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Online MS in Education with Secondary Teacher Certification and Special Education Certification (7-12)

The online Master’s in Education prepares teachers to become proactive educational leaders who are able to promote positive change and be able to adapt instruction to the needs of students in various learning environments.

When your Master’s in Education is combined with double certifications in Secondary and Special Education, you are fortifying your marketability in today’s teaching field. Students with disabilities and learning impairments are routinely integrated into mainstream classrooms. It’s becoming necessary for teachers to have additional skills to meet these students’ educational, social, emotional, and vocational needs. Saint Joseph’s University offers customizable degree options that empower teachers with this specialized skill set.

The Curriculum

The innovative and comprehensive program at Saint Joseph’s University offers the opportunity to earn a recognized and respected Master’s degree in Education, as well as certifications in Secondary and Special Education. Designed for teachers who want to develop or advance their skills in meeting the needs of special education students, the online format of the program permits individuals to augment their credentials while still being able to meet their professional teaching obligations.

The research-based, state-of-the-art curriculum builds a thorough base in the foundations, ethics, values and methods of special education practice and procedures. Coursework topics include current issues in special education, assessment and progress monitoring, communication and collaboration, intervention strategies, adaptive technologies and instruction, and managing classroom environments. Theory and instructional practice further examine the effects of socioeconomic backgrounds and the impact of gender and race on learning.

Ours is a fully accredited education program designed to prepare teachers and educators for a lifelong teaching career. Graduates of our education degree program who enter or reenter the workforce will be able to:

  • Develop teaching methods and classroom management strategies for mainstream and integrated classrooms
  • Understand how to teach older students and create an education environment suitable for middle school and high school students
  • Implement strategies for combatting peer pressure, student bullying, gender and sexual identity discrimination in schools, and other social problems experienced by secondary education students
  • Apply the skills learned from classroom experience and education fieldwork obtained from our education practicum
  • Enter the teaching profession with a teacher’s certification from the State of Pennsylvania that serves as a valid teaching credential in most states

Earn a special education certification in addition to your education degree and secondary education teaching certificate, and you will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to work as a special needs educator, including:

  • An understanding of how to teach special needs students in both mainstream classroom and special needs resource settings
  • Tools to diagnose special needs learners and developing an environment for inclusive education
  • Knowledge of special needs due process and current issues in special education research which will enable you to advocate for special education at your school or learning center
  • An understanding of how to design a curriculum or an individualized education plan for students with particular special needs including learning disabilities, attention disorders, behavioral disorders, and autism.
  • The education and experience necessary to enter the teaching profession as a special needs teacher

What can you do with an additional certification in special education?

In addition to the career-advancing benefits of obtaining an online MS in Education, the Special Education Certification enables teachers to ensure students with disabilities reach their learning potential. Special education teachers may collaborate or consult with general education teachers to design curriculum plans that will position students with disabilities for success.

Teachers with this extra level of credentialing work in many public and private school settings including: general education classrooms, resource rooms, and self-contained classrooms. Other settings include hospitals, medical centers, private practice environments, correctional facilities, and in home care.

Why earn double certification?

Double certifications can be earned first in Secondary and then Special Education, providing teachers with additional ways to meet the needs of the whole classroom. Furthermore, it opens the doors of opportunity and gives you a competitive advantage over other teachers. This advantage strongly aligns with the needs of today’s education market across all geographic regions. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics* reports many schools districts are having trouble finding an adequate number of certified special education teachers.

Not all Education programs offer double certifications in this area. Saint Joseph’s University is one of a select few that provides this extra level of knowledge. It empowers you to have a transformative impact on students with special needs while engaging employer interest to help you advance your career.

Outlook for Careers in Secondary and Special Education

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall student enrollments in elementary, middle, and secondary schools—a key factor in the demand for teachers—are expected to rise more slowly than in the past as the children of the baby-boom generation leave the school system through 2018.

However, over the past 10 years, the number of U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen 30%. Nearly every general education classroom across the country includes youth and adolescents with disabilities.** As such, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks careers in special education as among the fastest growing - with an expected increase of 17% from 2010 to 2020, adding about 78,000 jobs to the profession.*

Additionally, teachers with Master’s degrees have been found to be more effective and their students more successful than those with just a Bachelor’s degree.**** Educators who are equipped with advanced degrees and certifications can hold a competitive edge when securing new positions or moving into a leadership role. ****

To learn more about the online Master of Science in Education with Secondary Teacher Certification and Special Education Certification (7-12) from Saint Joseph’s University and what it can do for your career, call (866) 758-7670 to speak with an admissions representative or request more information.

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2014-15 Edition
** Source:
*** Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Special Education Teachers,
**** Source:

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