Special Education Certification Curriculum

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Our Special Education certification curriculum is designed for general educators who wish to meet the demands of educating students with special needs in a variety of school environments. Courses combine research-based theory with practice, and you will have the ability to apply the skills you have developed immediately in your career. In order to pursue this certification, you must already have a standard/Level 1 certifications in Early Childhood Development, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education.

You can earn your MS in Education - Special Education by completing just nine more credit hours.

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Special Education Certification Courses (Required)

Student Inclusive Classroom Core Course - Based on your Current Certification

NOTE: Courses are in alpha-numeric order, not necessarily the order in which they are taken, and are subject to change. Please speak with an Program Manager for a course map.

Student Teaching

SPE 638 and SPE 639 include a student teaching component. The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires a Special Education student teaching experience for those individuals who currently hold a general education teaching certificate and are seeking Special Education certification. Students will spend a minimum of 140 hours in a supervised teaching situation. In order to be prepared for this experience, students need to be aware of the following before registering for the course:

  • You are expected to complete a student teaching application.
  • You will locate potential student teaching sites in your local area and submit a request for your student teaching placement(s) to the Office of Student Teaching.
  • You will seek permission from the school administration to allow the 4-week student teaching experience.
  • The SJU Student Teaching Liaison will approve a school administrator to serve as your student teacher supervisor.
  • If you are currently teaching, you may be permitted to student teach at your own school with permission of the SJU course instructor and the school administration.
  • The experience requires 140 hours (equal to four 35-hour weeks) of hands-on teaching with students who have IEPs. At least 10 percent of the class should be students with IEPs.
  • It is suggested that the 140 hours occur during the second half of the course, but possible arrangements can be made to complete the hours at different times during the semester. Time in the classroom may be spread out over more than 4 weeks, but must equal 140 hours.
  • Small group instruction is permitted as long as the same small group is provided consistent attention by the student teacher for the duration of the experience. Alternate placements will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • The class may be in a public (urban or suburban), private, charter, segregated special education, or parochial school.
  • Student-teaching supervisors visit the classrooms and collaborate with the cooperating or mentor teacher(s) in supervising and evaluating the student or intern teacher. Two formal observations of the student teacher will be conducted.

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.

To learn more about the online Special Education certification from Saint Joseph’s University and what it can do for your career, call (215) 473-2695 to speak with a Program Manager, or you can request more information below, and we’ll reach out to you.

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