Frequently Asked Questions
Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments (VI) Credential Questions:
Q: What is an Education Specialist Credential in VI?
A: The Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments (VI) authorizes holders of the credential to work with children ages birth-22 years old, who are eligible for special education due to visual impairments, including children with multiple disabilities.
Q: How long does it take to complete the Education Specialist Credential in VI?
A: Generally speaking, to earn an Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments students must commit to two years of full time study to earn a Preliminary Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments, followed by an additional set of course work to complete a Clear Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments. However, some students may have taken courses at CSULA or from another institution while pursuing other teaching credentials. Some of these courses may be transferred and advisement should be sought for a determination of transferrable credit.
Q: What are the admissions requirements?
A: Please visit the California State University, Los Angeles website where you will find a link to the Admissions requirements. Also, please visit the Charter College of Education (CCOE) website for additional admissions requirements. To apply for the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments you should schedule an appointment to meet with the VI Program Coordinator.
Q: Do I need to take the CBEST and the CSET?
A: Yes, as of fall 2011 students entering the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments must pass both exams the CBEST and CSET prior to entering the program. However, students who have met the subject matter requirement in an alternate way (e.g. possession of a single subject credential) may not need to pass the CSET, please contact your advisor for further clarification of subject matter requirements.
Q: When is the deadline to apply for the Education Specialist Credential in VI program?
A: The CCOE accepts applicants to the Education Specialist Credential in VI program three quarters each year. Applicants are accepted into the program during (fall, winter, and spring) quarter.
Q: Can I get a master’s degree in VI?
A: Students enrolled in the VI Program may choose to concurrently work towards earning a Master of Arts degree (MA) in Special Education with a specialization in Visual Impairments. Students interested in applying to the MA program in Special Education with a specialization in Visual Impairments should apply to the program prior to taking 13 units of MA coursework. Admissions requirements to the MA program require students to apply for the MA program an application must be filed at the CCOE and through CSU Mentor.
Q: Do I have to get a master’s degree in VI?
A: Students enrolled in the VI Program may obtain an Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments independent of an MA degree, or students may choose to concurrently earn a Master of Arts degree (MA) in Special Education with a specialization in Visual Impairments.
Q: Can I get a master’s degree without getting the VI credential?
A: Students who are working towards their MA degree in Special Education with an emphasis in VI must also earn or possess an Education Specialist Credential in VI. Students may not earn a MA degree without an Education Specialist Credential in VI.
Q: Do you have a program for international students?
A: International students may apply to CSULA and work towards earning an Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments.
Questions Regarding Completing the VI Program if you Have Previously Earned Credential:
Q: If I already have a teaching credential how long will it take me to get my VI credential?
A: If you already have a valid, clear California teaching credential there may be some courses that you would not be required to take. You will need to meet with the VI advisor to determine which courses would not be required.
Q: I have an O&M credential what are the requirements for me to get a VI credential?
A: Students with an O&M credential are required to meet the subject matter requirement or pass the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET). While there may be some courses previously taken to earn an O&M credential, additional courses will need to be taken. Meet with your advisor to determine which additional courses are required.
Q: If I already have a credential do I have to student teach?
A: All students enrolled in the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments are required to complete 2 student teaching practicums, as required by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Masters of Arts in Special Education with a specialization in Visual Impairments Questions:
Q: Do I have to do a thesis?
A: Students enrolled in the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments program are not required to complete a Master’s of Arts Degree in Special Education with a specialization in VI; it is optional. Students completing a Master’s of Arts Degree in Special Education with a specialization in VI have the option of taking a MA Comprehensive Exam or completing a thesis.
Q: Can I graduate with my credential without having finished the MA degree?
A: The credential and the MA degree are two separate programs. Once you have completed all of your credential requirements and are enrolled in your final directed teaching course then you are ready to apply for your credential evaluation. Credential Evaluation applications must be submitted no later than the 5th week of the quarter in which you are enrolled in your final directed teaching practicum. For exact deadline dates and for more information on applying for credential evaluation please contact student services at 323 343-4320. Students can apply for graduation for their MA degree once they determine the last quarter they will complete their comprehensive exam or their thesis.
Courses in VI Questions:
Q: Can I take courses without being formally admitted to the university while I am waiting on my acceptance to the University/CCOE?
A: Yes, you can take EDSP 400, EDSP 408, and EDSP 469 through Open University/Extended Education while waiting on formal acceptance to the university.
Q: What courses can I take?
A: Due to the fact that some courses are offered once a year, and pre-requisite requirements vary, it is recommended that you frequently meet with your advisor to determine which courses you are eligible to take.
Q: Are the courses in the program online?
A: Courses in the VI program vary in the manner in which they are offered. Many courses are offered fully online using a variety of virtual online tools. Some courses are hybrid courses, meaning they meet partially online and face-to-face, and other courses meet face-to-face weekly. Additionally, many courses meet on Saturdays. For more information about course scheduling please contact the VI Program Advisor.
Q: Do I have to take the braille courses?
A: All students enrolled in the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments program are required to pass the Literary Braille and the Nemeth Code Braille courses, and they must pass the Final Braille Competency Examination by the end of their final quarter in the program. Certified braille transcribers also must take the braille courses. For more information on the braille courses please meet with the VI advisor.
Q: Which student teaching course do I sign up for?
A: Prior to enrolling in student teaching practicums students must meet with the VI advisor to determine which student teaching practicum they are eligible to enroll in.
