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Credential Programs

Program Overview

The Special Education Program at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) offers a graduate course of study that leads to a California Educational Specialist Credential and/or a Master of Science Degree. Students may choose to specialize in one of the following three authorization areas: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, or Early Childhood Special Education.

Before being fully admitted to the Special Education Programs, prospective students must attend an Information Session either at the San Bernardino campus or the Palm Desert campus. Reservations are not required for Information Sessions on the San Bernardino campus. If you have questions, please contact us at (909) 537-5621. Reservations are required for the Palm Desert campus so please contact us at (760) 341-2883 ext. 78145. There is a $6 fee for parking on both campuses. Please check out the section on  Credential Program Options.

What You Need to Know to Become a Special Education Teacher

* RICA is not required admissions procedures at CSUSB.

An Education Specialist Credential is required to teach students with special needs in the state of California. The College of Education at CSUSB offers the Education Specialist Credential with three different authorizations. An authorization designates the population of students with disabilities that the Special Educator is authorized to teach. The special education program at CSUSB offers programs in Mild to Moderate Disabilities, Moderate to Severe Disabilities, and Early Childhood Special Education. The Mild to Moderate and Moderate to Severe Disabilities authorizations certify the teacher to serve children with special needs in grades kindergarten through 12 (or up to age 22). The Early Childhood authorization certifies the teacher to serve children with special needs between birth and pre‐kindergarten and their families.

There are two levels of the Education Specialist teaching credential for all authorizations. The first level is called the Education Specialist Preliminary Credential (2009 Standards). As of January 1, 2011, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) approved the new Education Specialist Preliminary Credential structure at CSUSB. This credential is valid for a period of five years. To obtain a California Education Specialist Preliminary Credential, State law requires individuals to complete or demonstrate the following:

  • Baccalaureate Degree (B.A. or B.S.)
  • California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST)
  • Subject Matter Competency (as of July 1, 2004—passage of CSET)
  • Certificate of Clearance
  • Teacher Preparation Program
  • U.S. Constitution
  • Reading Instruction Competency Assessment (RICA) *

The second level is called the Education Specialist Clear Credential. This credential certifies that the holder is a professional teacher who is qualified to teach children with special needs in schools. This credential must be renewed every five years on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) website. The holder of the Education Specialist Preliminary Credential may apply for an Education Specialist Clear Credential upon successful completion of a Commission‐approved induction program.