Online M.A. Education, Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

Program Description

Students in the online Education master's program who complete the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential are qualified to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in K-12 settings and adults through age 22. 

Pacific Oaks' M.A. in Education prepares students to take the next step in their professional journey by combining advanced study in Education theory and practice with the academic requirements for California State Teaching Credentials. 

Our online Education master's program is designed to build on the foundation that students bring with them to the classroom and to enhance the knowledge and skills they have acquired at the undergraduate level and/or through their prior professional experience. 

This Education degree is available in an online format only for California residents.

In keeping with Pacific Oaks College's emphasis on experiential learning, coursework for the joint degree/credential program combines both online coursework and fieldwork at more than 25 local public schools, enabling students to draw powerful connections between theory and practice. 

Students are prepared to be advocates for diversity and inclusion in education. Students develop a sophisticated understanding of the social, political, and cultural contexts of child and human development, preparing them to be effective advocates for democracy in education at the school, district, and state level.  

  • May be completed in as little one and a half years.



Total Credits



The California Preliminary Education Specialist Instruction Credential (mild to moderate disabilities) qualifies candidates to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in K-12 settings and adults through age 22. This credential is a two-tiered process; information on completing the second level is available through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Fieldwork Requirements

The program requires three (3) units of practicum, including observation in various age groups, abilities, diversities; and ten (10) units of directed teaching. Fieldwork must be determined by Credentialing Coordinator.


Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Sample Courses

Advanced Studies of Educational and Assistive Technology for Program Planning and Transitions

This course prepares candidates to focus on the different learning rates of students with disabilities across the lifespan. Through the use of assistive technology and the understanding of student lifespan transitions, candidates learn how to tailor instruction and to use assistive devices to aid student learning, understanding, and participation in a variety of education settings. Candidates also learn how to uses technology for collecting learning data and designing progress monitoring systems. The most current research and legal regulations that relate to the use of computers and assistive technology to facilitate the teaching and learning process for all students is explored, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Response to Intervention (RTI). The most updated technology will be demonstrated in a school setting so that candidates can experience what students with learning disabilities have to access for their needs.

Students with Special Needs

This course provides candidates with a comprehensive understanding of the atypical human development conditions that are associated with various disabilities and risk conditions. The course explores the impact of various disabilities on development and learning, and how different cultural settings may impact both exceptional groups of learners and students with disabilities. It addresses how students can be served in a variety of educational settings using effective instructional strategies, including accommodations, modifications, and differentiated instruction. Information is presented on the importance of partnering with professionals, family members and caregivers when determining the expectations for students with disabilities and in designing age-appropriate interventions and instructional strategies that will assist in meeting the expectations. An introduction into the process of understanding and developing Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) is examined.

POC:Pasadena, CAPOC:Online