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Online California Education Specialist Credential

The Online California Preliminary Education Specialist Credential program examines cross-cultural educational issues in order to determine instructional and assessment strategies that enhance learning of students with mild and moderate disabilities.

49 units of coursework and fieldwork

Guided by CCTC standards

Qualifies to teach students moderate disabilities

Through this postgraduate teaching credential program, graduates will be able to develop and implement programs that assess, plan, and provide instruction to support students with mild/moderate disabilities. Students in the online Preliminary Education Specialist Credential program will learn to communicate, collaborate and consult effectively with individuals with disabilities and their parents, general/special education teachers, related service personnel, and administrators .

Other Credentials and Continuing Learning Programs

  • B.A. Early Childhood Education: Preliminary Multiple Subject Credential
  • B.A. Early Childhood Education: Dual Credential
  • M.A. Education: Preliminary Education Specialist Credential
  • M.A. Education: Preliminary Multiple Subject Credential
  • Preliminary Multiple Subject Credential
  • Transitional Kindergarten (TK)

Sample Courses

Advanced Behavior Intervention and Program Planning

This course explores the relationship between teacher choices, academic task and classroom environment in encouraging and discouraging student self-esteem, behavior and achievement. Four models of behavior management will be discussed from a social systems perspective: psychodynamic, behavioral, environmental, and constructivist. Analysis of behavior will be discussed in relation to antecedents and consequences of target behaviors as highlighted by a case study approach. Teacher candidates will develop skills in designing whole class management systems, as well as individualized programs (positive behavior support plans) consisting of data collection on target behaviors, identification of replacement behaviors with specific behavioral goals and objectives, and appropriate reinforcement strategies. (Prerequisite: SPED 531)

Advanced Healthy Children and Classroom Communities

This course examines how a classroom community promotes the social and academic growth of pupils. Through study, collaborative learning, and reflection, candidates will explore how to create a safe, caring and respectful environment that enhances students’ rights and responsibilities. Also through cooperation, collaboration, choice, self-assessment activities; home-school communication will be discussed and its impact on the classroom community. Candidates will use the state content standards for teaching Physical Education and Health to develop lesson plans. Candidates will also examine issues and responsibilities involving class rules and procedures, safety, and bullying, as well as legal and practical issues pertaining to child abuse. The completion of this course satisfies the CA state requirement in health education for the multiple subject and educational specialist credential applicants. Infant, Child and Adult CPR Certification will also be completed at this time. Candidates explore the delivery of instruction in the content areas in which they seek their credential with extensive research, practice, and reflection. Topics include lesson planning and formative assessment. This course includes intentional practice of classroom management, active and equitable participation for culturally, ethnically, linguistically and academically diverse learners, lesson planning, and formative assessment to differentiate instruction for all learners. Modifications for diverse learners and learners with exceptionalities are researched.

Advanced Studies of Assessment Methods in Special Education

This course examines principles and techniques for instructing and assessing academic progress of young children with mild to moderate disabilities. Emphasis will be placed on the selection of developmentally appropriate curriculum, the collection of assessment data from various sources, and the interpretation of assessment results. The course focuses on inclusion and will examine the implications of cultural and linguistic diversity and the need to address the increasing number of children identified as autistic as well as consider the instruction and assessment of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Curriculum planning will be discussed with a focus on accommodating learners, modifying materials, and developing compliant individualized educational plans (IEPs). (Prerequisite: SPED 531)

Additional Locations


San Jose



Fieldwork consists of observation, practicum, and student teaching. Students may be able to complete a portion of their fieldwork at their current place of employment, upon approval from the Credential Analyst. Prior to beginning fieldwork a background check and TB test is required.

Student Teaching is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters only. Placement is secured solely through the Credential Analyst. All students, district employed supervisors, field work supervisors and support staff are required to attend the Fall and Spring Student Teaching Orientation.


The California Preliminary Education Specialist 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 (CCTC).

Admiossion Requirements

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Official Transcripts from the Bachelor’s Degree Granting Institution
  • Official CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores
  • Letter of Recommendation required for students whose cumulative GPA is below 2.5
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
  • Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher except in professional education from a regionally accredited institution
  • *Passing the CBEST exam is an admissions expectation. However, applicants in the M.A. Education with Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, or Preliminary Education Specialist Credential programs will be granted admission for 1 semester or 2 sessions if they have scheduled their CBEST exam at the time of application. Students without passing CBEST scores at the time of admission must participate in the CBEST workshop and support programs provided by the College. These students must pass the CBEST exam within 1 semester or 2 sessions to be allowed to progress in the program. Students who fail to pass the CBEST within this timeframe will be given the opportunity to change to the M.A. Human Development program, but must meet all admissions requirements for that program. Students who do not wish to change programs will be withdrawn. Students must request results of the exam be sent to Pacific Oaks College. The CBEST exam can be taken multiple times by the student, with a 45-day waiting period after each exam.