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.

Become a CalTPA Assessor for the new Education Specialist CalTPA for Mild to Moderate Support Needs(MMSN) and Extensive Support Needs(ESN)
Current California teachers and faculty who help prepare aspiring education specialist teachers. Apply to join the scoring of the field test of the Education Specialist CalTPA for MMSN and ESN submissions that will occur during the Spring of 2022. Complete the application to be a part of this exciting work. New Assessor training and calibration will be offered to assessors.

Field Test for the Education Specialist CalTPA
In fall 2021-spring 2022, the CTC will conduct a field test of the EdSp CalTPA for the Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN) and Extensive Support Needs (ESN) education specialist credential areas of emphasis. All active, accredited MMSN and ESN programs (including those who participated in the pilot study) are encouraged to participate. To indicate your program's interest in participating in the field test, please complete this short survey. Email invitations with the survey link will also be sent to program Deans and Directors. Please submit only one survey per program. Additional information about the EdSp CalTPA field test and what programs/candidates will need to do will be sent to interested programs in early September. If you have additional questions in the interim, please contact or James Webb at

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

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

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 (2020-21). 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)

Mild to Moderate and Extensive Support Needs Authorizations and Definitions

New! 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.

PSA 19-07

PSA 21-03

Plan for Implementation – Due October 31, 2021 (Updated January 2021)
Plan for Implementation submissions must be posted to a website and the URL submitted to An individual Plan for Implementation must be submitted for each Preliminary Education Specialist program offered by your institution. See instructions for more details.  

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) updated April 2021.
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

New 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 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.

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 April 26, 2022