Education Specialist (Special Education)

A special program for a special kind of teacher.

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 (M.Ed.) 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 JCL Bachelor of Arts 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.


Learning Outcomes

After earning an Education Specialist preliminary credential you will be qualified to: 

  • Develop high-quality and legally compliant Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Use informal and formal assessments to develop a professional assessment report
  • Incorporate specific strategies, instructional activities, procedures, and experiences that address the Common Core State Standards
  • Develop comprehensive positive behavior support plans 
  • Use developmentally appropriate teaching practices
  • Understand and apply pedagogical theories, principles, and instructional practices for comprehensive instruction of English learners and students with special needs
  • Develop strategies to work with students, their families, and other professionals to provide services for the benefit of all
  • Maximize student achievement by understanding patterns of child and adolescent typical and atypical development