Vanguard University Is Awarded $483,000 in Grants to Develop Integrated Teaching Credential Programs in Early Childhood Education and Special Education

The integrated teaching programs will enable VU undergraduates to earn a teaching credential during their bachelor’s program, accelerating the time to degree and helping to alleviate teacher shortages in specialized areas


Costa Mesa, Calif. — May 31, 2023 — Vanguard University receives two Integrated Program Grants from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to develop accelerated credentialing programs for both special education (SE) and early childhood education (ECE). Awarding $249,032 for ­­special education and $233,099 for early childhood education, the CCTC grants will enable the expansion of VU’s liberal studies and early childhood programs to offer integrated teacher education programs (ITEP) in these areas. Undergraduate students will soon be able to earn their credential as an Education Specialist or a PK-3 ECE Specialist in just four years, rather than the typical four-year bachelor’s degree followed by a one- to three-year credential program. These two new credential programs will complement the integrated multiple subject (elementary) and single subject (secondary) credential programs already offered by Vanguard University. With an estimated 15,000 more teachers needed by 2025 as transitional kindergarten expands across California, according to EdSource[1], and the deepening shortage and lack of adequate special education teachers[2], new graduates can expect a welcoming job market and an open path to a rewarding career in education.

With a long-established history of preparing teachers for promising careers, Vanguard University recently announced the integration of its education program offerings into the School of Education to begin in 2023-24 with Dr. Jeff Hittenberger, former Chief Academic Officer of the Orange County Department of Education, to serve as the inaugural dean.

“These integrated program grants will enable Vanguard University to address the acute teacher shortage present in our region, filling the need for skilled educators in the areas of both early childhood education and special education,” said Dr. Hittenberger. “VU students will be able to earn their teaching credential in these specialized areas alongside their bachelor’s degree, saving them both time and money, and getting them into the workplace sooner. Vanguard’s School of Education team shares a vision of education built on love and wisdom. Teachers prepared in these programs will bring compassion and empowerment to the lives of students, families and communities for generations to come.”

Through the formation of these new programs, Vanguard’s School of Education is addressing a major need within Orange County’s higher education landscape. Currently, less than half of teacher credentialing programs in the county offer a special education credential program. And with the expansion of Pre-K programs, there is a growing need for highly trained early childhood educators.