Education Specialist (Special Education)

Priority Application Deadline

October 1st is the priority application deadline. Apply today.

Our Education Specialist Mild-to-Moderate Credential program is a 32-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) 

Program Details

Program Duration

12-18 months (full-time), part-time available

Learning Environment

In-person*, 2-3 times a week, Monday-Thursday, late afternoon/evening classes.

Average Class Size

12-20 learners per cohort. Cohort members in the program form a learning community. Your success starts with connections.


Why Special Education?

Why an Education Specialist Teaching Credential?

Our Mild-to-Moderate Education Specialist preliminary credential will prepare you with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful and rewarding career teaching students in California grades K-12 with:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Mild-to-moderate intellectual disabilities
  • Other health impairments (including ADD and ADHD)

Why a Credential from Saint Mary's College?

Our teaching credential programs are the most well-respected in the educational community, and our students emerge as highly-qualified educators with the ability to teach in public/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.

Why get a Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master of Education in Special Education?

Getting your Mild-to-Moderate Education Specialist preliminary 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’s of Education (MEd) in Special Education or a Master of Arts in Teaching.  Both degrees require taking 12 additional units and completing a thesis or capstone project. 

The automatic bump in salary that you’ll receive with this advanced degree is worth the small additional investment of your time.

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.