Education Specialist Credential Programs

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Special Education

The curriculum meets the licensing requirements of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Programs are organized in a two-tiered system: the Preliminary and the Clear Education Specialist.

Preliminary Education Specialist programs include requirements in a general education component, core requirements including health education and CPR, plus specialization courses including student teaching. The education specialist credentials meet standards for special education Birth - grade 12 teachers. The Preliminary credential allows graduates to teach in the area of specialization for a period of five years.

The Clear Education Specialist program includes core requirements and advanced curricular content for each specialization area. The Clear credential program must be completed within five years of the award of the Preliminary education specialist credential.

Admission Procedures

Admission to post-baccalaureate programs is based on the evaluation of applications to both the department and to the University. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for admission to credential programs and must be maintained for continuation in the program. All applicants for the Education Specialist Credentials are also required to apply at the same time to the Master of Arts Degree in Special Education. If a prospective applicant already has a master’s degree, they may petition the department chair to be exempt from this requirement. Applications are available from the Graduate College of Education Credential and Graduate Services Center, Burk Hall 244, (415) 405-3594, e-mail: credinfo@sfsu.edu, or from the Department of Special Education, (415) 338-1161, e-mail: spedcd@sfsu.edu; website: sped.sfsu.edu. Check for application deadlines and requirements.

Preliminary education specialist credential programs are approved for the following areas:

  • Early Childhood Special Education (birth to pre-K only)–mild to moderate and moderate to severe disabilities and traumatic brain injury.
  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities (K - 12, adults up to 22 years)–specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, other health impairment, and emotional disturbance.
  • Moderate/Severe Disabilities (K - 12, adults up to 22 years)–autism spectrum disorder, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, and multiple disabilities.
  • Visual Impairments (Birth - 22 years)–blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind, and autism spectrum disorder.
  • Early Childhood Special Education Certificate—supplemental to Education Specialist Credentials and approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (if not earning separate Early Childhood Special Education Credential, any specialist credential can add on this certificate to expand authorization for Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, Visual Impairments, or for professional growth).

For Orientation and Mobility specialization and for Speech-Language Pathology services see Other Services Credentials.

Substitution of Requirements

Substitutions of course and field placement requirements may be granted when candidates have prior transcript credit and when the required skill, knowledge, and performance competencies have been mastered and verified. The department chair and faculty in the area of specialization review and approve requests for course substitutions.

Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

Program requirements include the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Satisfy Subject Matter Competency Requirement: Successful passage of the CSET Multiple Subjects Test or by completing a subject matter program prior to admission. May be satisfied by completing the subject matter requirements outlined for the Multiple Subject or Single Subject Credentials. Required for all education specialist areas except Early Childhood Special Education. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of the United States Constitution. Applicants may satisfy the U.S. Constitution requirement either by course work or examination.
  • Satisfy Basic Skills Requirement: successful passage of the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), CSET Multiple Subjects Test plus Writing Skills Test, OR an approved out-of-state basic skills exam (required for admission). Refer to the Department application for additional ways of satisfying the Basic Skills Requirement using the ELM/ EPT, SAT, and/ or ACT scores.
  • Complete Certificate of Clearance: Fingerprint Clearance via LiveScan and Commission on Teacher Credentialing online application (required for admission).
  • Complete a Certificate of Clearance (fingerprinting) prior to fieldwork (required for admission).
  • Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (R.I.C.A.) examination. RICA is required for all education specialist areas, except Early Childhood Special Education, prior to award of Credential.
  • Apply for student teaching, with annual deadlines of February 28 for fall enrollment and September 28 for spring enrollment.
  • Submit a Credential Approved Program (CAP) prior to student teaching reflecting all course work taken or to be completed and non-curricular requirements (submitted with application for student teaching).
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): must cover infant, child and adult CPR; online course not acceptable.

Education Specialist Credentials: Special Education

Core Requirements for Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials (7 - 9 units)

SPED 788Law, Ethics, and Instructional Planning3
SPED 801Development, Diversity, and English Language Learners: Special Education3
H ED 630Elementary School Health3
or H ED 635 Secondary School Health

Health Education courses are offered through the College of Extended Learning. A list of health education courses approved for substitution is available on the department website: http://spedcd.sfsu.edu/content/forms-0

General Education Requirements (6 units)

Not required if student possesses a Multiple Subject or Single Subject Credential, or if pursuing Early Childhood Special Education preliminary credential.

