Credential Programs

Our K-12 communities are in need of caring, passionate, reflective educators who are committed to social justice, such as Rennéa Phillips featured above. This is especially true in the field of special education since there is a significant shortage of teachers according to a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute.

Overview of Credential Programs

  • Format: Hybrid, evenings, full time or part time
  • Units: 30-51 units - view our roadmaps for more information
  • Start date: Summer, Fall, Spring. 
  • Program length: Typically 12 - 18 months / 3 semesters
  • Application deadline: April 1 (Summer); July 1 (Fall); November 1 (Spring)

Curriculum and Roadmaps

 Preliminary Credential with Masters of Arts in

 Special Education ( Entered program in Summer   2022 and after)

Masters of Arts in Special Education ( Entered program in Summer 2022 and after)

Teacher Residency Program

Complete this academic program in 1 year while also receiving year-long clinical practice with a Mentor Teacher, significant financial aid, and more. Visit our Teacher Residency Program webpage for more information.

Intern Option

Candidates enrolled in this option are able to complete the credential program as an intern, which allows them employment as a special education teacher while taking courses at SJSU. Eligible applicants are encouraged to attend an Intern Orientation and to visit the Intern webpage for more information regarding this option.


  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent 
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 (preferred), will accept GPA of 2.5 with strong letter of recommendation
  • Completion of 45 hours of pre-professional experience observing, volunteering, or working with children of any age in various settings. If you need assistance with identifying a placement for these hours, contact our Student Success Center.


Steps to Apply

Step 1 | Attend an Information Session

Attend an information session to learn more about our programs and our admission requirements. This is also an opportunity to get your questions answered.

Register to attend an upcoming information session here.

Step 2 | Create your Cal State Apply application

Visit to create your application profile. Select the term you are applying then select your degree goal. Select graduate as the degree goal to apply to the MA plus credential program, then select your credential. Select teaching and service credential as the degree goal to apply to the credential only, then select your credential.

Step 3 | Submit your transcripts

Obtain one official sealed transcript from each college/university where you studied and submit the official sealed transcript(s) to:

Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations
San Jose State University 
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0017

If the college/university provides official electronic transcripts, the institution can email the transcripts to etranscript@sjsu.eduQuestions pertaining to transcripts, GPA calculations, and application fees should be directed to

Step 4 | Upload Special Education Department Program Materials to your Cal State Apply Application in Quadrant 4 

In the Quadrant 4 Program Materials section of the application submit all of the following documents.

Pre-Professional Hours

Submit the verification of 45 hours of preprofessional experience form found here [pdf]. The document must be signed by someone in a supervisory role. 

Certificate of Clearance

All applicants are required to submit a Certificate of Clearance from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to be admitted to the program. Learn more about the steps to obtain this document here. This is a two-step process that can take several weeks to process. We recommend doing this early in order to receive the required clearance in time.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Applicants need two letters of recommendation. Submit the names and email addresses of those who will provide a letter on your behalf. The recommenders will be contacted directly by Cal State Apply to submit the letter. 

Personal Statement

Applicants are asked to provide a statement describing their experiences with individuals disabilities and why they want to be a special education teacher. 

Basic Skills Requirement

The California Education Code and Title 5 Regulations stipulate that all applicants for a credential to serve in public schools in the state of California must verify basic skills proficiency before the credential will be issued. Further, the Basic Skills Requirement must be met prior to being assigned to student teaching or serving as an Intern. Applicants that do not submit verification of Basic Skills at the time of admission must submit this by the end of the first semester in the program AND PRIOR to student teaching or serving as an Intern. 

Basic Skills can be met through a variety of ways including but not limited to CBEST, qualifying coursework, and SAT/ACT/ AP scores. Learn more about meeting Basic Skills Requirement here. If you are not able to provide Basic Skills Verification at the time of application you must respond to the application question indicating where you are in the process. 

  • I believe I have met Basic Skills through some combination of coursework and exams but need to complete the verification process
  • I need to take the CBEST exam and have scheduled a testing date. 
  • I need to take the CBEST exam but have not scheduled a testing date.
  • I do not know if I have met Basic Skills Requirements.

