education with additional units.
  • Personalized advising with support by program director and 24-hour response time during the work week.
  • Mentoring provides candidates with customized individualized support during field placements, practicums, and independent teaching experiences.
  • Integration of faith/teaching/learning.
  • Classes are small, allowing for a personalized learning experience
  • Professors are current in the field of education, help problem-solve, and promote a dialogue of issues of practice within your setting.
  • Innovative and researched based.



This authorizes the holder to conduct Educational Assessments related to student's access to the academic core curriculum and progress towards meeting instructional academic goals, and provide instructional and Special Education Support to students from birth through kindergarten who are eligible for early intervention special education and related services, to individuals with a primary disability in specific learning disabilities, mild/moderate intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment, autism, moderate/severe intellectual disabilities, emotional disturbance, and multiple disabilities including developmental delay and a disabling medical condition in services across the continuum of program options available.

Admissions Requirements

  • Three current reference forms
  • Educational plan
  • All other official transcripts from colleges/universities attended
  • Verification of negative TB test (within last 12 months)
  • CBEST results
  • CSET/multiple subject exam results
  • One subset passed for admission (Does not apply to ECSE candidates)
  • Second subset should be passed by the beginning of the second semester
  • All subtests passed by the beginning of the third semester
  • Not required for early childhood special education candidates
  • Copy of valid Certificate of Clearance
  • Addendum to Graduate Application: Education Specialist Credential Program
  • Letter of explanation if GPA is under 3.0
  • Technology recommendation: In order to prepare future teachers to effectively use technology, students are highly encouraged to have access to a laptop for all coursework and class meetings.

Candidates may be admitted to the education specialist credential program in the spring or summer and enroll in Foundational Coursework. Spring and summer Jump Start/Foundational Coursework is SPEC 601 and SPEC 602. Candidates will then proceed into the cohort start in the fall semester. 

Locations Offered

Main Campus Fresno, Visalia

Credential Pathway

Early Childhood Special Education Credential Pathway  

Required Courses (34 minimum units)

  • EDUC 642 - Language and Literacy: Theory and Practice I Credits 4 **
  • EDUC 646 - Language and Literacy: Theory and Practice II Credits 3 **
  • SPEC 601 - Foundations of Special Education and Health Credits 3
  • SPEC 602 - Special Education Laws, Ethics and Inclusion Credits 3
  • SPEC 615 - Curriculum and Technology for Early Childhood Educators Credits 4
  • SPEC 618 - Assessment and Transitions: Early Childhood Special Education Credits 3
  • SPEC 620 - Early Childhood Special Education: Program Design and Development Credits 3
  • SPEC 657 - Comparative Development & Positive Behavior Supports Credits 3
  • SPEC 684 - Special Education and General Education Fieldwork Credits 4
  • SPEC 690 - Intern Support Credits 2 *
  • SPEC 682 - Directed Final Practicum and Seminar Credits 4 or
  • SPEC 692 - Intern Final Practicum and Seminar Credits 4
  • *SPEC 690 is required each term for candidates employed as an independent teacher

  • **Candidates entering the ECSE program with a Clear Multiple or Single Subject credential and an English Learner authorization are not required to enroll in EDUC 642 or EDUC 646

  • Note:

    • ECSE credential program completers who seek to add an Extensive Support Needs (ESN) credential will enroll in SPEC 616 Curriculum & Technology: Extensive Support Needs (4 units), EDUC 643 Math (3 units), SPEC 625 Reading Strategies (2 units), SPEC 609 Assessment & IEP (3 units), and SPEC 693 Final Independent Practicum (4 units) following the completion of the ECSE program.
    • ECSE credential program completers who seek to add a Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN) credential will enroll in SPEC 612 Curriculum & Technology: Mild to Moderate (4 units), EDUC 643 Math (3 units), SPEC 625 Reading Strategies (2 units), SPEC 609 Assessment & IEP (3 units), and SPEC 693 Final Independent Practicum (4 units) following the completion of the ECSE credential program. 
    • ECSE credential program completers who seek to add a Multiple Subject credential will enroll in EDUC 637 Curriculum Perspectives and Design: Multiple Subjects, (3 units) EDUC 645 Curriculum Perspectives and Design: Multiple Subjects (3 units), EDUC 643 Math (3 units), EDUC 609 Final Student Teaching (1 unit) and EDUC 647 Teaching Elementary Science (2 units)  during the summer term following the completion of the ECSE credential program. The CSETs are required. 

