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San Diego State University



Internship programs allow individuals to complete their teacher preparation coursework concurrent with their first year or two in a paid teaching position. These programs are led by colleges, universities and by school districts and county offices of education. To qualify for an internship program, an individual must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, satisfy the basic skills requirement, meet the subject matter competence and US Constitution requirement, and obtain character and identification clearance. The program provides teacher preparation coursework and an organized system of support from college and district faculty. Completion of an internship program results in the same credential as is earned through a traditional teacher preparation program.


Internship FAQs


Q: What is an internship?
An internship provides the opportunity for candidates to obtain their credential by taking courses in the Department of Special Education on a part-time basis while they are working as full-time teachers.

Interns receive their paycheck for teaching and support from the school district. Internship programs are formal agreements between the Department of Special Education and the school district. You can only be an intern if such a formal agreement has been created and approved.

Current internship programs exist for Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Moderate/Severe Disabilities, and Early Childhood Special Education with:

  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Coronado Unified School District
  • Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Grossmont Union High School District
  • The Institute for Effective Education.

An agreement for Mild/Moderate Disabilities exists with Balboa City School and multiple districts in Imperial County. An internship is most ideally suited for someone who has had experience, but limited academic training, as a classroom teacher, as a substitute teacher or as a classroom assistant and who has a basic understanding of the challenges that face a first-year teacher. Candidates need to juggle their classroom and coursework responsibilities.


Q: What is the process for becoming an intern with the Department of Special Education (SDSU) and one of the collaborating school districts?
For information about the process in becoming an Intern Student, contact the Office of Student Services (OSS) at 619-594-6320.

  • Students apply to the Office of Student Services for the Internship Credential. The OSS is located in the Education & Business Administration (EBA) Building, Room 259.
  • To become an Intern, complete Preliminary Credential Requirements (click link below to view and print info) 
  • If you are not an SDSU Graduate student, submit online applications to San Diego State University through CSUMentor and to the department of Special Education through Supplementary Program Application during the university and department’s application period (click link below for application period info and to apply) 
  • The Internship is a 4-semester program in the areas of Mild/Moderate,Moderate/Severe or Early Childhood Special Education.There’s a semester of prerequisites (click below for program area and course sequence including prerequisites and to print info)

All interns must also enroll in a 1-unit seminar for Teaching English Language Learners.


Q: What does this mean?

A:  This means that the school district will assign you an Intern Support Provider to work closely with you as you set up your teaching schedule, implement IEPs, and begin to work with your students. Although each district operates somewhat differently, you will most likely attend a new teacher orientation meeting and other internship training events in August. These are mandatory, so it will be important to reserve this time for beginning the program and your school year. You will take the required practicum course (SPED 970 or SPED 980 for San Diego Unified School District interns only), but it will typically be offered at a site within or near (in the case of Imperial County) the district. In many instances, this class will be taught by a district employee who is working with the university on the internship program. Some of the courses you take at SDSU may be modified as to the time they are offered or the content presented. A meeting at the beginning of the academic year will be held to explain these changes. You will be challenged—especially by the unexpected.

Both SDSU and the district need to accept you into the internship program. To be accepted, you must meet district employment criteria and university and department admission standards. Interns must have passed the CBEST and met the subject matter competence prerequisites.


Q: What other financial assistance is available?
Once accepted, there are several scholarship opportunities. If you are interested in applying for an internship, please obtain a handout from the department office.


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