How to Become a Special Education Teacher in California

Are you interested to know how to become a special education teacher in California? Then this article is specially for you.

Is your current job no longer fulfilling you? Many veterans are on the lookout for new opportunities for service after they leave the military.

Alternatively, you may already be an educator who is pursuing an online certificate in special education.

Consider these things if you’re looking into how to become a special education teacher in California if you’re interested in working with students who suffer from a wide range of disabilities.

Continue to know more about how to become a special education teacher in California.

Description of Duties

These teachers work with students who have a variety of disabilities ranging from learning difficulties to mental health issues.

In order to meet the unique educational needs of their students, special education teachers modify and document their lessons and subjects accordingly.

Overseeing classrooms and study halls is a common part of a teacher’s job, as is meeting with parents and working with other administrators.

Competencies and Experience That Can Be Put to Use

Teachers of children with special needs must be patient and kind first and foremost.

Because of this, they must have a deep desire to help these children succeed.

A prospective teacher should possess a wide range of abilities, including the ability to plan ahead, communicate clearly, and make well-informed decisions.

Teachers with previous teaching experience, particularly in the field of children with disabilities, will be more noticeable than those who do not.

How to Become a Special Education Teacher in California

1.Start Gaining Experience as Soon as You Can.

See if there are any openings in a special day class, a resource room, or some other place where you can work closely with people who have disabilities.

Apply to work as a para-educator (also known as a teacher’s aide or a paraprofessional) or volunteer.

If you want to work as a paraeducator, you’ll need to apply to a lot of schools and be willing to work part-time or as a substitute rather than full-time.

2. Determine Which Disabled Population you Want to Focus on.

Work with a disability population that interests you more than others in your area of expertise.

There are five major areas of certification in California: Education for children with developmental disabilities.

Disabilities ranging from mild to severe, such as visual impairment, deafness, and inability to hear.

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3. Bachelor’s Degree Required.

Psychology, sociology, child development, ethnic studies, and math/English education are among the best majors to pursue if you want to become a teacher in the future and prepare for graduate school.

Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field of study, your chances of a successful career will probably not be affected if you do at least some work study in the fields of education, psychology, sociology, or any other related area.

To lessen the burden of obtaining your Level I credential, you can earn a Special Education minor in conjunction with your bachelor’s degree at many of California’s state universities (San Jose State, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Los Angeles, etc.).

If you can, try to cut down on the number of courses you need for your master’s degree as much as possible.

4. Research the Credential Program you’re Interested in.

Only a small number of private schools and UCs provide special education credentials.

One or more special education pre-certificate programs are available from each of the CSUs, ranging from mild/moderate to moderate/severe.

There are many universities, such as San Jose State and San Francisco State, that offer nearly every credential imaginable and have large departments dedicated to Special Education.

Humboldt State, for example, only offers one or two majors. Before deciding which conference to attend, do your homework and figure out what you want to do.

5. Use the CBEST

Multiple Subjects CSET (California Subject Examination for Teachers) Multiple Subjects test (if you want to teach in high school you might take a CSET Single Subjects test).

To be considered for certification programs, students must achieve passing scores on both of these exams.

6. Apply

Organize your life ahead of time. As a result of the budget cuts that CSUs have been forced to make, admissions are often only open to freshmen for the fall term, and some programs may only be able to accept a limited number of new students.

7. Make an Appointment with a Counselor to Discuss Your Educational Goals.

A general education credential, either multiple or single-subject, will allow you to skip several classes and tests required for the Special Education credential.

You can enter a special education program right away if you don’t already have a credential.

If you have a special education credential, you can teach all grades K-12, except Early Childhood and Moderate-Severe, which only allow you to teach adults up to the age of 22 in addition to the grades K-12.

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8. Make a Decision About Whether or Not you Want to do a Work-Study Program.

Beware of thinking that this is merely an internship. A full-time internship in Special Education as a teacher entails not only working full-time but also enrolling in classes at your college or university.

Getting your first two years of teaching experience out of the way with an internship is a great way to jumpstart your career as a teacher and earn a great wage while you’re at it.

Interning is hard work, but it can be extremely rewarding when you finally get your preliminary credential and realize you’ve already had two years of experience under your belt.

You should be aware of this before beginning your internship.

An intern credential is only valid for two years and cannot be extended. Before your internship credential expires, you must have completed all of your classes.

9. Request Your Certification by Filling out the Appropriate Form.

A Level I and a Level II credential will be awarded.

As soon as you complete your Level I credential, which will include the majority of the classes, you’ll have five years to complete your Level II credential, which will include additional university courses as well as a teaching experience for at least two full years.

Through the university, and the BTSA process for general education teachers, this is done, but it is a little tougher than the general education process.

With a master’s degree in special education and a masters project, thesis or seminar, it can be combined with a doctorate degree in special education.

After three and a half years of work, an extra semester of work is well worth it, and most districts will pay you a small stipend for having an MA.

There is no requirement that you stay at the same university for your Level II if you decide to move or just try out a new college.

The BTSA part of your Level II credential will be handled by your school district.

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10. Don’t Be Afraid to Look for Work!

Since there has been an increase in the number of students receiving special education and a high rate of teacher turnover, there are many more job openings than applicants in special education.

People who are interested in working in the field of special education will find a wide variety of positions available.

Anywhere in California, you’ll almost certainly find work, and the job security is unmatched.

There is a good chance that you’ll enjoy working with people with disabilities if this is something that has ever crossed your mind.


If you’re interested in working with children with special needs, becoming a special education teacher in California can be a rewarding career choice.

You’ll be able to pursue your interests in lifelong learning and civil rights advocacy while also helping a greater good.

Here is a list of the basic steps to becoming a special education teacher in the state of California.

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