Special Education Credential

The California Special Education (Education Specialist Instruction) Teaching Credential prepares candidates to teach in the area of mild/moderate disabilities in grades K-12 (in a program approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing). Biola's special education credential program is the only fully online California special education credential program offered by a faith-based university.

Undergraduate students wishing to pursue a special education credential must choose the “Special Education” concentration as a part of the Teacher Preparation Program.

Special education students will receive advising from knowledgeable staff in the School of Education. The director of special education is available for advising appointments as well. View the program sheet here.

The main elements — completed predominantly at the graduate level — are as follows:

  • Special education coursework (four classes at the undergraduate level, four classes at the graduate level)
  • Fieldwork experiences
  • Student teaching
  • Additional requirements and exams

Special Education Coursework


  • LEDU 361/SEED 561: Issues in Special Education (3)
  • LEDU 362/SEED 562: Assessment and Evaluation of Exceptional Learners (3)
  • LEDU 363/SEED 563: Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Inclusive Settings (3)
  • LEDU 364/SEED 564: Behavior and Classroom Management for Students with Special Needs (3)
  • LEDU 369/SEED 580: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders (3)
  • SEED 532: Diagnosis and Remediation in Reading (3)
  • SEED 582: Consultation, Collaboration, and Communication for the Education Specialist (3)
  • SEED 583: Curriculum Design for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3)
  • SEED 584/SEED 585: Student Teaching in Special Education (6, 6)

All special education coursework must be completed with a grade of "B-" or higher. Overall, a 3.0 GPA must be maintained in the teacher preparation course sequence. See course catalogue for complete details or the homepage for course descriptions.

Fieldwork Experiences


Students are required to fulfill fieldwork hours throughout their program. Listed below are the courses that require fieldwork hours. Biola will arrange the placements for the students with partnering districts, in collaboration with special education students to ensure a placement in your preferred location.


LEDU 362/SEED 562: Assessment and Evaluation of Exceptional Learners (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates will observe in a special education classroom for 10 hours. During their fieldwork experience, candidates will observe and report on a student’s assessment results and make recommendations for instructional strategies that will meet that student’s needs based on those assessments.

LEDU 363/SEED 563: Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Inclusive Settings (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe in an inclusive classroom for 10 hours. During their fieldwork experience, candidates will select several topics of interest to explore in depth, interview the fieldwork teacher to determine how he/she addresses those topics in the inclusive classroom, and make observations and recommendations for beneficial classroom practices.

LEDU 364/SEED 564: Behavior and Classroom Management for Students with Special Needs (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe in a classroom for 10 hours. During their fieldwork experience, candidates observe a student who has behaviors to address, and they develop a plan to effectively manage the behavior based on teacher interviews, behavior plans currently in place, and the strategies recommended in the course textbook.

LEDU 369/SEED 580: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe students with ASD in an inclusive classroom for 10 hours. During the fieldwork experience, candidates observe a student for a case study project in which they will describe the student and potential interventions and accommodations that can meet the selected student’s individual needs.

SEED 532: Diagnosis and Remediation in Reading (3 credits, 20 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe in a classroom for 20 hours. During the fieldwork experience, candidates will choose an intervention student and focus on assessment of the reading disability, develop intervention decisions and goals, and write a final report with accurate information for school professionals and parents.

SEED 582: Consultation, Collaboration, and Communication for the Education Specialist (3 credits, 10 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe in a special education classroom for 10 hours. During the fieldwork experience, candidates complete a collaboration project analyzing the collaboration efforts with other school professionals and families for the benefit of students with special needs.

SEED 583: Curriculum Design for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (3 credits, 40 fieldwork hours required)

  • Candidates observe and participate in a classroom for 40 hours. During their fieldwork experience, candidates observe two teachers to analyze their teaching strategies and how they maximize learning and enhance support for students of all cultural and ethnic groups. Candidates also teach two lessons and engage in reflective pedagogy.

Student Teaching


Student teaching is the final course in Biola's Education Specialist credential program. Each student teacher is assigned a master teacher in a special education classroom (candidates may complete their 16-week student teaching in one classroom, or they may divide their placement into two 8-week classrooms). Biola University supervisors mentor student teachers by making regular site visitations and giving weekly seminars.

Special education credential candidates may student teach in either public or non-public schools (but not private schools) in California to meet their credential requirements.

To view a list of the schools and districts with which we partner, click here. Please see the Special Education Student Teaching Handbook for more information.

Additional Requirements and Exams


Required Prior to Student Teaching

Additional Requirements

  • CPR certification (infant, child and adult). Must meet American Heart Association or American Red Cross guidelines. No online courses accepted.
  • Documentation of tuberculosis (TB) test clearance administered within 3 months prior to start of program (find a local health clinic offering TB services here)

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