Education Specialist (Special Education)


Summer Term Final Deadline: May 1st, 2024*

Applications received after the deadline will be evaluated on a space-available basis. We are still accepting applications for Summer 2024. 

*For HNU Students: Contact our admissions team at to learn more about transfer assistance*


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12 - Month Program Duration (part-time option available)
  • Sequence of 37 units; designed to help you grow and succeed. Classes begin in Summer Term
On-Campus Environment
  • Meets in-person 3–5 times a week, late afternoon/evening classes
Small Class Sizes
  • 12-20 learners per cohort
  • Cohort members in the program form a learning community

    Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master of Education in Special Education

    Getting your Education Specialist credential is a great first step toward a rewarding teaching career. Building upon your success in this program, you can go on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master’s of Education (MEd) in Special Education. Both degrees require taking 12 additional units and completing a thesis or capstone project. 

    The program offers you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge of student learning, as well as to deepen your understanding of contemporary issues in education.





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      Our special education credential program is one of the most well respected ost well-respected in the educational community, and our students emerge as highly-qualified educators with the ability to teach in public and private schools throughout California from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Our programs combine current research and theory with real-life classroom experience to round out your education. Coupled with Saint Mary’s Lasallian pedagogy and a commitment to social justice, students are prepared to be reflective teachers and leaders in their school and community.

      Our Education Specialist Mild-to-Moderate Credential program is a 37-unit curriculum that provides candidates with learning opportunities in a wide range of settings and service options for students with disabilities. This credential will prepare you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful and rewarding career teaching and providing services to students in grades K–12 in California with:

      • Autism spectrum disorder
      • Specific learning disabilities
      • Emotional disturbances
      • Mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities
      • Other health impairments (including ADD and ADHD) 
      • Internship option – earn a full first year teacher’s salary while in the program.
      • Admission twice a year, Summer and January term
      • Balance of theory and practice
      • Courses held in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate student teaching and working education professionals
      • You learn with a cohort of fellow students throughout the entire program
      • Candidates work in collaborative teams interacting with a variety of professionals and families 
      • Traditional student teacher placements in two grades: primary and secondary
      • Personal attention from accessible professors 
      • Commitment to inclusive education
      • Faculty members are highly qualified professors and educational leaders

      Undergraduate Education Specialist Credential Program

      The Justice, Community and Leadership (JCL) undergraduate major has a Teachers for Tomorrow (TFT) concentration. In four years, students earn their BA in Justice, Community and Leadership and a Mild-to-Moderate Education Specialist preliminary credential to work in California K–12 classrooms teaching and providing services to students with special needs.

      Once admitted and enrolled in our Education Specialist (Special Education) Credential program, consider applying for the Golden State Teacher Grant. Awards of up to $20,000 are available. Learn more and apply today.

      Program Details

      Learn about admissions, costs, the Education Specialist Special Education curriculum, and more.

      Teacher and students in an SMC classroom

      School and Department Information

      We believe that education can transform lives and make a positive impact on our future and in our communities — particularly those that are underserved. Our curriculum prepares leaders who understand the causes of inequities within society and how these affect our communities, including students, parents and teachers.