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Preliminary Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Students in this postgraduate Education Specialist Credential program will acquire the fudemental knowledge for educating and developing pedagogies for students with mild to moderate disabilities.

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37 units of coursework and fieldwork

Guided by CCTC standards

Qualifies to teach students with mild/moderate disabilities

Preliminary Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Based on a constructivist framework, the Preliminary Education Specialist Credential integrates research based best practices into instruction of students with mild/moderate disability. 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.

Other Credentials and Continuing Learning Programs

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




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).

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application for admission
  • Application fee
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Official transcripts from the bachelor’s degree-granting institution
  • Official CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) scores
  • 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

*Passing the CBEST exam is an admissions expectation. However, applicants in the M.A. Education with Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, M.A. Education with Preliminary Education Specialist Credential, Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, or Preliminary Education Specialist Credential programs will be granted admission for 1 semester or 2 sessions if they have scheduled their CBEST exam at the time of application. Students without passing CBEST scores at the time of admission must participate in the CBEST workshop and support programs provided by the College. These students must pass the CBEST exam within 1 semester or 2 sessions to be allowed to progress in the program. Students who fail to pass the CBEST within this timeframe will be given the opportunity to change to the M.A. Human Development program, but must meet all admissions requirements for that program. Students who do not wish to change programs will be withdrawn. Students must request results of the exam be sent to Pacific Oaks College. The CBEST exam can be taken multiple times by the student, with a 45-day waiting period after each exam.