Q: Can I take courses in the VI program while I am working on my Bachelor of Arts degree (BA)?
A: CSULA offers a BA degree in Urban Learning. As part of the Urban Learning program, you may take some courses that will count towards earning your Education Specialist Credential in VI. For more information on possible courses you will need to meet with the Urban Learning advisor at 323-343-4409.
Q: Do I have to work on my BA at CSULA to take courses in VI?
A: The Education Specialist Credential Program in VI is a program for graduate students. However, students who are enrolled in the Urban Learning program at CSULA may take courses in Special Education while they complete their BA.
Q: GET won’t let me register what do I do?
A: To register for courses you must first pay your registration fees. Once registration fees have been paid if you receive an error message that states that you need a permit, then please email your program advisor a request for a permit that includes your name, CIN#, and the course for which you need a permit. For additional information, please contact the VI office or the Division of Special Education and Counseling office, at 323-343-4400 to determine if there are additional requirements.
Q: I am not able to register for EDSP 300, what are the requirements to get into EDSP300?
A: To enroll in EDSP 300 students must pass the California Basic Subject Skills Test (CBEST) and have met the subject matter requirement [e.g. passing the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET)].
Deadlines, Permit Requirements, and Applications:
Q: What are important deadlines that I need to be aware of? a. Admissions deadlines & paperwork b. Applying for a MA program c. Learning Center application EDSP 407 d. Fieldwork practicum applications EDSP 407/489 e. Credential applications f. Leave of Absence g. Induction courses EDSP 595A/B.
Q: What courses have special requirements?
A: EDEL 417 – Requires Math portion of CSET or passing Math 110 EDSP407 (learning center) – Requires CSET, EDSP 300, EDSP 400, EDEL 415
Q: What is the difference between 407/489?
A: 407(6)(12) units is a traditional student teaching placement with a master teacher credentialed in VI at a CTC state approved local education agency. It is recommended for students who are not currently working as a full time teacher of students with visual impairments in a CTC state approved local education agency or for students needing the support of a master teacher.
489(6)(12) units is a directed teaching placement in a student’s place of employment, where the student is working as a full time teacher of students with visual impairments in a CTC state approved local education agency and has a diverse caseload of children ages birth-22 years of age with varied levels of vision and cognitive ability.
Q: Where do I find applications for 407, 489, 595A/B, 596
A: Applications for EDSP 407, 489, 595A/B and 596 can be picked up in the Division of Special Education and Counseling office. Completed applications must be submitted to the Division of Special Education and Counseling office.
Q: EDSP 407/489?
A: You must complete an application and turn it in to the Division of Special Education and Counseling office by the second week of the quarter prior to taking EDSP 407/489 to receive a permit to take the course. Permits are issued after the 8th week of the prior quarter.
Q: EDSP 595A/B, 596?
A: You must complete and submit an application no later than Thursday of the fifth week of the quarter prior to enrollment in the course. Exact dates are listed in the Division of Special Education and Counseling office each quarter.
Summer Courses Questions:
Q: Does CSULA offer classes during Summer Quarter?
A: A limited number of courses are sometimes offered during the summer quarter. For additional information, please contact the VI office or the Division of Special Education and Counseling office, at 323-343-4400.
Applying for Credential and Graduation Questions:
Q: How do I apply for my credential?
A: Students must complete a credential evaluation form and submit the form to Student Services to apply for their credential. For more information on applying for your credential please contact Student Services at 323 343-4320.
Q: How do I apply for graduation?
A: The graduate division has four filing periods for graduation. The dates are posted on the bulletin board outside of the Division of Special Education and Counseling office and can also be found on the CSULA website. Students will apply for the filing period for the last quarter that they will complete their program. Example: If you will complete your program in fall 2012 then you would apply for the filing period for fall 2012 which is July 10-July 26, 2012. Graduate applications should be completed and submitted to the Charter College of Education Associate Dean’s office. Please contact the Associate Dean’s office at 323 343-4303 if you have additional questions regarding applying for graduation.
Leave of Absence Questions:
Q: How many quarters can I sit out before I have to take a leave of absence.
A: Students must apply for a leave of absence if they sit out more than two consecutive quarters excluding summer.
Q: What is the deadline for submitting a leave of absence form?
A: The leave of absence form must be submitted no later than the quarter before you plan to take your leave of absence.
Q: How many quarters am I allowed to take off with a leave of absence?
A: Graduate students are allowed to take a leave for a maximum of four quarters. For additional information regarding leave of absence please contact the Office of Enrollment Services.
Q: Where can I get a leave of absence form?
A: The leave of absence form can be picked up in the Special Education and Counseling office in King Hall C1064. The form can also be printed from the Office of Enrollment Services and Veteran Affairs on the CSULA website.
VI Teaching Position Questions:
Q: Are there a lot of jobs in the field of visual impairments?
A: Job opportunities are available in the VI field. Although visual impairments are considered a low incidence disability, at a national level, highly qualified teachers of students with visual impairments are scarce.
Q: If I have a job offer how can I get into the internship program?
A: For information regarding the Education Specialist Intern Credential Program, contact the Intern Program Coordinator at (323) 343-4436. Also, please visit the Intern Program Website
VI Program Funding Questions:
Q: Does the Visual Impairments program offer scholarships, grant funding or financial assistance?
A: The VI program has federal grant funding available to provide stipends to assist students as they pursuit their Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairments. For more information about the federal grant contact the VI advisor.