Education Specialist Program Description: Preliminary Credentials Mild/Moderate - Moderate/Severe

Basic Program and Structure

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The Education Specialist Credentials for Mild/Moderate (M/M), and Moderate/Severe (M/S) Disabilities, are basic credentials that do not require a general education credential as a prerequisite. The Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials consists of 3 units of Co-requisites, 7-10 units in General Education, 15 units in Common Core curriculum, 7-8 units in Credential Specific curriculum, and 13 units of Student Teaching/ Seminar. Please refer to Course Requirements for a listing of specific program coursework requirements. After obtaining a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, the requirements must be met for the Clear (Induction) Education Specialist Credential.

Program Length

The Preliminary Education Specialist Credential Program differs in length according to what previous experience applicants have and when they apply.

  • With a prior general education credential and fall admission, expect 2 semesters of full-time work
  • Without a prior credential
    • Spring admission is preferred and requires 3 semesters
    • Fall admission is possible, but extends the program into 4 semesters

California and University Education Specialist Credential Requirements

Candidates for the Education Specialist Credential who already hold a California teaching credential (not an emergency or substitute permit) may have already met the requirements marked by the asterisk (*)below. Please contact the Credentials Office at 707-664-2832 or 707-664-3141 for confirmation if you think you may have already met these requirements.

Basic Skills Requirement

Candidates must show basic proficiency in reading, math and writing. Provide ONLY ONE of the following:

  • Passage of the CBEST. Provide a copy of your PDF report of your passing scores
  • Passage of the College Board SAT English (500) & SAT Math (550)
  • Passage of the ACT English (22) & ACT Math (23)
  • Passage of the CSET: Writing Skills exam
  • Verification of AP English Language and Composition or the AP English Literature and Composition Exam (score of 3 or higher) and the AP Calculus or Statistics Exam (score of 3 or higher)
  • Original score report showing a score of “college ready” or “exempt” in the English and Math sections of the Early Assessment Program (EAP)
  • Original score report showing a score of 50 on the Entry Level Math (ELM) exam and 151 on the English Placement Test (EPT)
  • A combination of the scores from the EAP and the EPT/ELM as long as you have passed a section of the English and a section for Math

Subject Matter Competency

Verification of Subject Matter Competency is required by the State of California prior to admission into a credential program. A photocopy of the official score report is required. It is also recommended that candidates indicate that SSU is approved to receive scores.

Submit ONE of the following:

  1. CSET Exam Scores (California Subject Examinations for Teachers)
    CSET test dates, test registration procedures and deadlines, and test score reporting dates are available at You may also contact the Credentials Office for this information. Plan to take the CSET exam no later than the July test administration for Spring admission and no later than the January administration for Fall admission. Taking the exams any later than these dates may result in delays in admission and in your being authorized to register for your courses.
  2. Subject Matter Waiver Letter or Verification of Enrollment in Subject Matter Waiver Program
    Submit a letter from your subject matter program advisor verifying you completed the waiver program or a memo verifying you are enrolled in a subject matter waiver program (Single Subject Waiver program only).

Note: Completion of Subject Matter Waiver is required prior to admission into the Credential program. For more specific information contact the Credentials Office at

Important Notes on Subject Matter Competence for Education Specialist Credential Candidates:

  1. Candidates meeting subject matter competence for the Education Specialist Credential through examination must pass the COMPLETE SERIES of CSET exams in one subject area. For example, candidates can take and pass the CSET: English (4 subtests) OR CSET: Multiple Subjects (3 subtests) to meet subject matter competence for the Education Specialist Credential.
  2. Candidates holding a California teaching credential (not an emergency or substitute credential) may have already met subject matter competency for CSU admission but still may need to address subject matter preparation expectations for employment (see 3 below).
  3. Subject matter competency (SMC) also relates directly to your employability. Thus, while the CSU requires SMC as a program admission requirement, your eventual employer or setting of employment may have different SMC expectations.

For questions regarding this requirement, please contact the Credentials Office at 707-664-2832 or 707-664-3141.

  • BA or BS Degree - complete prior to award of the credential
  • Certificate of Clearance (or copy of previous CA credential) - file with application to the credential program
  • Negative T.B./Chest X-ray/Medical Evaluation results- This requirement must be completed prior to applying to program.
  • Legal Information Requirement- This requirement must be completed prior to registering for program courses. SSU matriculated students can complete via Moodle prior to applying to program.
  • Course or Exam in U.S. Constitutionā€“ American Government or U.S. History. Must complete prior to award of the credential
  • Reading Instruction Competency Assessment (RICA) (Please be sure to indicate the SSU is approved to receive scores). Must complete prior to award of the credential.
  • Valid CPR Card Copy which Covers Infant, Child and Adult CPR Skills - complete prior to award of the credential
  • Cumulative 3.0 grade point average upon completion of all credential program courses: Individual course passing grade is a ā€œ Cā€ or better ā€“ includes prerequisites and program coursework

*Candidates for the Education Specialist Credential who already hold a California teaching credential (not an emergency or substitute permit) may have already met these requirements

Education Specialist Course Requirements

Co-requisites (3 semester units):
EDSP 400 (3) Foundations of Special Education (Required course for all E.S. candidates)

General Teacher Education Coursework (7 semester units):
EDMS 463 (3) Teaching Reading & Language Arts in Elementary School (includes a field work component)
EDSS 446 (4) Language & Literacy Across the Curriculum: Middle & Secondary Schools

Common Core for Education Specialists (16 semester units):
EDSP 421A (3) Effective Practices that Support Students with Diverse Learning Needs
EDSP 421B (1) Early Field Experience
EDSP 421C (1) Using Educational and Assistive Technology
EDSP 421D (1) Healthy Learners & School Environment
EDSP 422A (3) Case Management and Transition Planning in Special Education
EDSP 422B (1) Participant Observation/Fieldwork
EDSP 423 (3) Assessment, Curriculum & Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities
EDSP 424 (3) Positive Behavior Support for Students with Disabilities

Credential-Specific Curriculum (7-8 semester units):
Mild/Moderate Disabilities
EDSP 425 (4) Developing Academic Performance for Students with Disabilities
EDMS 474 (3) Mathematics in the Elementary School
Moderate/Severe Disabilities
EDSP 428 (4) Teaching Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities
EDSP 426 (4) Communication Development: Assessment & Instruction

**Student Teaching (13 semester units):
EDSP 460 (4) Teaching Event Seminar (all candidates)
EDSP 465 (9) Student Teaching: M/M candidates only
EDSP 467 (9) Student Teaching: M/S candidates only

** Taking more than 5 additional units of coursework while enrolled in student teaching and the associated seminar requires prior approval of the department.
All candidates completing fieldwork (participant observation or student teaching) in basic teacher education programs are required to carry professional liability insurance. Sonoma State University provides this insurance at no cost to the student.
For more Information:
The School of Education offers Information Sessions on a monthly basis (check website for details) for prospective candidates interested in applying to our Education Specialist credential programs or contact our Credential Office at (707) 664-2832.