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.

Webinar for all Preliminary Education Specialist Program Sponsors
PSD staff will host a webinar on Monday, October 26th from 10-11:30am related to the transition to the new Education Specialist standards and TPEs. Topics covered will include clinical practice expectations, support and changes for intern programs, updates on the Special Education CalTPA, and important feedback on the plans to transition that were submitted. If you cannot attend, the webinar will be recorded for future viewing. Please click here for the link to the webinar.

New! The Master Teacher Survey has been sent to all Commission-approved Preliminary Education Specialist teacher preparation programs. Please ensure that the individuals who complete the survey have worked with one or more student teachers from your preparation program during the student teacher’s final student teaching placement during the previous academic year (2019-20). This survey is not intended for mentors working with intern teachers. Master teachers only need to complete one survey. Thank you for providing us with this important feedback!!

Information for Transitioning to New Standards (2018)

PSA 19-07

Plan to Transition – Due January 1, 2020-June 1, 2020 (Updated October 2019)
Due to COVID-19, the Commission understands that some institutions may not be able to complete the internal discussions to be able to submit by June 1, 2020, so the due date has been extended. In that event, please make sure the Plan to Transition is received by the Commission by October 1, 2020.  The Commission is accepting, and will review, transition documents from any institution that wishes to submit prior to October 1, 2020.

Plan for Implementation – Due October 31, 2021 (Updated November 2019)

These course matrices are provided for transition planning and implementation. Indigo institutions submitting for Program Review in 2021 will use the matrices below aligned to the new standards and TPEs. 

Preliminary Education Specialist Teaching Credential Program Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations (2018)
All programs are required to meet these standards by the Summer and Fall of 2022 

Webinar for all Preliminary Education Specialist Programs – Transitioning to New Standards and TPEs
This two-part webinar covers the information shared at the recent technical assistance meetings on transitioning to the new Preliminary Education Specialist program standards and Teaching Performance Expectations (implementation date: summer/fall 2022), including the Plan to Transition and the Plan for Implementation. If you were unable to attend those meetings, this webinar will give you an overview of the information that was presented. Related questions can be sent to

Part 1: Intro – Standard

Part 2: Standard 5c – End

Commission Resources for Education Specialist Credential Programs

New! Letter to Employers of Education Specialist Interns
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. 

Education Specialist Teaching and Other Related Services Credential Program Standards
The current Standards and Preconditions for the preliminary teaching credentials, added authorizations, clear teaching credential, and Other Related Services credential programs are provided in this document.

New Education Specialist TPEs Comparison Charts
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

Important Dates for Level II Programs 

Program sponsors offering the Level II Education Specialist Programs should be aware of the following dates that are included in Title 5 Regulations:

  • December 31, 2014 - Last date to enroll candidates into the Level II Education Specialist Program
  • January 31, 2019 - The date candidates must finish the Level II program

Additional Resources for Education Specialist Credential Programs

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.

Transcript Equivalency Review for Out-of-State and Out-of-Country Level I Education Specialist Credential Holders
This document provides a list of institutions that have notified the Commission that they are willing to do the review of an out of state/country prepared special educator.

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.

Special Education Credentialing Reform Webcast - March 13, 2009

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 October 22, 2020