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Online California Preliminary Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Instruction 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.

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

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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.

Please note: Students enrolled in our online California teacher credential preparation program MUST complete all observation, fieldwork, and student teaching hours in California classrooms. There are no exceptions.

Other Credentials and Continuing Learning Programs


Those that earn the California Preliminary Education Specialist Credential (mild to moderate disabilities) qualifies the holder 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).

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 that include standardized Formal Assessment, informal assessment, alternative assessment, and case studies. Also, there will 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 needs of a range of learners.  Laws pertaining to Special Education will be included to ensure ethical practices and due process which include 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 of replacement behaviors with specific behavioral goals and objectives, and implementing appropriate reinforcement strategies.

Sample Program Sequence

Admission Requirements

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Official Transcripts from the Bachelor’s Degree-Granting Institution
  • 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
  • Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher except in professional education from a regionally accredited institution
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