The program Early Childhood Education (ECE) B.A. with Grades PK-4 and Special Education (PK-12) Certifications expands teaching career prospects. 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.

The program with daytime classes is offered on main campus. The program with evening classes for adults is offered on the Pottsville campus. 

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). 

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. 


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 Learning
  • ED 209, Instructional Planning (pre-reqs.: ED 110, ED 204)
  • SPE 245, Individuals Requiring Complex Supports 

Year 3

  • ED 313, Classroom Management & Professional Ethics (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 315, Foundations of Literacy Development
  • ED 302, Literacy Instruction (pre-req.: SPE 315)
  • ED 320, Assessment & Evaluation
  • ED 370, Teaching English Language Learners (pre-req.: ED 209)
  • ED 445, Universal Design for Learning & Digital Technologies (pre-reqs.: ED 209, SPE 110)
  • SPE 335, Supporting Neurodiversity & Mental Health
  • SPE 343, Personal Management & Technologies for Individuals with Disabilities
  • SPE 410, Evaluation & Progress Monitoring of Special Needs Students
  • SPE 420, Secondary Transition Planning for Students with Special Needs
  • SPE 425, Special Education Law & Professional Practices

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.)


  • The University requirements are met as follows: Writing Enhanced - ED 110; Senior Capstone - ED 470 & ED 472.
  • During senior year, students take certification exams.

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:

Questions? Contact:

1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269


Dr. Lucinda Schaeffer
Director, Special Education Programs


Education Programs

Early Childhood Education Program Earns A from NCTQ Report
Program earns top national ranking for reading education
Alvernia is one of three universities in Pennsylvania to earn an “A” in latest NCTQ report.