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Alvernia University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Acquire the knowledge and skills you need to help eliminate barriers for students of varying abilities with Alvernia University’s online special education certification. In this one-year program, you can improve your marketability and add to your list of teaching qualifications. Through the program’s flexible online format, you’ll have the convenience of studying on your own time, wherever you want, while learning from experienced faculty.
Alvernia University earned the Education Field of Study badge from Colleges of Distinction for the 2020-21 academic year. Colleges of Distinction evaluates institutions based on their commitment to “Four Distinctions:” engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community and successful outcomes.
Topics of Study
Our special education certification provides you with opportunities for hands-on experience so that you can become more successful in inclusive classroom settings. As you complete your studies, you’ll explore learning disabilities, social and emotional disorders, autism and more. You will also gain insight into various topics, such as:
- How special education services are developed and presented in modern schools, as well as how family and community members work together to ensure success for those with exceptionalities
- Materials, content and methods used for helping those with special needs achieve academically and socially
- Current trends and issues in special education, including inclusive classrooms, early interventions and statewide assessment programs
- Legal and instructional issues related to students who have special needs in secondary schools
- Developing social skills and behaviors through various approaches to meet the needs of students in a positive classroom
- How to develop and improve language, reading and writing skills for students with special needs
Through a required practicum course, you will work in a classroom setting for at least 40 hours with students who have disabilities (and organizations that serve them) to design and produce a project within a personal learning plan structure. Special education certification also requires student teaching within a special education environment.
Our Online Special Education Certification Program Is For Those:
- Who currently hold an Instructional I or Instructional II Teaching Certification
- Wishing to become more marketable in the field of teaching
- Hoping to provide students with varying abilities and disabilities the quality education they deserve
For those interested in Alvernia’s on-campus program, click here to learn more.
The online special education certification program consists of 27 credits. Special education certification courses make up 21 credits. General teaching certification courses total six credits, which include a 40-hour required practicum and student teaching.
Course Description Credits MED 505This course reviews all areas of student exceptionalities and how special education services are acquired, developed and provided in today’s schools. Students will learn how family and community collaboration together with research-based educational practices assist individuals with exceptionalities be successful in home, school and community settings. Ten (10) hours of fieldwork with children in community settings are embedded in this course. 3 MED 515This course focuses on content, methods, and materials specifically oriented to assisting students with diverse needs to achieve academically and socially in today’s inclusive schools. Competencies and best practices needed by school leaders as well as classroom teachers who address the needs of students with disabilities are addressed in the course objectives. 3 MED 535The course, designed for prospective special education classroom teachers, has students review, analyze and discuss current trends and issues in special education. Topics include, but are not be limited to: inclusive classrooms, early interventions, state-wide assessment programs, collaborative and co-teaching models of instruction. The semester-to-semester topics under discussion vary and evolve as issues in the field change to newer and more current conditions. 3 MED 542 Assessment & Instruction of Students with Developmental Disabilities 3 MED 544This course addresses the legal and instructional issues related to adolescents and young adults with disabilities. Topics include functional curriculum, individual transition planning, self-determination and self-advocacy. Included in this course are ten hours of embedded fieldwork within community-based, vocational or post-secondary sites where individuals aged 16 through young adults are taught. 3 MED 545This course focuses on creating social skills and behaviors using pro-active approaches to meet the needs of all learners within a positive classroom climate. The routines of management as well as the individualized planning for special behavior needs of children with disabilities will be presented. For students enrolled in MED 545 as required for initial teaching certification, 20 hours of required field experience are embedded and required in this course. 3 MED 605The course, designed for prospective special education classroom teachers, develops skills for the development, teaching, and enhancing of literacy skills: language, reading, and writing. Students review current and developing research and classroom practices that encourage the acquisition and improvement of those skills through learning strategies that can be used in classroom experiences. 3
* This class is to be taken prior to those listed below it.
Course Description Credits MED 522In this two-credit, one semester course, you will be engaged with children with disabilities and organizations that serve them in an inclusive classroom setting for at least 40 hours. In addition, you will design and execute a project within and instructor-approved Personal Learning Plan structure. Online supervision will be provided by the university, in collaboration with a field site mentor, for both classroom-based and project-based elements of this practicum experience. 2 MED 671 Student Teaching in Special Education 3 MED 673Co-requisite MED 671-Student Teaching in Special Education. 1
For admission into Alvernia Online’s special education certification program, you must have a baccalaureate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a valid Pennsylvania Teaching Certification. To apply:
- Speak to an enrollment counselor
- Complete an application
- Submit proof of a baccalaureate degree, plus all official college and institution transcripts
- Provide verification of a valid Pennsylvania Instructional I or II Teaching Certification
- Submit three letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources
- Submit a one-page personal statement about the value of graduate education for your professional and personal goals
- Submit a resume outlining your professional and educational experiences
- Complete the following background checks and clearances prior to field placement: Child Abuse History Clearance, FBI Fingerprinting Background Check, Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check and Tuberculosis Screening
Tuition & Fees
|Full Program Tuition||$650 per credit hour||$17,550|
|Full Program Student Fees||$50 per credit hour||$1,350|
|Tuition with Maximum Transfer Credits (Up to 6)||$650 per credit hour||$13,650|
|Fees with Maximum Transfer Credits (Up to 6)||$50 per credit hour||$1,050|
|Total with Transfer Credits||$14,700|
Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Fees are charged per semester unless otherwise noted. This program takes 1.5 years to complete, depending on transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of time to completion, call an enrollment counselor at (888) 536-1251 or request more information.
* Tuition and fees are subject to change.
Alvernia offers loans, grants, scholarships, payment plans and GI Bill benefits to help make your education more affordable. Our enrollment counselors can help you determine your financial aid eligibility. For more information, visit our Financial Aid page.
Alvernia University is a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the GI Bill, provides those who served the U.S. military on active duty with free tuition and fees, as well as a book allowance. For more information, visit our Veterans page.
After earning your Special Education Certification online, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:
- Special education teacher
- Early intervention specialist
- Special education paraprofessional