Thirteen percent of all children in public schools receive special education services due to conditions such as learning disabilities, social or emotional disorders, or autism. The necessity for specialized educators who understand and can provide for the needs of these students is clear, and Alvernia is committed to preparing students to fill those roles. Achieving dual teaching certification prepares you to make a difference for children of all abilities. Through in-class learning, field experiences, student teaching, and professors' mentorship, you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with young children in a variety of educational settings. 


PK-4 Program Mission

The PK-4 Program is built on a solid foundation of the principles of child development.  It focuses on the whole child as it prepares highly-qualified, highly-effective candidates to meet the many and diverse needs of young children in a global society.


This accelerated program is offered for adults at Alvernia University's Schuylkill Campus in Pottsville, Schuylkill County.  The program leads to a B.A. degree and the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificates Grades PK-4 and Special Education (PK-12). This teacher education program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).


Special Education Program Mission

The Alvernia University Education Department, rooted in a proud Franciscan heritage, is dedicated to providing instruction in educational theory balanced with current best practices. The Special Education Program focuses on the high leverage practices of interdisciplinary collaboration and inclusivity within a legally and ethically responsible environment, designed to foster growth in all children and adolescents with identified learning needs in our schools today.


In this dual education major, a robust teacher education curriculum is combined with strong liberal arts background, which will effectively prepare you to teach children in preschool through fourth grade and students with special needs in a regular or special education classroom.

In order to declare teaching candidacy, students must satisfy the following requirements: 

  • Earn minimum of 48 credits including 6 math, 3 English composition, and 3 American/British literature credits 
  • Earn cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 
  • Pass the basic skills assessments in math, reading and writing by utilizing one of seven pathways
  • Successfully complete the background checks required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and submit required clearances 

In order to graduate, students must satisfy the University and program requirements, including 14 weeks of student teaching. Candidates for the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificate Grades PK-4 and Special Education PK-12 must also take tests assessing their general knowledge, professional knowledge, and subject area knowledge. Read more about teacher certification testing in Pennsylvania.


Questions? Contact:



Heather Lewis
Enrollment Coordinator, Schuylkill Campus


Lucinda Schaeffer, M.Ed.
Coordinator, Special Education Programs

Accelerated Adult Programs