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Preliminary Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Instruction Credential

 Available Online

Students in this postgraduate Education Specialist Credential program will acquire the fundamental knowledge to educate and develop pedagogies for students with mild to moderate disabilities.

37 credits of coursework and fieldwork
Guided by CCTC standards
Qualifies to teach students with mild/moderate disabilities

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Preliminary Mild/Moderate Disability Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Based on a constructivist framework, the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential integrates research-based best practices into the instruction of students with mild to moderate disabilities. Students will learn about child development and working with those with disabilities—integrating these theories into pedagogies that will bring about positive learning outcomes. Graduates of this teaching credentialing program will be able to articulate and recognize state and federal mandates, legal requirements for assessment, Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP), Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and monitoring, services, and instruction of students with disabilities. Please note: All School of Education programs are taught in eight-week sessions: Fall I and II, Spring I and II, and Summer 1 and II. All on-campus courses are “blended,” with 30 hours of face-to-face/in-class instruction and 15 hours of online instruction.

Other Credentials and Continuing Learning Programs


The California Preliminary Education Specialist Credential qualifies candidates to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in grades K-12 and in classes organized primarily for 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).

Credentials Office

For more information to assist you in your journey to obtain your California Preliminary Teaching Credential, visit the Credentials Office page.

Sample Courses

SPED 562: Studies of Assessment in Special Education and Transition Planning

SPED 562 will cover formal and non-formal evaluation methods to assess students with Mild to Moderate disabilities, including standardized Formal Assessment, informal assessment, alternative assessment, and case studies. There will also be a focus on the importance of the individual evaluation for referral, ongoing IEP and ITP development, classroom environment, individualizing assessment and instruction to meet the range of learners’ needs. Special Education-related laws will be included in teachings to ensure ethical practices and due process, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

SPED 542: Behavior Assessments, Interventions, and Positive Support Methods

SPED 542 will explore the relationship between teacher behavior, academic tasks, and classroom environment in encouraging and discouraging student self-esteem, behavior, and achievement. Various models of behavior management will be discussed from a social systems perspective, including: psycho-dynamic, behavioral, environmental, and constructivist. Classroom behaviors will be analyzed in relation to antecedents and consequences of target behaviors as highlighted by a case study approach. Candidates will develop skills in designing whole class management systems, as well as individualized behavior programs (positive behavior support plans), collecting data on target behaviors, identifying replacement behaviors with specific behavioral goals and objectives, and implementing appropriate reinforcement strategies.

Admission Requirements

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Official Transcripts from a Regionally Accredited Bachelor’s Degree Granting Institution Showing Date of Degree Conferral
  • Satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement (e.g., CBEST)
  • Letter of Recommendation required for students whose cumulative GPA is below 2.5
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
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