E ED 882Literacy Instruction in K-12 Classrooms3
or E ED 708 First and Second Language Development in Early Childhood Education
E ED 784Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics (CLAD Emphasis)3

Early Childhood Special Education (44 - 56 units)

Core and General Education

SPED 777Development and Learning of Young Children with Special Needs3
SPED 737Infant Intervention3
SPED 738Preschool Intervention3
SPED 779Family Systems and Services for Young Children with Disabilities3
SPED 780Assessment and Program Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education Setting3
SPED 747Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments3
SPED 774Positive Behavior Support3
SPED 825Behavior and Instructional Supports: Autism3
SPED 885Advanced Topics in Special Education3
SPED 729Student Teaching Workshop: Early Childhood Special Education (2 units total)1
SPED 730Student Teaching: Special Education (6-18 units total)3-9

Note: Student teaching requires a one-semester placement with preschool children and a second-semester placement with infant/toddlers.

Early Childhood Special Education Certificate (38 - 50 units)

The certificate program is supplemental to authorization programs for Education Specialist Teaching Credentials and for individuals not earning a separate Early Childhood Special Education Credential. This supplemental certificate expands authorization for individuals who wish to work with young children from birth through five years with the following preliminary education specialist credentials: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, and Visual Impairments.

Prerequisite: Preliminary Education Specialist Credential

SPED 777Development and Learning of Young Children with Special Needs3
SPED 737Infant Intervention3
SPED 738Preschool Intervention3
SPED 779Family Systems and Services for Young Children with Disabilities3
SPED 780Assessment and Program Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education Setting3
SPED 787Advanced Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPED 747Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments3
SPED 774Positive Behavior Support3
SPED 825Behavior and Instructional Supports: Autism3
SPED 885Advanced Topics in Special Education3
SPED 729Student Teaching Workshop: Early Childhood Special Education (2 units total)1
SPED 730Student Teaching: Special Education (6-18 total units)3-9

Note: Student teaching requires a one-semester placement with preschool children and a second-semester placement with infant/toddlers.

Contact the department for more information: (415) 338-1161 or spedcd@sfsu.edu.

Mild/Moderate Disabilities (46 - 48 units)

Core and General Education 13 - 15 units

SPED 772Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction3
SPED 774Positive Behavior Support3
SPED 770Mild/Moderate Disabilities3
SPED 775Advanced Methods in Mild/Moderate Disabilities3
SPED 763Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities3
SPED 778Advanced Literacy and Instruction3
Select one of the following:3
Nature of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Communication, Socialization and Imagination: Autism
Behavior and Instructional Supports: Autism
SPED 726Workshop: Student Teaching Support Sessions for Mild/Moderate Disabilities or Orientation Mobility3
SPED 730Student Teaching: Special Education9

Moderate/Severe Disabilities (52 - 54 units)

Core and General Education 15 units

SPED 821Fieldwork in Moderate/Severe Disabilities (6 total units)3
SPED 745Environmental Design for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPED 773Methods of Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPED 787Advanced Assessment and Instruction for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPED 789Advanced Environmental Design for Students with Moderate/Severe Disabilities3
SPED 763Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities3
SPED 791Nature of Autism Spectrum Disorders3
SPED 747Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments3
SPED 723Workshop: Student Teaching Support Sessions for Moderate/Severe Disabilities or Visual Impairments3
SPED 730Student Teaching: Special Education9

Visual Impairments (58 - 60 units)

Core and General Education 15 units

SPED 749Medical, Educational, and Rehabilitative Implications of Visual Impairment4
SPED 750Assessment for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 751Instruction for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 753Living Skills Assessment and Instruction for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 754Basic Communication Skills for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 655Basic Orientation and Mobility for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 757Visual Impairment: Special Populations3
SPED 758Advanced Communication Skills for Learners with Visual Impairments3
SPED 763Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities3
SPED 752Issues in Visual Impairment3
SPED 735Technology for Visually Impaired Students2
SPED 723Workshop: Student Teaching Support Sessions for Moderate/Severe Disabilities or Visual Impairments3
SPED 730Student Teaching: Special Education9

Clear Education Specialist Teaching Credential — 6 units

The Clear Education Specialist Teaching Credential at San Francisco State University is a field-based program. Starting in Fall 2010, all students admitted to the Clear Education Specialist Credential enroll in SPED 740 over 2 consecutive semesters.

Clear Credential Requirements

SPED 740Education Specialist Credential Induction Plan (6 units total)3

In addition to SPED 740, students who completed the former Preliminary Level I Education Specialist Credential prior to September 1, 2010, may be advised to take a few additional classes if not previously completed (e.g., SPED 763SPED 791SPED 825; and Health Education requirement)

The Clear Education Specialist Credential enables teachers to apply their Preliminary preparation to the demands of professional positions while also gaining advanced skills and knowledge. Requirements include the following:

  • Recommendation for the Preliminary education specialist program.
  • Preparation and completion of a Credential Approved Program reflecting a summary of course work completed and non-curricular requirements associated with the Clear program, including enrollment in SPED 740 over two consecutive semesters.
  • Equivalent work experience approved in consultation with employer and university advisor.

Guidelines and forms are available on-line at http://spedcd.sfsu.edu/. The webpage provides all forms and guidelines.