Education Specialist Instruction Credential
Requirements for Individuals Prepared Outside of the United States

California has a two-tier credential structure. A five-year Level I credential is the first document issued after an individual meets basic credential requirements. The Level II or Clear credential is issued once all credential requirements have been completed.

The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes the holder to teach in the area of specialization listed
on the credential in the following settings:

  • Resource rooms or services
  • Special education settings
  • General education settings
  • Special schools
  • Home/hospital settings
  • State hospitals
  • Development centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies
  • Alternative and non-traditional instructional public school settings other than classroom

Areas of Specialization

  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities (M/M)
    Includes specific learning disabilities; mild to moderate intellectual disabilities; attention deficit and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K-12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

  • Moderate/Severe Disabilities (M/S)
    Includes autism; deaf-blindness; moderate to severe intellectual disabilities; multiple disabilities; serious emotional disturbance; and authorizes service in grades K–12 and in classes organized primarily for adults through age 22.

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH)
    Includes deafness; hearing impairment; deaf-blindness; and authorizes service to individuals ages birth through 22.

  • Visual Impairments (VI)
    Includes blindness; visual impairment; deaf-blindness; and authorizes service to individuals ages birth through 22.

  • Physical and Health Impairments (PHI)
    Includes orthopedic impairment; other health impairment; multiple disabilities; traumatic brain injury; and authorizes service to individuals ages birth through 22.

  • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
    Includes the mild/moderate and moderate/severe disabilities listed above, and authorizes service to children ages birth to prekindergarten only.

An added authorization in Early Childhood Special Education is also available to individuals who hold a preliminary, Level I, professional clear, clear, Level II, or life special education teaching credential, and who complete a program though a Commission-approved program sponsor.

The ECSE Added Authorization authorizes the holder to provide special education services in the area of mild/moderate or moderate/severe disabilities for students ages birth to pre-K as determined by the local level special education assessment.

The credential process in California is made up of a sequence of requirements, which the teacher is given up to five years to complete. Teachers receiving the Level I credential are making a commitment to complete the process and obtain the Level II or Clear credential. The Level I credential is issued for a maximum of five years. If requirements for the Level II or Clear credential are not completed before the expiration of the credential, the holder will be unable to teach in California’s public schools with that credential until those requirements are met and the document renewed.

Individuals who have completed their teacher preparation program outside of the United States and have also earned a comparable teaching credential in special education issued by a US state other than California should refer to Commission leaflet CL-808, entitled Education Specialist Instruction Credential – Requirements for Individuals Prepared Out-of-State.

Your Application Packet

Individuals who have completed their professional preparation program outside of the United States may apply directly to the Commission for their initial credential by submitting an application packet by mail consisting of all of the following:

  1. Completed application (form 41-4), and, if not previously submitted to the Commission, a completed Live Scan receipt (form 41-LS). Persons residing outside the United States must submit two fingerprint cards in lieu of a Live Scan receipt. If submitting fingerprint cards, current fingerprint processing fees must accompany the application packet in addition to the application processing fee. Fingerprint cards may be ordered by sending a request by email to OutofStateFPs@ctc.ca.gov.

  2. Application processing fee.

  3. Foreign transcript evaluation (see Commission leaflet CL-635, entitled Foreign Transcript Evaluation for additional information).

Requirements for the Five-Year Level I Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Individuals who have completed a teacher preparation program outside of the United States may apply directly to the Commission for their initial credential by submitting an application packet consisting of all of the following:

  1. Foreign transcript evaluation showing completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree from a college or university that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited institution in the United States.

  2. Foreign transcript evaluation showing completion of a professional preparation program in special education, consisting of a minimum of 24 semester units, including completion of a supervised field study, taken at a college or university that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited college or university in the United States.

  3. Issued or eligible for a comparable teaching credential earned in a country other than the United States. The credential does not have to be valid at the time of application.
If the program completed outside the United States was only in “Special Education,” or in a specialty area that does not align with a California specialty area, the Commission may issue a Level I credential to an individual based on a generic program in special education completed outside the United States in one of these specialty areas: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, or Early Childhood Special Education.
However, the individual will need to complete the equivalent of a Commission-approved Preliminary program in the specialty area in addition to all other renewal requirements listed on the document to earn a Level II or Clear credential (see Terms and Definitions).

Requirements for the Level II or Clear Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Individuals must satisfy all of the following requirements:

  1. Possess the California Level I Education Specialist Instruction Credential.

  2. Satisfy the basic skills requirement if not met prior to the issue date of the Level I credential or within the first year of the issue date of the Level I credential. See Commission leaflet CL-667, entitled Basic Skills Requirement for additional information.

  3. Developing English Language Skills including Reading – individuals must satisfy one of the following requirements:
    1. Complete a course in Developing English Language Skills, including Reading, that is research-based and includes the study of phonemic awareness, spelling patterns, early intervention techniques, ongoing diagnostic techniques, and a strong literature, language, and comprehension component (Submit a copy of the course description for evaluation purposes.)
    2. Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA). Visit the Commission’s website or the Evaluation Systems, Group of Pearson website for more information.