Subject Matter Competency

California Education Code stipulates that all applicants for a teaching credential must demonstrate that they are proficient in the subject matter area of their intended credential. Subject Matter Competency must be met prior to being assigned to student teaching or serving as an Intern. Applicants that do not submit verification of Subject Matter Competency at the time of admission must submit this by the end of the first semester in the program AND PRIOR to student teaching or serving as an Intern. 

Subject Matter Competency for the Education Specialist credential can be met through a qualifying degree major, CTC approved subject matter preparation program, CSET, or coursework addressing each of the Commission adopted subject matter domains.  Learn more about meeting Subject matter competence here. If you are not able to provide evidence of Subject Matter Competency at the time of application you must respond to the application question indicating where you are in the process. 

  • I believe I have met Subject Matter Competency through coursework but need to complete the verification process.
  • I need to take one or more CSET exams and have scheduled a testing date.
  • I need to take one or more CSET exams but have not scheduled a testing date.
  • I do not know if I have met Subject Matter Competency.

Step 5 | Pay the $70 CSU application fee and submit

Congratulations you have applied to the SJSU Special Education Program! Applicants have an additional 20 days after the deadline to submit any outstanding documents.

Step 6 | Application Review and Interview

Complete applications will be referred to the department of special education by Graduate Admissions. The department will review the application and contact you to schedule an interview. The department interview is an opportunity for us to get to know you better and learn more about your experiences in the field. We also provide additional guidance on meeting BSR and SMC and any next steps that are needed.

Completing the Credential Requirements

As stated on the program roadmap provided to candidates upon admission to the program - Candidates must meet ALL of the following requirements in order to be recommended for an Education Specialist Credential:

  • Possess a baccalaureate or higher degree (other than in professional education) from a regionally accredited institution

  • Possess a Certificate of Clearance from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

  • Satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement

  • Meet Subject Matter Competency

  • Complete all required elements of the credential program and attain a GPA of 3.0 in all credential coursework

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and provisions of the Constitution of the United States through coursework or the US Constitution Exam

  • Pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA)

  • Pass the California Education Specialist Teaching Performance Assessment for those who entered in Summer 2022 or after (does not yet apply to Early Childhood Special Education credential candidates)

Students are regularly monitored by their assigned advisors for completion of their program requirements. Students meet a minimum of once per semester with their advisor to review progress.


CCTC Education Specialist Teaching Performance Expectations

Programs are responsible for assessing each candidate on the Universal and Education Specialist Credential Specific Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) prior to recommending them for the preliminary credential. TPEs are aligned with course outcomes and assignments in each syllabus.

Click on the links below to review TPEs and their descriptions as defined by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

Applying for the Education Specialist Credential

Upon completion of all program requirements including the Health Module and CPR certification,  students must apply for the credential through the Lurie College of Education Credential Office. The LCOE Credential Analyst will recommend you for the credential with CTC. 

Near the end of each semester the LCOE Credential Office will hold a workshop for Education Specialist credential completers. We highly recommend that credential completers attend the workshop. After attending the workshop, review the Education Specialist Preliminary Credential Checklist [pdf] and begin assembling all of the required items. 

Once grades have posted from your final semester of coursework, email the special education department office and request a copy of your PPG (allow 3-5 days for processing). Submit the signed PPG and all items from the checklist to the credentials office to be recommended for the Preliminary Credential.

We advise that candidates do not delay in submitting the items to the credential office as credentials can take time to process with CTC. Your employing district will need a copy of your credential in order to complete your hiring contract. 

The Preliminary Credential is valid for 5 years. During this time period credential holders complete an Induction Program in their district of employment. Upon completion of the Induction Program the employing district will submit a recommendation for your Clear Education Specialist Credential.

SJSU Credential Services Office

Location: Sweeney Hall 101
Phone: 408 924 3541
Fax: 408 924 3713
Office Hours: Monday-Friday | 8am-12pm, 1-5pm

Ha Thai
Senior Credential Analyst

Catherine Davis
Credential Analyst

Additional Resources

For information about advising, financial aid opportunities, forms, and more, visit our Student Resources webpage.