Teaching Credential, Preliminary, Early Childhood Special Education

Preliminary Education Specialist Credential - Early Childhood Special Education Credential

This credential program is designed for candidates who want a career working with infant, toddler and preschool-age children with identified special needs. Teachers specializing in early childhood special education can work in public or private preschools, childcare centers or at private homes.

Program Overview

The Preliminary Early Childhood Special Education Credential focuses on the skills needed to conduct assessments, provide instruction, and special education-related services to young children with disabilities. The curriculum provides educators of young children with advanced methods and strategies for working with learning, development and behavior disabilities. 

As a student, you will:

  • Develop the skills required to ensure that instruction and environments are appropriate for the child’s developmental age, needs and identified disabilities.
  • Assist students by cultivating collaborative relationships with families/guardians/caregivers, community members and educational personnel.
  • Reflect the value of and knowledge about children and families from diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Think outside the box and incorporate appropriate technology to accommodate students’ individualized needs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants intending on enrolling in this program, whether online or on campus, must be California residents and must complete the formal application process with all required documents, which include:

  1. Official (sealed) transcripts indicating a conferred Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  2. Statement of Intent
  3. Recommendation for Teacher Preparation Candidates Forms (3)
  4. Proof of a passing score on the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) or any CTC approved basic skills tests
  5. Letter of Good Standing: Applicants transferring from another institution's credential program must supply a letter from that institution's Education Department attesting to the applicant's good standing in their program. Such a letter should be written on institutional letterhead by the Dean, the department chair, the director of teacher education, or some other person in a similar position.

Admission Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements:

  • Applicants to a credential program must possess a 2.75 (GPA) calculated over the most recent 30 graded semester (45 quarter) credits completed in either a baccalaureate or post baccalaureate program, including credits earned toward a credential. All credits used for GPA calculation must be from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Applicants to the Single Subject or Education Specialist Credential program who are using an academic major or coursework for subject matter competency must also have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 in their major field to be admitted
  • Applicants with GPAs between 2.50* and 2.74 can qualify for admission to a credential program by earning a passing score on one of the qualifying examinations listed below. A passing score will fulfill both the admission and the major grade point average requirements. Applicants may not enroll in any 500 level courses other than prerequisites, until successful completion of an entrance examination:
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): achieve the required minimum scores on two out of the three subsections. The minimum acceptable score for the Quantitative section is 141. The minimum acceptable score for the Verbal section is 150. The minimum acceptable score for the Analytic Writing is 4.5.
    • Miller Analogies Test (MAT): achieve a minimum scaled score of 403.
    • Subject Matter Competency Examinations: successfully pass all subtests of the appropriate California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Exceptional Admit:

Multiple and Single Subject, and Education Specialist applicants with a GPA lower than 2.5 may, under certain conditions, petition for admission consideration under an “exceptional admit” category. Applicants must have passed the CBEST and one of the approved graduate admission examinations specified in number 6 above to be considered for an “exceptional admit”. The School of Education encourages applicants to take the appropriate Subject Matter Competency Examination as a way to demonstrate suitability for admission to a credential program. To petition for admission candidates must submit all required admission documents specified in #1 above and each of following:

  1. Petition for exceptional admission.
  2. Letter from the candidate specifying exceptional admission criteria and how those criteria have been met.
  3. Passing scores on CBEST and passing scores on one of the approved graduate admission exams listed above.
  4. Three current letters of reference attesting to the candidate’s ability to complete graduate coursework. The letters cannot be older than two years from the date of application.
  5. A letter of support from the local campus education committee. The committee must have three members and must include one full-time faculty member.

Applicants who choose to enroll in these credential programs have the option of completing their programs in a "credential only" format, or, if they meet graduate degree admission criteria in a Master of Arts in Teaching format (please see MAT degree program for details).

*Students admitted to credential programs are not automatically admitted to Master's degree programs


Prerequisites (17 credits)

PSYU 323 Child Development 3
EDUU 513 Student Health and Safety 2
EDUU 551* Educational Application of Computers I 3
ECED 100 Child Growth and Development 3
ECED 303 Integrating Learning Standards in Early Childhood Settings: Language and Literacy 3
ECED 330 Dual Language Learners and Their Families 3

* A waiver of the technology requirement may be granted upon successful completion both subtests of the CSET Preliminary Educational Technology Exam, documentation of completion of regular education computers in education coursework from an accredited college or university, or submission of an electronic portfolio (under certain conditions).


Core Courses (15 credits)

EDUU 510 Introduction to Teaching 3
EDUU 511 Collaboration for Inclusive Schooling 3
EDUU 512 The Art and Craft of Teaching 3
EDUU 602 Positive Behavioral Supports 3
EDUU 603 Communication, Language and Literacy 3


Emphasis Area (18 credits)

EDUU 639 Pedagogical Leadership in Early Childhood Education 3
EDUU 665 Historical, Philosophical, and Legal Foundations of Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education 3
EDUU 666 Family Guided Practices in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education 3
EDUU 667 Assessment in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education 3
EDUU 668 Curriculum and Intervention in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education 3
EDUU 669 Consultation and Advanced Strategies in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education 3


Clinical Practice (10 credits)


EDTU 594 Directed Teaching (Infant and Toddlers)  3
EDUU 544 Student Teaching Seminar I 2
EDTU 595 Directed Teaching (Preschool)  3
EDUU 545 Student Teaching Seminar II 2
Total Program Credits (not including Prerequisites): 43
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