The Special Education Certification (Grades PK-12) curriculum includes 10 courses (27 credits) with field experiences, practicum, and 210 student teaching hours. Up to 6 graduate credits from another university may be transferred upon approval.


Course credits may be used as Act 48 credits or applied to Master of Education with Special Education (PK-12) Certification Program, and Master of Education in Special Education Program

The coursework is online. Tuition rate is $516 per graduate credit, aligned with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institutions. Take advantage of a rolling admissions process and apply now!


MED 505, Introduction to Special Education (3 credits, 5 field hours)

This 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.  Embedded in this course are observation and interaction activities with individuals in community settings who have disabilities.

MED 515, Differentiated Instruction in the Inclusive Classroom (3 credits, 5 field hours, pre-requisite MED 505)

This 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 in analyzing instructional events and collaboration as needed by school personnel are observed for five hours in inclusive settings which address the needs of students with disabilities in our schools.

MED 522, Practicum in Special Education (2 credits, 40 pre-student teaching hours)

In this two-credit, one semester course, you will be engaged with children with disabilities and organizations that serve them in in inclusive classroom settings for at least 40 hours.  In addition, you will design and execute a project within an instructor-approved Personal Learning Plan structure.   Supervision will be provided by the university course instructor, in collaboration with a field site mentor, for both classroom-based and project-based elements of this practicum experience.

MED 535, Collaboration and Legal Issues for Special Education (3 credits, pre-requisite MED 515)

This course will focus on understanding the legal statutes and regulations regarding students with disabilities and the resulting impact on the delivery of services and educational programs. Skills in development and delivery of the Individualized Education Plan, from age 3-21, including effective communication and collaboration, will be addressed. Discussion of professional dispositions and ethical behaviors of effective special educators will be reviewed. 

 MED 542, Assessment and Instruction of Students with Developmental Disabilities (3 credits, 10 field hours)

This course deals with what autism and other developmental disabilities are, and best practices teachers use with students who have these conditions.  Functional curriculum and assessment in domains of basic communication, self-help, social skills, life skills, fine and gross motor for such students will be addressed.  Assistive technology for these populations will be explored.

MED 544, Transition and Instruction Secondary Education Special Needs Students (3 credits, 10 field hours)

This 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.

MED 545, Social Development and Behavior Support in Inclusive Classrooms (3 credits) 

This course will prepare teachers to be educational leaders who effectively manage their classrooms.  It will focus on taking a pro-active approach to create a positive learning environment for all students.  The course will operate from a perspective that it is the teacher’s responsibility to bring an enhanced level of professionalism and strong sense of ethical behavior to the classroom. Special attention will be given to the recognition that today’s classrooms are inclusive and contain students with a variety of needs and learning styles that need to be accommodated.  A successful learning environment requires creation of effective lesson plans and appropriate communication with students, parents, administration, and community resources.

MED 605, Enhancing Literacy for the Special Needs Students (3 credits, 20 field hours)

The 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 are explored within 20 hours of required field activity experiences.

MED 671, Student Teaching in Special Education Seminar  (1 credit, co-requisite MED 673)

This course is a co-requisite for Student Teaching, and is required for students in the post-baccalaureate Special Education Certification program as a capstone experience in this area of service in today's schools. The Seminar will enable student teachers to discuss, reflect, and develop the skills necessary to become a highly-qualified special education teacher.

 MED 673, Student Teaching in Special Education (3 credits, 210 student teaching hours)

Student teaching is required for students in the post-baccalaureate Special Education Certification program as a capstone experience in this area of service in today’s schools. The experience is a full-time, six-week opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become a highly-qualified special education teacher and includes lesson plan review and supervision from both university and co-operating district.

Requirements for Field Experiences

At the beginning of each academic year, students are required to satisfy the requirements for educator field experiences. Please read about the requirements and submission process here.

Read about the program in the Graduate Catalog. Read more about the program's admission requirements and application process.

After completing the program and taking a certification test, students will be able to apply for the Instructional I/II in Special Education (PK-12) Certificate. 

Program Completion Requirements

  • Complete the 27-credit coursework including field experiences
  • Earn GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Satisfy the requirements set forth in 24 P.S. §12-1209 relating to good moral character
  • Earn the passing score on the certification exam Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications (5354)
Julie Kehr, Special Education Teacher
Why Choose Alvernia?
"Alvernia introduced me to the world of special education, and I knew this would be my career track. Currently, I am employed as a Special Education Program Coordinator. In this position, I can continue serving students with special needs in the greater Reading area, specifically those with autism and multiple disabilities.”

— JULIE KEHR, Elementary/Special Education ‘09, Principal Certification ‘22