Social-Emotional Learning in Special Education

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Earn Your Master’s in Special Education with a Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students Endorsement. 100% online.

The online Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students endorsement in the Master of Science in Education — Special Education is a post-graduate program. Designed primarily for educators and those who work within a school setting such as a social worker, nurse, counselor, psychologist or reading specialist, you gain the formal social-emotional (SEL) training necessary to seamlessly help children develop these skills in tandem with academic learning.

Do You Need to Learn How to Apply Social-Emotional Learning Skills?

As an educator, you’ve seen firsthand how children struggle to build and master social and emotional skills. The effect it can have on their learning ability, and the disruption it can cause in your classroom, is significant. You may feel like you spend as much time addressing behavior as you do teaching.

That’s because these skills are naturally practiced in the place where children spend the majority of their days — your classroom. And though evidence supports SEL programs as a core curriculum component,1 it’s rare for teachers to have the social-emotional learning strategies needed to recognize these issues or apply interventions to help children develop these skills in tandem with academic learning.

It’s common for children to have difficulty learning to manage their emotions, show empathy, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and set and achieve positive goals.

And, mastering social and emotional learning strategies and skills become even more difficult if a child has experienced trauma, which two-thirds of children under the age of 16 have reported.2

To prepare for the barriers your students may face and improve the learning of all students in your classroom, you need SEL training to add to your own skillset.

Career Impact of SEL Training

When you earn the endorsement in Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students, you enhance your career as an educator. The endorsement also helps develop school social workers, nurses, counselors, psychologists, and reading specialists so they have new tools to better help their students.

Using the interventions taught in the endorsement can also dramatically improve the lives of students. Studies prove that SEL interventions increased academic performance by 11 percentile points, and that SEL programming can have a positive impact up to 18 years later — not just on academics, but also on “conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use.”1

Curriculum for the Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students Endorsement

Earn this endorsement in social-emotional learning in special education by taking just two additional courses, which qualify for ACT 48 credits.

  • SPE 611, Mental Health Literacy
  • SPE 614, Supporting Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness - Field-Based Experiences

Graduates of the Program Can:

  • Recognize the characteristics and impact of adverse childhood experience, trauma, and mental illness on PK-12 students
  • Understand behavioral and mental health literacy
  • Carry out interventions to support social, emotional, and behavioral wellness across PK-12 educational environments
  • Collaborate effectively with families, agencies, and the community

More Certification Options That You May Like

To effectively teach to a diverse student body, you may find one or more of these special education graduate certificates serves you well.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement – Focus on proper diagnosis and ongoing lesson delivery across the entire autism spectrum, with emphasis on skill development and behavioral modification. With roughly 1 in 59 children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder,3 the need for qualified teachers has never been greater.
  • Wilson Reading System® Certification –Be eligible to receive the Wilson Reading certification and deliver multi-sensory reading education to students with language-based learning disabilities in a variety of settings.
  • Special Education Certification –Meet the needs of students with learning disabilities and other special needs. Coursework focuses on diagnostic assessment and monitoring. Current issues in special education, and how emotional, social, and behavioral disorders affect comprehension.

Financial Aid

You may be eligible to receive Federal Financial Assistance in the form of student loans or grants. Saint Joseph's University Online uses the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine award amounts.

Get Started Today

Get more information about the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness of PK-12 Students endorsement from Saint Joseph’s University. Call (610) 660-3400 to speak with a program manager or request more information above.


1Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). SEL Impact. Retrieved on October 21, 2019, from
2Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA). (n.d.) Understanding Childhood Trauma. Retrieved on October 21, 2019, from
3Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data and Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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