Early Childhood Education B.A. with Grades PK-4 & Special Education PK-12 Certifications

Alvernia’s Early Childhood Education (PK-4) and Special Education (PK-12) Certifications dual major unlocks an unlimited career potential. The program prepares teachers for preschool through Grade 4 and special education teachers in public and private educational institutions. The program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


It is designed for adults returning to college to pursue a teaching career. The program provides flexibility for the working adult students by offering the program in an online format. Students benefit from a synergy of engaging learning environment, diverse field experiences, and inspiring mentorship by education professors and cooperating teachers.
 

Estimated Program Length2-4 years
Credit Hours93 (may vary depending on transfer credits)
Course Length7 weeks
Transfer Credits Accepted75
Cost per Credit$650*


*Tuition discount available. Ask for details!

 

In This Section
Adult Education Programs

Getting Started

Program Modality

Education courses are delivered fully online with synchronous check-ins with the instructor via Zoom. In-person fieldwork, pre-student teaching (7 weeks), and student teaching (14 weeks) must be completed in the state of PA. Student teaching will take place during the final year of the program.

Pennsylvania Instructional Certification

During their senior year, students should take their certification exams, Pennsylvania Educator Certification Test (PECT) Modules 1, 2, and 3 for Grades PK-4 and appropriate Praxis exams for certification if applicable. To become a licensed PA educator, students need to complete their program, earn a passing score on certification exam(s), and submit an application for their Instructional I Certificate in the Pennsylvania Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).

National Accolades

Alvernia’s Early Childhood Education Program is among three teacher preparation programs in Pennsylvania and 23% nationwide that were ranked as “Grade A” for preparing students to teach reading by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Program Requirements

Academic Performance

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Earn Grade C or better in the required general education and professional education courses

Field Experience

Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences including: 

Read about the requirements for education field experiences.


Teacher Candidacy

Teacher candidacy signifies a formal admission to the teacher preparation program. Achieving a teacher candidacy status is required for taking the upper division education courses, pre-student teaching, and student teaching. Students must apply by the end of their sophomore year. Mid-degree transfer students must apply by the second semester of their studies at Alvernia University. The achieve a teacher candidacy status, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Earn minimum of 48 credits including 6 credits of math, 3 - English composition, and 3 - American/British literature with earned Grade C or better 
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences
  • Apply for teacher candidacy and receive an approval from their education faculty advisor and the Education Department Chair

Student Teaching

Student teaching occurs during the last semester in the program and includes two 14-week placements in PK-4 classrooms. To be admitted to student teaching, a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Complete the required general core and professional education courses except ED 470 & ED 472 with Grade C or better
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA 3.0 or better
  • Maintain regulatory compliance for the educators' field experiences


Read about:

Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective students may apply to Alvernia at any time. Multiple start dates throughout the year allow accepted students to begin a program of study at an accommodating time. We continually review applications and accept students for each of the six term starts (August, October, February, March, May, and July).


Keeping on track is important throughout the process. We encourage you to work with an admission team member to submit all materials and meet all deadlines. Our dedicated team will work directly with you to identify the best options that work for you and your unique situation.


Once your application is complete, you will not have to wait long for a decision. We continually review applications and notify students as soon as a decision has been made.


To get started, visit our Adult Education Application page for a list of instructions and documents needed.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our Student Financial Services page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about tuition, the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email sfs@alvernia.edu.

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Online Learners
Online Learning Benefits
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers a growing number of online programs to advance your career or prepare you for a new one.
• Online learning with Alvernia offers a high-quality education at an affordable price, with the flexibility to study at your own pace.
• Alvernia's rolling admissions policy allows you to apply at any time. The university continually accepts and reviews applications to fit your schedule, with many programs offering starts throughout the year.
• As an Alvernia online student, you’ll have access to an array of resources including our online bookstore, online library and our Office of Career Development.


Program Overview

Program Mission

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.


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.

