Extensive Support Needs Education Specialist Credential

APU’s Moderate/Severe Disabilities Education Specialist Credential program prepares educators to skillfully and compassionately guide moderately to severely disabled students.

Azusa Pacific University’s Extensive Support Needs Education Specialist Credential program prepares candidates to earn a California Extensive Support Needs Education Specialist Preliminary Credential. This rigorous program includes comprehensive foundation courses emphasizing teaching and educational methods, as well as specialization courses that provide content required for the education specialist credential. Practical classroom and fieldwork experiences provide application to theory, preparing candidates to teach in diverse settings. The mode of delivery includes face-to-face instruction, campus-based classes, distance learning, and clinical experiences.

Upon completion of the requirements listed below and all of the requirements detailed in the Steps to a Credential, the candidate will have earned an Extensive Support Needs Education Specialist Preliminary Credential.

Computer and Software Requirements

Each student must have a Mac or PC laptop or notebook running the latest operating system with a word processing program and a stable internet connection.

Course Requirements

Foundation Courses
TESP 501Art of Teaching I: Foundations of Teaching 13
TESP 502Science of Teaching I: How Students Learn 13
TESP 503The Soul of Teaching: Tapestry of American Education3
TESP 504Schools and Educational Systems3
Specialization Courses
SPED 517Art of Teaching II: Pedagogy and Instructional Design for Education Specialists3
SPED 518Science of Teaching II: Effective Assessment Strategies for Learners with Special Needs3
SPED 525Methods of Teaching Reading and Writing3
SPED 527Teaching Students with Extensive Support Needs3
SPED 528Assessment and IEP Development: Mild to Extensive Support Needs3
SPED 529Positive Behavior Supports for Students with Exceptional Needs3
SPED 570Clinical Practice I: Extensive Support Needs2
SPED 573Clinical Practice II: Extensive Support Needs2
Total Units34

These courses must be completed prior to beginning clinical practice.

NOTE: A maximum of 9 units may be taken per 8-week session. Completion of all credential requirements—including all examinations, coursework, and other requirements—must be met before the candidate will be recommended for a credential.

NOTE:  Candidates who hold an intern credential must enroll in a candidate support and supervision course (SPED 500) during each 8-week session (fall or spring) in which they are not enrolled in a clinical practice course.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to submit a credential application through the Office of Credentials upon completion of a credential program to receive his/her California educator credential. This request may be submitted to the credentials office up to one month before completion of all credential requirements.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.


Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. Engage and support all students in learning.
  2. Create and maintain effective environments for student learning.
  3. Understand and organize subject matter for student learning.
  4. Plan instruction and design learning experiences for all students.
  5. Assess student learning.
  6. Develop as a professional educator.