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Become a Teacher

The San Diego County Office of Education offers an Education Specialist Intern Credential program.

If you are interested in becoming a Special Education Teacher, Teacher Effectiveness and Preparation Intern program provides a pathway to earning your Mild to Moderate, Moderate to Severe, Early Childhood Education Specialist and Deaf and Hard of Hearing credential while teaching in the classroom. 

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Program Description

This is a 2-year credential program toward becoming a Special Education teacher in K-12 or pre-K settings. After the first 3 months of required preservice coursework and passage of the Basic Skills and subject matter requirements, you will be qualified to seek a full-time job in a special education teaching position as an "intern" while you finish the rest of the credential program.

The commitment to coursework over the 2-year period is 2 nights per week.  The cost for the first 3 months of preservice is $1,200.00, and then $10,000.00 for the remaining intern coursework, paid in installments if preferred.  Deaf and Hard of Hearing credential is $1,500.00 for preservice, and $12,000.00 for the remaining intern coursework.  Books not included.

Preservice Component

All applicants are required to complete 120 hours of preservice preparation. This preparation includes classroom management and planning, reading/language arts, specialty specific pedagogy and human development, with 45 hours devoted specifically to teaching English learners.

Applicants holding a valid teaching credential with an EL authorization or a CLAD certificate need only take one preservice course specific to special education law and collaborative practice.

Steps to Becoming an Intern

Step One: Watch the brief informational video at the bottom of this page to get a sense of our program (required)

To begin the process of entering the SDCOE Intern Program, prospective interns must first watch the information video before signing up to attend a live Informational Session via Zoom. If you find you are interested and qualify, here are the steps that follow:

  • Complete the application (sent to you after attending the info session)
  • Include required attachments to application: university transcripts verifying bachelor's degree, Basic Skills/CBEST, and Certificate of Clearance (fingerprints)
  • If accepted, submit a non-refundable application fee of $300 (applied toward preservice)

Step Two: Preservice Coursework

After acceptance, prospective interns must successfully complete 120 hours of preservice coursework offered in our TEP Preservice Program.  To begin Preservice you will:

  • Attend an Intake Meeting
  • Submit $300 Registration fee
  • Submit $900 remaining tuition (may be done in 3 installments)
  • Complete 120 hours of preservice coursework (synchronous online format)

Step Three: Complete Final Requirements

Prior to being accepted to the intern portion of the program, prospective interns must also provide verification of:

  • Subject Matter requirement/CSET
  • US Constitution requirement
  • Offer of Employment from Local School District/Agency

Step Four: Begin Intern Program

Once all above requirements have been met, the applicant's intern credential will be submitted to CTC and the intern will begin the two-year program alongside their employment. 

Start Step One here:

Please see this brief informational video to learn about being an Eduction Specialist intern teacher with the San Diego County Office of Education.  After watching the video, you may gain more information in these ways: 

  • Read the FAQs (top right corner of this page)
  • Sign up below for a more extensive information session
  • Ask a question by emailing

Presentation (available for download)

To attend the online Intern Information Session

 sign up here!

If you want to prepare for the CBEST and/or CSET  - See our test prep materials here!

SDCOE TEP Intern Program is accredited by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing