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Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

School of Education

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 emotional disturbances. This credential authorizes the teaching of individuals who experience mild-to-moderate learning disabilities, intellectual disability, other health impairments and 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, emotional disturbances and multiple disabilities. Serves ages 5 to 22.

Early Childhood Special Education

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.

View our State Professional Licensing and Certificate Disclosure

Program Highlights

  • Coursework offered in online, blended and traditional models
  • Autism authorization embedded 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 13 additional units


A special education candidate may also obtain a multiple subjects credential concurrently with an education specialist credential. Candidates who are interested in completing a multiple subjects credential concurrently, must seek academic advice from the program or site director of teacher education and special education.

Additional Requirements Courses (9 Units)

  • EDUC 609 - Final Student Teaching: Multiple Subject Special Education Credits 1
  • EDUC 637 - Curriculum Perspectives and Design: Multiple Subjects Credits 3
  • EDUC 645 - Curriculum Design and Implementation: Multiple Subject Credits 3
  • EDUC 647 - Teaching Elementary Science Credits 2


Complete and pass all teacher performance assessments as required under the multiple subjects credential program.

Internship Program

All FPU preliminary candidates who are employed as special education teachers may seek qualification for an internship credential. An application may or may not be accepted due to qualifications and/or suitability of the candidate. This credential may be applied for and obtained following the successful completion of 120 hours of specific pre-service coursework, qualifying experiences, and employer agreement. All criteria are determined satisfactory at the discretion and evaluation of the program or site director. Intern candidates are considered promising educators who demonstrate the innate qualities of a distinguished teacher and educational leader.

Internship program participation may lead to the opportunity for the preliminary candidate to teach with the same status and benefits of a fully credentialed teacher for up to two years. The program or site director is able to serve both as an advocate for the candidate and an administrative partner to the employer. These advantages allow for an enhanced degree of communication between parties and permit the university faculty to monitor the mentorship structure provided by the employer.

The university provides candidates with special training seminars and activities specifically designed to assist them in their new responsibilities. An internship is an expanded opportunity to augment communication with the university faculty, peers and the employer. Interns maintain a vigorous program of study. New interns are required to enroll for SPEC 690 - Intern Support  each term enrolled as a preliminary credential candidate and an intern under contract with a district. Intern Support is in addition to the candidate's regular coursework and practicum experience.

An intern candidate must meet all of the requirements of admissions, demonstrate maturity and a professional manner, maintain grades of A or B in all coursework and progress on their academic plan as designed. Preliminary coursework is expected to be completed within the provisions of the two- year internship credential.


  1. Acceptance to classified standing by FPU School of Education.
  2. Satisfactory completion of CBEST/CSETs (the CSET is not required for ECSE).
  3. Completion of political science course or constitution exam.
  4. Maintain adherence to the prescribed FPU education plan.
  5. Grades of A or B in all coursework.
  6. Enroll and successfully complete Intern Support each term (SPEC 690 )

Electives Courses

Candidates may enroll in elective courses as advised by the respective Program Director.

  • SED 714 - Augmentative Communications and Technology Credits 2
  • SED 734 - Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Credits 3
  • SED 736 - Psychological, Sociological and Vocational Implications of Physical and Health Impairments Credits 3
  • SED 750 - Advanced Learning Theory and Brain Research Credits 3
  • SED 760 - Collaboration, Consultation, and Inclusion 3 Units
  • SED 775 - Educating Learners with Autism Credits 3
  • SED 776 - Assessment to Intervention for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder Credits 3

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 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