Preliminary Special Education Credential, Mild to Moderate Support Needs

With this California Preliminary Special Education Credential, you’ll be able to make a difference for students who can function within a general classroom setting but require various accommodations for success. Plus, our Internship Pathway allows you to become intern eligible after just four classes!

Make a Difference in Students with Moderate Disabilities

This CTC-accredited Preliminary Education Specialist, Mild to Moderate Support Needs Credential prepares you to work students who require specialized academic support to address unique learning conditions resulting from a range of intellectual, behavioral, emotional, communication, sensory, and/or motor impairments. You’ll start with coursework to lay your SPED teaching foundation, progressing to creating individualized education plans based on assessment and evaluation of student needs. After your first four courses, you’ll be intern eligible, enabling you to start teaching, earning a salary while completing your credential in as little as 10 to 12 months. 

  • Work with Students and Families - In core courses, you’ll learn different assessment and evaluation procedures used in special education, and how to interpret results and share them with family members.
  • Work with Students of Various Ages - This Mild to Moderate Support Needs Special Education Credential prepares you to work in California school systems with K-12 students and adults up to the age of 22.
  • Curriculum Design, Classroom Management - You’ll use California content standards to learn to design developmentally appropriate special education lessons, to understand and differentiate instruction for varying needs, and to assess student progress.

Next Session

Fall I (Aug 26, 2024)

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Free Credential Test Prep

All students enrolled in the program receive complimentary credential test preparation from Teach Us, along with additional support to help you excel in your CalTPA and CSET examinations.

Preparing California’s Teachers

UMass Global is California’s second largest provider of teaching credentials; our history of support for education goes back to our founding in 1958.

Intern Eligible in Just 4 Classes

Our Intern Pathway Campaign means you can start teaching while finishing your credential work.


University of Massachusetts Global is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

California Commission on Teaching Credentialing

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

What can you do with a Teaching Credential, Preliminary, Mild/Moderate

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    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
    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

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants to the teaching credential program must complete the formal application process with all required documents, which include:

    • Completed application
    • 2.75 grade point average (GPA)
    • Official transcripts showing a conferred Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
    California Only

    Successful completion of this program leads to state licensure, which is limited to the state of California and approval by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

    Letter of Good Standing

    Applicants transferring from another institution's teaching credential program must supply a letter from that institution's Education Department attesting to the applicant's good standing in the program. The letter should be written on institutional letterhead by the Dean, department chair, director of teacher education, or someone in a similar position

    Subject Matter Verification

    Subject matter competency must be fulfilled to qualify for enrollment in student teaching or internship. Candidates must sign an intent to satisfy the subject matter competency requirement through one of the following: CSET exam; subject matter preparation program; approved coursework aligned with subject matter domains; or approved academic degree.


    Preliminary Special Education Credential Curriculum

    Launch your career in special education with this comprehensive online program. Gain a strong foundation in teaching essentials like instruction, collaboration, and assessment. Become intern-eligible after just 4 classes, allowing you to begin teaching as the teacher of record while completing your coursework online. Our program provides embedded support to ensure you meet all state credential requirements. Later courses delve into specialized skills for special education teachers, covering areas like communication, behavior support, and individualized education plans.
    • Code Course Name Credits
      Introductory Courses


      EDUU 510* Introduction to Teaching


      EDUU 511* Collaboration For Inclusive Schooling


      EDUU 516* Introduction to Planning and Assessment 3
      EDMU 520* Literacy and Language in K-8 Classrooms I 3
      *Candidates may be eligible for internships after completing the above 4 courses


      EDUU 512 The Art & Craft of Teaching


      EDMU 521

      or EDSU 532

      Literacy and Language in K-8 Classrooms II

      Effective Literacy Instruction for Single Subject Candidates

      Emphasis Courses


      EDUU 517 Communication, Health, and Mobility


      EDUU 602 Positive Behavior Supports


      EDUU 655 Individualized Education Plan Development and Special Education Law


      EDUU 663 Advanced Methods In Special Education


      EDUU 664 Advanced Assessment in Special Education


      EDUU 662 Collaboration and Co-Teaching 3


    • Code Course Name Credits
      Student Teaching    
      EDTU 550 Student Teaching I: Mild to Moderate Support Needs


      EDUU 576 Education Specialist Student Teaching Seminar A


      EDTU 551 Student Teaching II: Mild to Moderate Support Needs


      EDUU 577 Education Specialist Student Teaching Seminar B


      EDTU 565-A Support Teaching I: Mild to Moderate Support Needs (Interns Only)


      EDTU 565-B Support Teaching I: Mild to Moderate Support Needs (Interns Only)


      EDTU 565-C Support Teaching I: Mild to Moderate Support Needs (Interns Only)


      EDTU 566-A Support Teaching II: Mild to Moderate Support Needs (Interns Only)


      EDUU 580 Education Specialist Intern Seminar A


      EDUU 581 Education Specialist Intern Seminar B


      Clinical Practice Subtotal

      Clinical Practice credits vary depending on whether the candidate is a student teacher or intern.

       Total Credits  55-57

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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is a Preliminary Education Specialist, Mild to Moderate Support Needs Credential?

    A Preliminary Education Specialist, Mild to Moderate Support Needs Credential authorizes the holder to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities in grades K-12 and through age 22 in California. This credential prepares educators to work in general and inclusive classrooms, focusing on 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 can participate in a general classroom environment but need accommodations to be able to keep pace with the class.

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

    Special education credentials are differentiated from each other by their focus. The Preliminary Education Specialist, Mild to Moderate Support Needs Credential builds a specialized focus on students with mild to moderate disabilities in inclusive and general education environments. The other California special education credentials are for Early Childhood Special Education, Extensive Support Needs, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Standards Visual Impairments.

    How long does it take to earn this Preliminary Education Specialist, Extensive Support Needs Credential?

    To earn this extensive support needs SPED credential, you will need to complete 36 credit hours of coursework — 18 introductory block credits (four courses) and 18 content area block credits (six courses), along with 10 credit hours of student teaching or 12 credit hours of interning.

    This SPED credential can be earned as quickly as 10 to 12 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 coursework.

    What are the benefits of obtaining a Preliminary Special Education Credential, Mild to Moderate Support Needs?

      Obtaining a Preliminary Special Education Credential, Mild to Moderate Support Needs offers numerous benefits for educators and their students:
    1. Career Advancement Opportunities - Gaining your Preliminary Special Education Credential opens doors to a rewarding career in education, specifically tailored to supporting students with mild to moderate support needs.
    2. Making a Difference - By working with students who have mild to moderate support needs, you will have the chance to create a significant impact on their educational journey. Your specialized skills and knowledge will help these students achieve their full potential.
    3. Enhanced Teaching Skills - With this credential, you'll develop advanced teaching skills that are specifically aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by students with mild to moderate support needs. This expertise not only benefits your students but also enriches your overall teaching practice.
    4. Job Security and Demand - There is a growing demand for qualified special education teachers who can provide tailored support to students with varying needs. Obtaining this credential ensures that you are well-prepared to meet this demand, providing you with job security and a multitude of career opportunities in the field of special education.
    5. Personal Fulfillment - Working in special education is not just a job — it's a calling. The personal fulfillment and sense of accomplishment that come from making a positive difference in the lives of students and their families are immeasurable. This credential helps you embark on a career path that is both professionally and personally rewarding.

    Take the Next Step Toward Your Career With a Special Ed Teaching Credential From UMass Global!

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