Feb 25, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024

Preliminary Education Specialist Credential - Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN)


California credential programs, approved by (CTC), authorize the granting of special education credentials as “basic” credentials. The approved programs at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) include the following:

  • Preliminary Education Specialist Credentials
  • Clear (Induction) Education Specialist Credentials
  • Intern Credentials in Special Education
  • Added authorizations (see advisor for a complete listing of approved added authorizations offered)
  • Education Specialist Credential Program combined with a Master of Arts Degree in Special Education

Standards for the English language authorization are embedded in the preliminary education specialist programs and are approved by the CTC. The credential completed under these requirements will authorize the holder to provide the following services to English learners:

  1. instruction for English language development; and
  2. specially designed content instruction delivered in English.


Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN) authorizes the holder to conduct assessments, provide instruction, and special education-related services to individuals with mild to moderate support needs across a range of disabilities in a wide variety of general education and specialized academic instructional settings, included but not limited to the home, natural environments, educational settings in hospitals and treatment centers, and classroom or itinerant instructional delivery and/or consultation in public/nonpublic school programs in kindergarten, grades 1 through 12, and classes organized primarily for adults in services across the continuum of program options available.

  1. Standards for the English language authorization are embedded in the preliminary Education Specialist programs and are approved by the the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The credentials completed under these requirements will authorize the holder to provide the following services to English learners:
  • Instruction for English language development; and
  • Specially designed content instruction delivered in English.
  1. The preliminary Education Specialist credentials authorize holders to provide instructional services to students with Autism Spectrum Disorders within the specialty areas of their credentials. 
  2. All Education Specialist Credential Programs also address the continuum of service delivery. The continuum includes: general education settings; resource rooms or services; special education settings; special schools; home/hospital settings; correctional facilities; non-public, non-sectarian schools and agencies as defined in education code sections 56365 and 56366; and alternative and non-traditional instructional public school settings other than classrooms.

NOTE: Candidates are responsible for examinations required for the credential by the state of California (e.g., CBEST, CSET, RICA) and should review the CTC website for current requirements or consult with an advisor for current policies.



  • Students in upper-division standing at Cal State LA are eligible to apply and enter the program. 
  • Readmission: Effective January 5, 2015, all applicants for re-admission will be required to complete a re-admission protocol and interview for consideration. Please see College of Education , Office for Student Services website for specifics.
  • Admission requirements are based on Title V, California Code of Regulations, University regulations, and College of Education (COE) policies.

Admission Requirements

  • Application to the California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA)
  • College of Education  application for admission
  • Minimum 2.75 GPA in the last 60 semester units or 90 quarter units
  • Official transcripts (Transcripts for international students must be evaluated by approved agency)
  • Strong and supportive letters of recommendation
  • A well written and meaningful philosophy of education statement
  • Verification of negative TB test taken within four years of admission to credential program by a personal physician, Cal State LA Health Center, or other local health center.
  • Background clearance from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Candidates are responsible for reviewing the CTC website for current requirements and should consult with an advisor for current policies.  

Prequisites to the Program

Eligible applicants are initially admitted to the College of Education  with conditions, but in order to continue in the education specialist credential program, they must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Completion of EDSP 4001  or equivalent, (with verification of completion of 45 hours of early field experience, signed and approved by the instructor) or holding a valid California Teaching/Service credential.
  • Completion of a successful oral interview and program planning sheet for each credential objective.
  • Interview with and recommendation for admission to the teaching credential by the admission committee (if applicable).

International Students only:

In addition to all of the above, verification of writing proficiency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of UNIV 4000  or UNIV 4010 ; or
  • Graduate students may meet this requirement with a score of 41 or higher on the writing section of the CBEST and must show their original CBEST scores to the staff in the Office for Student Services for verification; or
  • Acceptable alternative by petition.

Additional Information

Intern Credential - The Special Education Intern Program was established to provide candidates with specific support while teaching and completing credential requirements for the Preliminary credential. (click here for information)

Clear (Induction) Credential - This program provides an option for special education teachers to clear their preliminary credentials through a university induction program. (click here for details)

Directed Teaching Information  - Candidates are not automatically admitted to early fieldwork or final directed teaching by the completion of coursework alone. (click here for details)

ITEP - For students in these specific majors: Chicano/Latino StudiesLiberal Studies, and Urban Learning (click here for details)



MMSN Program Requirements (47 units)