Possibilities Await
With an FPU Education

The decision to embark on graduate studies is a big one. Our 40+ graduate programs will equip you to succeed in your career and in your life. You’ll become part of a small community of learners, thrive in a flexible learning environment  and be challenged by a rigorous curriculum. Learn how much further you can go at FPU!  

For more information, contact the campus nearest you, attend an information meeting or ask about a program.

First Steps to Admission

  • Apply online
  • Submit 2 reference forms (Varies based on program of interest)
    These can be filled out by academic or professional acquaintances familiar with your ability to complete graduate-level work. Print the reference form.
  • Include statement of intent.
    You can also provide an addendum explaining your interest in the program, any long-term goals and your experience in the field.
  • Request official transcripts.
    Transcripts must be from accredited institutions to verify your bachelor’s degree. Send transcripts electronically to or mail sealed transcripts to the Registrar’s Office at 1717 S. Chestnut Ave. Fresno, CA 93702.
  • Complete program requirements.
    These requirements are specific to your program of choice. You will be contacted for an interview and additional requirements if applicable.
  • Apply for financial aid.
    You can apply for FAFSA.  Use FPU school code: 001253
  • Schedule an appointment.
    Meet with your Student Financial Services Advisor. You can contact them at 559-453-2041 |

Program Requirements

Note: As a result of COVID-19, admission requirements have temporarily been simplified. Please contact your program representative for more information.

  • Addendum to Graduate Application: Special Education
  • Three graduate reference forms
  • Verification of negative TB test (within last 12 months)
  • Valid California credential or Certificate of Clearance
  • Educational plan form
  • Subject matter testing requirements:
    • Official CBEST results
    • Official CSET results
    • One CSET subtest passed for admission
    • All CSET subtests passed prior to third term (CSET is not required for Early Childhood Special Education candidates)

Cost & Financial Aid

The below listed prices reflect the current and upcoming Fall and Spring semesters and do not include any financial aid. Paying for college can be an overwhelming step in your education journey. We can help you find all the opportunities to reduce your out of pocket costs.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition per Unit Amount
700 Level $730
Teacher Education $730
MBA $785
MSN and LEAD $750
KIN $590
Other Costs Amount
Student services fee (per semester) $60
* Field Placement Fee (charged for both the international and regional trip semesters) $1,500
Tuition per Unit Amount
700 Level $705
Teacher Education $705
MBA $757*
MSN and LEAD $720
KIN $570
Other Costs Amount
Student services fee (per semester) $60
* Field Placement Fee (charged for both the international and regional trip semesters) $1,500

* This is an estimate. Costs subject to change. Please refer to the Catalog for additional fees. Cost of attendance figures are used for budgeting purposes only and represent an estimate of projected tuition and fees for the coming academic year. Actual tuition rates are approved by the Board of Trustees and may vary.

Types of aid

Financial aid can refer to scholarships, grants and loans, which are available to you from the government, the university or outside sources. Aid types vary depending on the type of student you are.

View Graduate Private Scholarships

Career Opportunities

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.

Career Development Happens Here

The staff in our Career Development and Experiential Learning Center are here to help you prepare to enter the working world. Whether your a freshman or an FPU alum, there are a number of resources and trainings offered to help you find the internship and job you’re looking for.

  • Resume writing classes
  • Career assessments, exploration & planning
  • Job search and networking opportunities
  • and much more

Visit the Career Development Center