Education Specialist Preparation in California

California has a two-tiered credentialing system for Education Specialists. Preliminary programs prepare candidates to obtain an initial teaching credential through successful completion of required coursework, fieldwork, and a performance demonstration of their knowledge, skills, and abilities. The second tier of preparation is a two-year job-embedded individualized induction program that is focused on extensive support and mentoring to new teachers in their first and second year of teaching. Click here for information on becoming a teacher in California. 

New! Important Information on Re-enrolling Candidates into Preliminary Education Specialist programs 

Information Available About July 1, 2022, Implementation Date for the New Education Specialist Credential Structure, Program Standards and TPEs (2018)
The Commission has released four (4) Credential Information Alerts and one (1) Coded Correspondence related to the implementation of the new Education Specialist credential structure, program standards and TPEs:

Coded Correspondence 22-03: Implementation of the New Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials
CIA 22-06: Expanded Education Specialist Instruction Credential Authorization Assignments
CIA 22-07: Special Education Bridge Authorizations
CIA 22-08: Education Specialist Recommendations via CTC Online
CIA 22-09: Special Education Requirement Updates for Out of State and Out of Country Applicants

Commission Memorandum – This guidance document addresses concerns that existing Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) credential holders are not currently authorized to teacher Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten, and the impact this may have on their employment. Current ECSE educators can work with their employers for a Special Education Limited Assignment Permit (SELAP) which would allow teaching in TK/K until the bridge authorization process can be completed.

Become a CalTPA Assessor for the new Education Specialist CalTPA for Mild to Moderate Support Needs(MMSN) and Extensive Support Needs(ESN)
Current California educators and faculty who help prepare aspiring Education Specialist teachers. Apply to score the Education Specialist CalTPA for MMSN or ESN submissions here. Assessor training and calibration will be required of all new assessors in the Spring of each program year.

Office Hours for Preliminary Education Specialist Programs
Join us on the second Mondays of each month from 10am to 11am for some collaborative conversations with your colleagues. Click Here to join the meeting at 10am. 

Preliminary Education Specialist Program Information

Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential Program Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations updated January 2023.
All programs were required to implement these standards beginning July 1, 2022.

Added Authorizations in Special Education Program Standards (including APE and ECSE)

Other Related Services Program Standards (Audiology, O&M, and SLP)

Mild to Moderate and Extensive Support Needs Authorizations and Definitions

The Clinical Practice Guidance document for all Preliminary Education Specialist credential programs provides specific information related to fieldwork and clinical practice requirements in the new program standards, which take effect summer/fall 2022.

Letter to Employers of Education Specialist Interns (updated May 26, 2023)
This letter provides information to employing agencies about the requirements of the new standards with respect to fieldwork, clinical practice and implementation of a teaching performance assessment for candidates seeking a special education credential in California.

Summary of the New Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials
This document provides information on the actions taken by the Commission to improve educator preparation for students with disabilities. 


Course matrices for all Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials 

Education Specialist TPEs Comparison Charts – updated April 2021
As programs begin to look at transitioning to the new Mild to Moderate and Extensive Support Needs Teaching Performance Expectations, comparison charts are now available. These charts show the relation to the Universal (General Education) TPEs, and highlight those TPEs that are unique for an Education Specialist.

Commission Resources for Clearing Level I Credentials

Education Specialist Out-of-State Credentials and Clearing Level I Education Specialist Credentials
This program sponsor alert clarifies the process for special education teachers with out-of-state credentials and the process to earn a clear teaching credential.

Clear Education Specialist Content for Induction Programs-California Prepared Level I Candidates
This document provides the language of the Level II standards which specify the content that each Level I candidate completing a Commission approved Induction program must address.

Level II Content for Candidates Prepared in California Who Hold a Level I Credential

    Additional Resources for Education Specialist Credential Programs

    Recorded Webinar for all Preliminary Education Specialist Program Sponsors
    PSD Staff hosted a webinar on Monday, October 26th related to the transition to the new Education Specialist standards and TPEs. Topics covered included clinical practice expectations, support and changes for intern programs, updates on the Special Education CalTPA, and feedback on the plans to transition that were submitted. To access the recorded webinar please click here. The power point presentation and question and answer document that accompanies the presentation can be located below.


    Webinar Q and A

    Education Specialist Teaching and Other Related Services Credential Program Standards

    The prior Standards for the preliminary teaching credentials, added authorizations, clear teaching credential, and Other Related Services credential programs are provided in this document.

    Special Education Teaching and Services Credentials, Added Authorizations in Special Education, and Limited Assignment Permits for California Prepared Teachers FAQs
    This document provides responses to questions asked about special education teaching credentials and their accompanying authorizations for California Prepared teachers.

    Special Education Induction FAQs
    Responses to commonly asked questions about teachers clearing their education specialist credentials through Teacher Induction programs.

    Submitting a Proposal for a New Educator Preparation Program
    When an institution elects to offer a new, or updated a credential program a program proposal must be submitted to the Commission.

    The California Dyslexia Guidelines were published in 2017 and provide a wealth of information about dyslexia. Topics include the neuroscience of dyslexia, the characteristics and socioemotional factors of dyslexia, and information regarding preparation for educators. To access this complete resource, please visit the California Department of Education’s website to find the dyslexia guidelines.

    Foundational Commission Resources for Education Specialist Credential Programs        

    Archived Materials      

    Comparability of Coursework for Sponsors of Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs
    In response to AB 2226 (Chap. 233, Stats. 2008), the Commission convened a workgroup for the purpose of providing guidance to programs in determining the comparability of coursework and/or field experience completed in other Commission-accredited programs to requirements of special education programs.

    Updated July 09, 2024