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. The dual certification allows program graduates to work as:

  • elementary educators (preschool though Grade 4)
  • special education teachers and learning support specialists (preschool though Grade 12)
    in public and private educational institutions.

This dual major unlocks an unlimited career potential by positioning prospective teachers to enter the field with competence and confidence. As an early childhood educator, you lay the foundation for literacy and foster a love of learning in young children. As a special education teacher, you make education accessible for all students.

In This Section
Education Programs

Getting Started

General Notes
  • A minimum of 123 credits are required for graduation.
  • Credits earned for COM 100 and MAT 100 do not count toward the 123 credits required for graduation; however, COM 100 students may petition for elective credit.
  • Where appropriate, courses required for the major can be used to satisfy General Education requirements. However, the credits earned for these courses are applied to either Gen Ed requirements or the major, not both.
  • Paths of Knowledge coursework may count towards major or minor requirements, but may not fulfill a second Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration requirement.
  • Students are expected to follow the catalog requirements for General Education, the major, and additional requirements.
  • A minor or second major within the areas listed under Paths of Knowledge automatically fulfills that area of the Gen Ed requirements.
Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective undergraduate students — including first-year, transfer, and international students — may apply via the Alvernia web portal or The Common Application. To learn more about how to complete your application, please visit our application page.

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.

Request More Information
Students on campus
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers more than 50 majors and minors.
• An ever-expanding number of experiential learning opportunities includes internships, field experiences, co-ops, research projects, and study/service abroad programs.
• A rich campus life allows students to enjoy a full calendar of activities and events, more than 50 clubs, intramural sport and student leadership and governance opportunities.
• In growth mode, Alvernia continues to add value to its student experience: expanding academic programming in new facilities; adding student living space and updating residence halls; partnering with a community health provider; and adding amenities including a game room and new performance space.

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 - 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
  • 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: 


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 Admissions Office at 610-796-8269 or admissions@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

  • Faculty

Elena Lawrick, Ph.D.

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

  • Faculty
Lucinda Schaeffer Instructor of Education Special Education Headshot

Lucinda Schaeffer, Ed.D.

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

  • Faculty
Alvernia grey logo

Mary B. Schreiner, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Education

  • Professor Emeritus