Education Specialist: Early Childhood Special Education Credential

Program Description

The Education Specialist: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Credential program is a distance learning program offered fully online to candidates across the state of California who are more than 30 miles away from the Sacramento State campus (those within 30 miles of campus take some courses in person while distance learners join via remote technology). Courses are taken in the evening. Fieldwork is completed in a school district/program located near the candidate, while supervision of fieldwork is provided online in a mostly live/synchronous format.

The Education Specialist ECSE Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to provide educational services to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and transitional kindergarteners, kindergarten age children with disabilities and their families in home-based programs, center-based settings, and school-based settings. This credential embeds the English Learner Authorization (ELA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Authorization, which prepares candidates to work with second language learners and students with autism spectrum disorder, respectively. Additionally, teacher candidates may choose to apply to be an intern during the course of their program. 

  • The ECSE Teaching Credential provides candidates with applied experiences through coursework connecting theory to practice and supervised work with children (birth to kindergarten, all disabilities) across early field experiences and two student teaching requirements: 1) Infant/Toddler, and 2) Preschool/Kindergarten (student teachers have the option of being employed on an intern credential). The teacher preparation coursework focuses on preparing effective teachers for working with diverse student populations with an emphasis on preparing socially just teachers and leaders for systems change, committed to equity and inclusion in culturally and linguistically diverse schools and communities.

Bilingual Authorization (BA)

The BA is a specialized authorization that authorizes the credential holder to provide instruction in the primary language to candidates with limited English proficiency. This option is available concurrently for all program candidates with oral and written fluency as well as cultural/historical knowledge of the target group (currently approved languages include Spanish or Hmong; other languages are in the process of being approved). Candidates can complete additional requirements to add the Bilingual Authorization in Spanish or Hmong. For additional information on the BA option, contact the College of Education Equity Coordinator (https:// for an advising appointment to review your transcripts.

At successful completion of all program requirements, the candidate can be recommended to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for the Credential.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) establishes admissions requirements for all preliminary teaching credential programs and the CSU Chancellor's Office further specifies admissions requirements. The requirements listed below are subject to change, based on actions of these two governing bodies. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the Academic and Program Services Office in Eureka Hall 401, (916) 278-6639, an advisor in the Student Success Center, or the program website for the most current admissions requirements.

Program Admission Requirements

  1. A Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university; students who obtained a bachelor’s degree outside of the US must follow the direction on the Applicants with Foreign Documents website.
  2. Minimum of 45 hours of experience related to working with children or youth in a PreK-12 classroom or equivalent is recommended.
  3. Submit two references: one from a person who has observed the applicant’s academic competence (current or former instructor) and the other from a person who has observed the applicant working with children or youth. NOTE: References from family members will not be accepted.
  4. Submit a graduate writing sample.
  5. Satisfy writing proficiency by meeting the Basic Skills Requirement.
  6. Satisfy the Basic Skills Requirement. For more detailed information, visit the CTC website.  Example of ways to satisfy Basic Skills Competence include:
    1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST)
    2. Pass the CSET Multiple Subjects plus Writing Skills examination
    3. Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) or the CSU Placement Examinations
    4. Achieve qualifying score on the SAT or ACT (see the CTC website)
    5. Score a 3 or above on specific AP examinations (see the CTC website)
    6. Earn a grade of "B-" or better in specific college or university courses as detailed on the CTC website.
    7. Applicants can “Mix and Match” options, as detailed on the CTC website.
  7. Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.5 overall or 2.75 in last 60 semester or 90 quarter units as evidenced from official transcripts from every college/university attended.
  8. Complete Credential Prerequisite Courses : CHAD 30, EDUC 170, EDUC 100AEDUC 100B List of equivalent coursework is located on the Teaching Credentials website.
  9. Certificate of Clearance (COC) security clearance issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing: evidence of submitting the COC application and fingerprints must be submitted at application.
  10. Participate in a Mandatory Interview.

Detailed descriptions of all admissions requirements are contained in the program’s application instructions, which are available on the Teaching Credentials Application website.

Admission Procedures

All applicants, including Sacramento State graduates, must submit an application through Cal State Apply.

Additional Information

Certificate of Clearance (COC/Fingerprint Clearance)

All applicants must submit verification of having been issued a security clearance by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) before they will be allowed to officially start the credential program. 

EXCEPTION – it is not necessary to apply for the Certificate of Clearance if you can verify you hold a valid California certificate or credential such as an emergency permit for substitute teaching, Pre-intern certificate, PPS credential, Child Development Associate or Supervisor Permit, Adult Vocational Education credential or a valid Multiple or Single Subject credential.

