A flexible, accelerated path to teaching

Early childhood educators play a vital role in fostering children's intellectual and social development during their formative years. Alvernia University's accelerated adult Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education with duel Grades PK-4 and Special Education (PK-12) certifications allows graduates to work as elementary educators, and special education teachers and learning support specialists in public and private educational institutions.

Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the program leads to a B.A. degree and the Pennsylvania Instructional Certificates Grades PK-4 and Special Education (PK-12). Students may expand their certification to the middle-school level by taking an additional certification exam. The program, designed for adults pursuing an early childhood educator career, is offered at Alvernia's Pottsville campus and features accelerated track and evening courses.

Benefit from accelerated track and evening courses. Experience a synergy of engaging student learning environment, diverse field experiences, enriching student teaching, and inspiring mentorship by education professors and PK-4 cooperating teachers. 

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education with duel Grades PK-4 and Special Education (PK-12) certifications is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

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 financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about 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.

Adult student
Why Alvernia?
• Alvernia University is a nationally ranked comprehensive regional university that has been a leader in adult education for over 35 years.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meets the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• With world-class facilities and resources and a dedicated advisor team to help you balance your studies, family, financial and work demands, Alvernia is the ideal choice for your personal and educational comeback.

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.


93 credits

Required General Education Courses

  • MAT 105, Math for Teachers: Principles of Mathematics
  • MAT 106, Math for Teachers: Geometry
  • MAT 208, Probability & Statistics
  • HIS XXX (any History course)
  • BIO 102, Fundamentals of Biology or BIO 109, Human Biology
  • PSY 101, Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 312, Psychology of Play

Note: The University requirements are met as follows: Exploring the Natural World (6 cr.) - MAT 105, BIO 102/109; Individuals & Communities (3 cr.) - PSY 101; Human Diversity (3 cr.) - SPE 110. Other general education courses may vary depending on a selected path of knowledge.

Professional Education Courses

Year 1

  • SPE 110, Overview of Human Exceptionalities
  • ED 110, The Teaching Profession

Year 2

  • ED 204, Human Development & Learning
  • ED 209, Planning & Preparation (pre-reqs.: ED 110, ED 204)
  • SPE 345, Individuals Requiring Complex Supports 

Year 3

  • ED 313, Managing Classroom Learning Communities (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 320, Assessment & Evaluation
  • ED 302, Principles of Writing Instruction (pre-req.: SPE 315)
  • ED 370, Introduction to Inclusive Instruction for English Language Learners (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 445, Principles of Universal Design for Learning (pre-reqs.: ED 209, SPE 110)
  • SPE 315, Teaching Reading/Language Arts to Students with Disabilities
  • 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

Year 4

  • 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 440, Teaching Science in the Elementary School
  • ED 436, Field Experience III (150-hour pre-student teaching)
  • (These fall semester courses are co-requisites.) 
  • ED 470, Student Teaching (14 weeks, 2 placements)
  • ED 472, Student Teaching Seminar

(These spring semester courses are co-requisites.)

Note: The University requirements are met as follows: Writing Enhanced - ED 110; Senior Capstone - ED 470 & ED 472.

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
Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about the average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $61,350.

  • Preschool through Grade 4 and Special Education teaching positions in public and private educational institutions.




Heather Lewis
Enrollment Coordinator, Schuylkill Campus


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


Eric Turman, principal of Reading High School, addresses students at forum.
Advanced education provides opportunity serving Reading students
Eric Turman graduated in 1997 with an undergraduate degree in education, securing his master’s in education in 2003, and adding principal certification in 2004. This culmination of degrees has prepared him to serve the needs of his students.