Added Authorization, Autism Spectrum Disorders

This state-approved, autism specialist certificate is a 4-course, 12-unit program providing either a CTC-designated authorization to serve learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders or a Certificate of Completion.

ASDAA Program Overview

The Autism Spectrum Disorders Added Authorization (ASDAA) permits the holder to conduct assessments, provide instruction and special education related services to individuals with a primary disability of autism. It may be taken as a Certificate of Completion by teachers who wish to better understand students with autism and learn effective teaching strategies. Students seeking the ASDAA must possess one of the designated eligible credentials prior to admission. Admission is not required for those completing the certificate. Read about our recent alumni Amy's experience in our Autism program and attend an upcoming info session to learn about the program.

As an autism specialist certificate student, you will:

  • Learn evidence-based instructional and behavioral strategies to meet the varied needs of students across the autism spectrum.
  • Understand assessments and how to provide special education to individuals with autism.
  • Develop ways to examine the behavioral, developmental, and blended approaches in understanding and modifying the behaviors of autistic students.
  • Evaluate the learning needs of students with autism spectrum disorder, with an emphasis on resources and best practices for addressing academic issues at all functional levels.

Who Should Enroll:

  • Special Education Elementary Teachers 
  • Special Education High School Teachers
  • Speech-Language Pathologists with a Special Class Authorization 



8 weeks per course

4 courses total

Estimated Tuition

$550 per course

$2,200 full program (other fees may apply)

Ways to Learn



3 credits per course

12 academic credits total

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California Commission on Teaching Credentialing

University of Massachusetts Global's School of Education is accredited by the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing.

Amy J.
I took the Autism classes [through Extended Education] and found the passion of special education, which I really never thought of as an option. I finished the Autism program and enrolled in the Master of Special Education.  I have learned to reflect on my teaching and determine if I am reaching all students and on how to better reach any struggling students.
Amy J.
MA, Special Education
I have gained a deeper awareness of the many factors that influence brain based education, and how to intentionally develop brain based lessons.
Lori P.
Elementary School Teacher, Brain-Based Teaching Strategies Course
Compared to a brick and mortar, the professors are more open and I was able to learn better from them. The online community is what kept me going. I think this is the first time in my life that I can say I am proud of myself. 
Leonard W.
MA in Special Education, Behavior Analysis

ASDA Autism Certification Program Online Admission Requirements

Applicants for this program must complete the formal application process with all required documents:

  • Must hold an appropriate active CTC credential
  • This program is eligible for financial aid for admitted students
Standalone Certificate

Admission is not required for those completing the certificate


ASDA Autism Certification Program Curriculum

  • Code Course Name Credits
    EDUU 575  Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Etiologies and Characteristics*


    EDUU 675  Assessing Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders


    EDUU 676  Autism Spectrum Disorders: Programming and Strategies, I


    EDUU 677  Autism Spectrum Disorders: Programming and Strategies, II


     Total   12

    *EDUU 575 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders: Etiologies and Characteristics must be taken first. Courses must be taken sequentially.
    Students must receive a grade of B- or higher to progress to subsequent course and maintain an overall 3.0 GPA.

    Please note that admissions requirements for the Autism Spectrum Disorders added Authorization are different than those for other credentials and certificates.

    Questions regarding the eligibility of specific credentials should be directed to the Teacher Accreditation Department at 949-341-9899. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about special education and strategies that can prepare you for the classroom.

How long does it take to earn an MA in Teaching with a Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential?

To earn the SPED credential portion, you will need to complete 36 credit hours of coursework — 18 introductory block credits (six courses) and 18 content area block credits (six courses), along with 10 or 12 credit hours of internship teaching or student teaching. From there, earning your Master of Arts in Teaching will require an additional nine credit hours (three courses).

The credential can be earned as quickly as 10 to 12 months, with the MAT adding two to four extra months. This timeframe assumes you take two courses per eight-week session, and it may vary depending upon the session in which you start.

Remember, should you choose the UMass Global Internship Pathway, you can begin intern teaching as the teacher of record in a classroom after only four courses. That way you can start earning a salary while finishing your credential and MAT courses.

How does adding a Master of Arts in Teaching benefit me beyond having my bachelor’s degree and this extensive support needs special education teaching credential?

Earning a master’s in teaching has numerous benefits for an educator. Here are a few key benefits:
  • Expertise — You’ll expand your skills as an educator through the additional courses needed to earn your MAT, which all focus on broader issues in education.
  • Increased salary potential — Most school districts offer higher pay tiers depending on the level of education.
  • Career options — Having a master’s degree expands career options into areas such as curriculum coordinator, department head, assessment director, and various administrative roles.
  • Expanded teaching — Should you choose at some point to broaden your teaching from the special education realm, an MAT can allow you to do so, although you may still have to gain subject matter
  • expertise if you move into a completely new area. Still, your MAT would open possibilities teaching at community colleges, doing educational consulting, working at education nonprofits, and other options.

What is a Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential?

A Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential authorizes the holder to teach students with extensive support needs, including those with moderate to severe disabilities, in grades K-12 and through age 22 in California. This credential prepares educators to work in specialized and inclusive settings, focusing on individualized education plans (IEPs), behavior support, communication strategies, and adaptive skills. It is the initial credential required for those seeking to enter the field of special education with a focus on students who require more intensive support and specialized instruction.

How does a Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential differ from other special education credentials?

The Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential is distinct from other special education credentials primarily due to its specialized focus on students with moderate to severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, autism, or other serious impairments. The other California special education credentials are for Early Childhood Special Education, Mild to Moderate Support Needs, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Standards Visual Impairments.

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