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Master’s Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education PK-12

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality, has granted approval of Saint Joseph’s University’s online Master of Science: Special Education with Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing PK-12 Certification.

This program prepares educators for state certification and to acquire the competencies specifically needed to support learning and development in children with hearing loss. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing master’s program is combined with a complete special education curriculum in order to best serve the 40-50% of deaf and hard of hearing who are also diagnosed with an additional disability. Graduates leave the program with the ability to plan curriculum, manage a classroom, facilitate student socialization, and engage students within all levels of ability.

The skills acquired within the program prepare teachers to communicate effectively with deaf and hard of hearing students. Individuals in this master’s program will learn to use the latest technologies to facilitate meaningful and differentiated learning experiences. Throughout the course of this program, students are encouraged to set goals related to improving their sign language and alternative communication skills.

Appropriate Candidates for this Program Include:

  • State certified general education and special education teachers seeking an additional certification
  • Professionals or paraprofessionals with a bachelor’s degree who are seeking initial certification (PK-12 option) and Pennsylvania Hearing Impaired PK-12 certification as a teacher of students who are deaf and hard of hearing*
  • Related service personnel (e.g. Speech/Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists) who wish to become teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing*
  • Sign Language interpreters who wish to become teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing*

*These individuals’ credentials will be individually evaluated and additional pedagogy coursework may be required.

Online Program Options:

Saint Joseph’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education program serves students who are seeking a variety of credentials to grow their careers and better serve their students. The certification may be combined with a Master’s degree (for only 6 more credits) or completed as a stand-alone option as follows:

  • M.S.Ed.: Special Education with Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing PK-12*
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing PK-12 Certification (only)*

*The teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing concentration leads to the following PA certification: Hearing Impaired (PK-12)

View our course descriptions

Program Requirements:

Candidates for the Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Online Certification Program are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree and are expected to have basic Sign Language competency. Additionally, this program is intended for individuals who have earned at least initial Standard/Level 1 sign language certification or have equivalent education and experience working with deaf/hard of hearing students.

PK-12 Program Guidelines:

For individuals without teacher certification, please review the PK-12 Program Guidelines Table which references courses required for admission to the Education of the Deaf/HH Program. This table aligns PK-12 Guidelines competencies with the pre-requisite courses.

Pre-requisite Coursework and Required Competencies:

Candidates will be expected to have basic sign language competency as a pre-requisite to the program. This includes a demonstration of the following:

  1. Evidence of successful completion of one 3-credit accredited course on sign language, or
  2. The following entry level skill, either:
    • Intermediate Skill Level: Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) or
    • Level 2: American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI)

Student Teaching and Field Experience:

The PA Department of Education requires all teacher candidates to complete field experience competencies in certification programs. The Special Education Department at Saint Joseph’s University has designated activities in each course in the required curriculum to meet the state standards.

The last course in this program is the student teaching experience. This six-credit course is comprised of a 14-week student teaching assignment paired with weekly online seminar sessions. The fieldwork course is intended to fully immerse graduates in the deaf and hard of hearing teaching experience for an entire semester.

For more on student teaching or a complete list of admissions criteria, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with an admissions representative or request more information and we’ll reach out to you within 24 hours!

Deaf Education