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Clear Education Specialist Credential

Credential: For new and aspiring teachers seeking to work with students with special needs. Can be earned as a stand-alone credential or as part of a Master of Arts in Special Education degree.

Program Overview

You aspire to teach others.

This credential clears your preliminary education specialist credentials. It can be earned alone or as part of the Master of Arts in Special Education program. The Clear Education Specialist Credential requirements are incorporated into this advanced degree and are strategically aligned and blended with induction requirements to equip special education teachers in induction programs to address the clear (level II) credential proficiency requirements.

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Application Information

Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

We’re here to make the entire process a simple one. We’ll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

Program Start Date(s):

  • Fall 2020 – August 31, 2020

Application Deadline(s):

  • Fall 2020 – August 3, 2020
    All returning & exceptions students - July 23, 2020

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your undergraduate GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy per your particular program.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission under exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's Clear Education Specialist Credential program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript from an institution that indicates the completion of an undergraduate degree.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit an online application for admissions (including $50 non-refundable application fee, which is waived for PLNU alums, current or former military and their dependents, and PLNU employees).
  2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. (If you are a PLNU alumnus, please notify your counselor to have your transcripts retrieved. You do not need to request transcripts from the PLNU Office of Records.)

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
    gradprocessing@pointloma.edu
  3. Submit a personal essay, 2-3 pages in length and double spaced, that addresses the following topics:
  4. Provide two professional recommendations. You will be asked to register your recommenders by providing their names, titles, and email addresses.

    • Describe your professional career goals for the next five years.

    • Describe the variety of experiences that helped you determine these goals.

    • Explain what motivates you to work in California’s diverse schools.

    • Explain why you are applying to PLNU, a private Christian university.

  5. For credential seekers only: Submit basic skills exam (CBEST or equivalent) scores. This can be demonstrated by taking the CBEST exam

    • OR Multiple Subject CSET plus writing skills examination

    • OR CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examination

    • OR providing proof of a valid California teaching credential

Start Application

*Exceptions Policy: If you have below a 3.0 GPA in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

State Authorization

State authorization is a formal determination that PLNU is approved to conduct educational activities regulated by that state or U.S. Territory. PLNU is not required to obtain state authorization in every state or U.S. Territory, and the university has opted at this time not to seek authorization in certain states and U.S. Territories. Additionally, PLNU meets the criteria for exemption from authorization in certain states.

At this time, PLNU does not have authorization in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Territories. 

Authorizations in specific states may change periodically. PLNU recommends contacting PLNU admissions at (800) 733-7770 for the latest information.

Professional Licensure or Certification

This program is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and meets the requirements for educator certification in the state of California, where Point Loma Nazarene University is physically located. PLNU cannot confirm whether or not specific programs meet out-of-state requirements for Professional Licensure or Certification. Information about out-of-state requirements in teacher credentialing is available on this website

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Career Opportunities

The Master of Arts in Special Education will allow you to advance your practice or further specialize. The program is designed for current education specialists.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does a candidate have to complete a MASPED degree in order to be recommended for the clear teaching credential?

No. Students can clear their special ed credential without the MASPED. Students can also earn the MASPED without the clear.

When can I start the Clear Education Specialist program?

Candidates may start the induction program leading to a clear credential only after they hold a valid preliminary education specialist credential AND only while employed as an education specialist in a public, private, or non-public California school.

How many units does the Clear Education Specialist program requires?

To earn the clear credential, candidates must complete the induction program of six units of coaching and nine units of additional coursework that meets the goals of the candidates individual learning plan (ILP). The total for the entire Clear Education Specialist program is 15 graduate units.

How long does the Clear Education Specialist program take?

As required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), the induction program must take place for a minimum of two years. The program begins in the fall only and is contiguous (fall, spring, and summer semesters) until it concludes in the spring of the second year.

How long do I have to complete the program?

The CTC requires all candidates with a preliminary education specialist credential to obtain their professional clear teaching credential within five years.

Are there other requirements to earn the clear special education credential?

Yes. The university can only recommend a candidate to the CTC for their clear credential after all induction requirements are satisfactorily completed AND after the candidate has completed two years of full time teaching as an education specialist at a California public, private, or non-public school while holding the preliminary Education Specialist Credential.