  4. U.S. Constitution – individuals must satisfy one of the following requirements:
    1. Complete a course (at least two semester units or three quarter units) in the Provisions and Principles of the U. S. Constitution from a regionally accredited college or university. Submit a copy of the course description for evaluation purposes.
    2. Pass an examination in the Provisions and Principles of the U.S. Constitution given by a regionally accredited college or university.

  5. Subject Matter Competence – individuals must satisfy one of the following requirements:
    1. Achieve a passing score on the appropriate subject matter examination(s). (Information regarding the appropriate subject matter examination[s], including passing scores and registration, can be found in Verifying Subject Matter Competence by Examination leaflets CL-674M [Multiple Subject] and CL-674S [Single Subject] which may be obtained by visiting the Commission’s website.
    2. Complete a Commission-approved subject-matter program or its equivalent and obtain verification of completion from the authorized person in the education department of a California college or university with an approved program.
    3. For specialized science subjects only, individuals may show passage the appropriate subject matter examinations or provide verification of completion of subject-matter course work from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.[1]
      Note [1]:The last administration of the examinations in the Specialized Sciences was July 11, 2015. Applicants will have five years during which to use passing examination scores toward obtaining California certification.
      The last date to verify subject-matter equivalency by coursework for any of the Specialized Sciences was July 11, 2015. See Coded Correspondence 14-09.
      Verification of Subject-Matter Competence is not required for the area of Early Childhood Special Education.
    4. Successful completion of applicable coursework verified by a Commission-approved program of professional preparation. Coursework must be completed at a regionally-accredited institution (or one that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited institution in the United States) and addresses each of the domains of the applicable subject matter requirements adopted by the Commission.
    5. Complete a degree major from a regionally-accredited institution (or one that has been deemed to be equivalent to a regionally-accredited institution in the United States) in one of the statutory subjects available for a Single Subject Credential or in liberal studies.
    6. Successful completion through a combination of coursework and examination options that meet or exceed the domains of the subject matter requirements adopted by the Commission. Such mixing of options may only be done by candidates enrolled in a Commission-approved preparation program.

  6. Complete at least two semester units in non-special education pedagogy related to teaching basic academic skills and content areas.

  7. Supervised field experience in non-special education. Individuals must satisfy one of the following requirements:
    1. Complete at least one semester unit of supervised field experience with non-special education students, verified by transcript.
    2. Complete 45 clock hours with non-special education students, verified by the employing agency.

  8. Complete a course in Computer Education, including instruction in general and specialized skills, in the use of computers in educational settings.

  9. Complete a course in Health Education, including, but not limited to, nutrition; the physiological and sociological effects of alcohol, narcotic and drug abuse, and the use of tobacco (This requirement must include verification of training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] that covers infant, child, and adult CPR skills. Submit a copy of the course description and CPR card for evaluation purposes.)

  10. Complete one of the following:
    1. a Level II Education Specialist Program at a California college or university with a Commission-approved program, including all of the following:
      • An individual induction plan designed in collaboration with the credential holder's employer and a California college or university with a Commission-approved program in the area of specialization listed on the Level I Credential.
      • A minimum of two years of successful experience in a public school, nonpublic school, or private school of equivalent status, while holding the Level I Education Specialist Instruction Credential, verified by the employing agency.
      • Obtain the formal recommendation for the credential by the college or university through which the induction plan was completed.
    2. a Clear Education Specialist Induction Program offered by a Commission-approved program sponsor, including a formal recommendation for the credential from the program sponsor.

  11. Completion of coursework equivalent to that of a Commission-approved Preliminary program in the specialty area (if necessary).
Note: Dates were established in regulations to move to the new preliminary and clear teaching credential programs and to allow candidates to finish their current programs. The last date to enroll a candidate in a Level II program was December 31, 2014, and candidates must finish the Level II program by January 31, 2019.

Terms and Definitions

Level I Credential Issued Based on Completion of a Generic Program
The Level I Education Specialist Program includes concentration on the specific specialty area in which special education services will be provided. Individuals who complete generic special education programs outside of the United States may choose one of the following specialty areas in which to apply for the five-year Level I credential: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, or Early Childhood Special Education.

Individuals who complete generic special education programs outside of the United States must contact a Commission-approved Education Specialist program for an evaluation to determine if the program is equivalent to the Preliminary program content, or if any additional categorical (specialty area) course work is required. For more information, check the Commission-approved programs webpage.

Upon satisfying all equivalency requirements, the program sponsor must provide the teachers with letters verifying Preliminary program equivalency. The Preliminary program equivalency letters must be submitted to the Level II/special education clear induction program sponsors that will recommend the teachers for their Level II or clear credentials. See Coded Correspondence 13-07 for more information.


Reference:
California Education Code, Sections 44227, 44274.1, and 44275.4, and Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 80048.3.1 - 80048.6.

CL-872  August, 2017
Updated October 11, 2021