Teacher Education - Special Education

What should I major in?
The major you select will depend on the setting you plan to teach in elementary school, middle school, or high school. Select a major that provides the best preparation in the subject area. See a counselor for help with major selection.

What is required to teach special education?
Students interested in teaching children with special needs will earn an Educational Specialist Instruction Credential. The person holding this credential may work with elementary, middle school, or high school students.

An Educational Specialist Instruction Credential offers the following specializations:

  • Mild to Moderate Disabilities
  • Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing
  • Moderate to Severe Disabilities
  • Physical & Health Impairments
  • Visual Impairments
  • Early Childhood Special Education

Education Specialist Instruction Credential Requirements:

  1. Complete a bachelors degree or higher from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  2. Satisfy the basic skills requirement [PDF]
  3. Verify subject matter competence. This requirement can be met in one of two ways:
    a. Passing the CSET: Multiple Subjects exam or the CSET exam in the subject(s) they wish to teach
    b. Completing an Elementary Subject Matter or Single Subject Matter program
  4. Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA).
  5. Complete a course covering the Provisions and Principles of the U.S. Constitution (PSCI G180 at GWC) or pass an examination.
  6. Complete an Education Specialist Credential program, including student teaching. Obtain a formal recommendation for the credential by the program sponsor.
  7. Submit the appropriate paperwork along with fingerprints to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

How long does it take?
A bachelors degree is between 120-124 units (typically 4-5 years to complete). In addition, a teaching credential Program takes approximately 1-2 years to complete.

To schedule an appointment with a Teacher Preparation Pathway counselor, please call the Counseling Office at (714) 895-8799 or visit the Counseling website.