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 Insitute.

Overview of 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); June 1 (Fall); November 1 (Spring)

Initial Eligibility and Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent 
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75                                                                                     
  • Completion of Certificate of Clearance
  • Completion of California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) (3 sections) or Subject Matter Competency through Undergraduate degree. Contact Credentials office:     
  • 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.

Curriculum and Roadmaps

Preliminary Credential

Preliminary Credential with Intern Option

Preliminary Credential for candidates with clear single or multiple subject credential

Preliminary Credential and Masters of Art Degree

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.

Steps to Apply

All of the following must be completed by the Admission Deadline to be considered into a program of interest. View our department application checklist (last revised March 2021) to assist you.

Step 1 | Begin your Cal State Apply application

Visit to create your application profile and pay the $70 CSU application fee.

Step 2 | 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 3 | Apply to the Department of Special Education

  1. Attend an upcoming Information Session
  2. Complete our Department Application
  3. Complete our Pre-Professional Experience form [pdf]
  4. Submit 2 letters of recommendation [pdf]
  5. Email your Department Application to


Subject Matter Competence Requirement

For candidates applying to the Mild/Moderate or Moderate/Severe K-12 programs you will need to take a CSET exam as an admission requirement. For those interested in working in K-8 settings, take the Multiple Subject exam all 3 sub tests.

For those interested in teaching high school grades 9-12 take one of the several Single Subject Exams - 3 sub tests offered as follows: art, English, foreign language, mathematics including foundational math, music, social science or science including foundational level general science or a specialized science such as biology. 

For candidates applying to the Early Childhood Special Ed credential you do not take the CSET exam but instead must have 9 units of early childhood courses on a transcript. The courses should cover the early years of childhood, developmental milestones or families. This needs to be approved by the ECSE coordinator, Dr Hughes.

Completing the Credential Requirements

Credential students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in order to file a Education Specialist Instruction Credential.

CCTC Education Specialist Standards

Students in the Education Specialist Teaching Credential programs are expected to demonstrate competence in each area addressed by the Program Standards, the Specialty Standards and the Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) as outlined in the California Commission Education Specialist Teaching and Other Related Services Credential Program Standards [pdf], and listed belowIn addition, there are three SPED standards.

Teacher Performance Expectations

Programs are responsible for assessing each candidate on the Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) prior to recommending a candidate for the preliminary credential program. TPEs are identified by specific assigned TPE elements which are aligned with course outcomes and assignments in each syllabus.

Click on the link below of the credential program you are enrolled in to review the TPEs and their descriptions as defined by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

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.