NOTE: If you answered “YES” to any of the Personal and Professional Fitness questions on the Certificate of Clearance application, you will need to obtain the official arrest record and court paperwork regarding each incident. Refer to the CTC website for instructions, forms, and where to submit all additional paperwork. If you have any questions, contact the CTC directly via email.

Verification of completing the United States Constitution Requirement

California Education Code, Section 44335, requires all candidates for Multiple Subject, Single Subject, and Education Specialist credentials to demonstrate knowledge of the United States Constitution by completing a college-level course with a “C” or equivalent grade or better, or pass a college-level examination in the subject, or verify AP exam credit for American History or American Government/Politics. While this is not a program admission requirement, this requirement must be completed before the credential can be granted at the end of the credential program. Most CSU graduates have met this requirement. More information can be found by contacting pre-credential advisors in the College of Education Student Success Center.

Foreign Transcript Evaluation

Individuals who have completed college or university course work at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete evaluation of foreign transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents prior to applying for a teaching credential program. This evaluation is required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). It is recommended that credential program applicants have their documents evaluated by WES, since both the University Office of Graduate Studies and the Commission will accept the WES evaluation. Applicants should select the WES INTERNATIONAL CREDENTIAL ADVANTAGE PACKAGE (ICAP) Course by Course Evaluation. For additional information on foreign transcript evaluations please visit the CTC website and the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Continuation in Credential Coursework

Continued Enrollment: Continued enrollment in the Credential Program is contingent upon candidates maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in all professional education courses. If incomplete grades or grades of "D", "F", and "NC" (No Credit) are received in professional education courses, the candidate must withdraw from the program unless a specific exception has been approved by the Credential Appeals Committee. Any student on academic probation is subject to automatic disqualification unless approved by the Credential Appeals Committee to continue.

Grade Requirement for the Credential: Any grade below C- in a required credential course must be retaken in order to meet credential requirements.

Delays: Candidates who have to delay progress in the Credential Program will file a "Program Delay Petition" in the Teaching Credentials Office. A student returning after a delay may be accommodated on a space available basis. Candidates must return and complete the program within the seven-year limit for graduate programs.

Appeal Process: A student who has been formally admitted to the program has the right to appeal to the Credential Appeals Committee about any policy affecting program continuation, except for those policies set by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing or state education code. Appeals petitions and assistance are available in the Teaching Credentials Office.


Admission into programs leading to licensure does not guarantee that students will obtain a license. Licensure requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or tax payer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure requirements.

EDSP 119Legal and Social Foundations of Inclusive Education3
EDSP 200Seminar I: Early Childhood Special Education1
EDSP 201Developing Collaborative Partnerships with Families, Professionals, and Communities in ECSE3
EDSP 208Positive Behavioral Supports and Evidence-Based Practices for Youth with Autism and Related Issues3
EDSP 210Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education3
EDSP 211Curriculum, Intervention Strategies, and Environments in ECSE I: Infants & Toddlers3
EDSP 212Inclusive Curriculum, Intervention Strategies, and Environments in ECSE II: Preschool & Kindergarten3
EDSP 213Early Language and Literacy Development, Instruction, and Intervention in ECSE3
EDSP 217Foundations of Positive Behavioral Supports: Creating Safe and engaging Learning Environments3
EDSP 218Advanced program planning/instruction: Students with Extensive Support Needs/Multiple Disabilities3
EDSP 238Culminating Seminar for Education Specialist Candidates3
EDSP 293Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms3


EDSP 474ECSE Early Fieldwork Experience I3
EDSP 476ECSE Student Teaching: Infants & Toddlers4
EDSP 477ECSE Student Teaching: Preschool/Kindergarten6

1 Students can take the One-Year Pathway OR the Two-Year Pathway to fulfill their Field Experience requirement.


EDSP 474ECSE Early Fieldwork Experience I3
EDSP 475ECSE Early Fieldwork Experience II3 - 9
or EDSP 478 ECSE Intern Teaching
EDSP 476ECSE Student Teaching: Infants & Toddlers4 - 9
or EDSP 478 ECSE Intern Teaching
EDSP 477ECSE Student Teaching: Preschool/Kindergarten6 - 9
or EDSP 478 ECSE Intern Teaching

1 Students can take the One-Year Pathway OR the Two-Year Pathway to fulfill their Field Experience requirement.