Curriculum

Curriculum - 93 credits (Number of credits may vary depending on transfer credits)

Major Requirements (60 credits)

  • ED 110: The Teaching Profession
  • ED 204: Human Learning
  • ED 209: Instructional Planning (pre-reqs.: ED 110, ED 204)
  • ED 302: Literacy Instruction (pre-req.: ED 315)
  • ED 313: Classroom Management (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 315: Literacy Development
  • ED 320: Assessment & Evaluation
  • ED 370: Introduction to Inclusive Instruction for English Language Learners (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 403: Reading Methods for Elementary Inclusive Classrooms
  • ED 404: Teaching Math in the Elementary School
  • ED 414: Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School
  • ED 425: Curriculum Instruction PreK-12
  • ED 436: Field Experience III (150-hour pre-student teaching)
  • ED 440: Teaching Science in the Elementary School
  • ED 445: Principles of Universal Design for Learning (pre-reqs.: ED 209, SPE 110)
  • ED 470: Student Teaching (Co-Req ED 472) (14 weeks, 2 placements
  • ED 472: Student Teaching Seminar
     

Special Education (21 credits)

  • SPE 110: Overview of Exceptionalities
  • SPE 245: Individuals Requiring Complex Supports
  • SPE 335: Supporting Neurodiversity & Mental Health in Today’s Schools
  • SPE 343: Personal Management & Technologies
  • SPE 410: Evaluation & Progress Monitoring with Special Needs Students
  • SPE 420: Secondary-age Students with Special Needs
  • SPE 425: Legal & Professional Practices in Special Education


(C grade or better required for all ED & SPE courses)

Related Requirements (21 credits)

  • Science with Lab
  • HIS XXX or POS XXX
  • MAT 105: Math for Teachers: Principles of Math
  • MAT 106: Math for Teachers: Geometry
  • MAT 208: Introductory Statistics
  • Social Science Course
  • PSY 312 Psychology of Play


(C grade or better required for all courses above)


Liberal Arts Core (54/55 credits)*: All Alvernia University students are required to complete between 31-55 credits toward the Liberal Arts Core. Transfer work or an associate degree may be applicable for this area and meet requirements. As part of the application process, students receive specific information regarding remaining credits.


General Elective Requirements (as needed): A total of 123 credits, including three credits in a human diversity course, are required to
earn a bachelor’s degree. To adhere to Franciscan values, community service hours are also required.


Plan to take electives and courses in minor prior to fieldwork and student teaching. During senior year, students take their certification exam, the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Test (PECT) for Grades PK-4. To become a licensed PA educator, students need to complete their program, earn a passing score on certification exam(s), and submit an application for their Instructional I Certificate in the Pennsylvania Teacher Information Management System. 

Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Field experiences, an integral part of the teacher preparation programs, include course-embedded fieldwork, pre-student teaching and student teaching.
Accreditation Statements
  • The Grades PK-4 teacher preparation program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. \
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

Graduates can teach in preschool through Grade 4 and special education (PK-12) in public and private educational institutions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032. The median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $61,690 in 2022.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment with a bachelor’s degree in special education is projected to show little or no change from 2022 to 2032. The median annual wage for special education teachers in 2022 was $62,950.

Learn More

Read about: 

Questions?

Contact:

Admissions
610-796-5187
gradandadult@alvernia.edu

 

Get To Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Early Childhood Education B.A. with Grades PK-4 & Special Education PK-12 Certifications, contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or gradandadult@alvernia.edu. Or reach out directly to department chair Lucinda Schaeffer at 610-790-1931 or lucinda.schaeffer@alvernia.edu.

Molly Brobst

Molly R. Brobst

Assistant Professor of Education

610-568-1529
  • Faculty
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Elena Lawrick, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education / Director of the TESOL & Educational Leadership Programs

610.796.8268
  • Faculty
Lucinda Schaeffer Instructor of Education Special Education Headshot

Lucinda Schaeffer, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor / Chair of Education Department/Director of Special Education Programs

(610)790-1931
  • Faculty
Alvernia grey logo

Mary B. Schreiner, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Education

  • Professor Emeritus