Graduate Certificate in Special Education

The Graduate Certificate in Special Education is designed for individuals who want to become certificated special education teachers. This program expands teaching competencies by providing the theory, knowledge and practical experience in special education needed to serve children with disabilities and their families. Graduates of this program are eligible for an institutional recommendation for (a) an initial teaching certificate with a special education endorsement, or (b) a special education endorsement on an existing teaching certificate from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (EED). Students who are admitted to the Graduate Certificate in Special Education may apply to the MEd in Special Education. Courses applied to this certificate may also apply to the MEd in Special Education.

The Graduate Certificate in Special Education provides candidates with the knowledge of assessment and intervention strategies that support the learning of children with exceptional learning needs for grades K-8 (Elementary) or grades 7-12 (Secondary). A graduate certificate leads to Special Education Teacher Certification in the State of Alaska.

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking initial teaching certification must complete the following prerequisite coursework.

Prerequisite Coursework
Complete the following 15 credits of prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of B in each course. An advisor may waive one or more of the prerequisite courses if the applicant can demonstrate successful completion of an equivalent course taken at a regionally accredited institution within the consecutive seven-year period prior to graduation. Prerequisites must be successfully completed prior to beginning the graduate-level program requirements.
EDFN A300Philosophical and Social Context of American Education3
or EDFN A304 Comparative Education
EDFN A301Foundations of Literacy and Language Development3
or EDSE A483 Language and Literacy: Assessment and Interventions
EDSE A212Human Development and Learning3
or PSY A365 Child and Adolescent Development
EDSE A336Classroom Guidance and Behavior Management3
MATH A211Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers I3

Candidates must receive approval from their advisor prior to taking coursework from another institution intended to satisfy requirements for the graduate certificate.

The SOE allows access to coursework through a variety of methodologies and delivery formats, including distance education. Candidates must have the technological knowledge, skills and access to engage in distance learning.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

Required Courses
EDSE A610Clinical Assessment: Eligibility and Program Planning3
EDSE A612Curriculum and Strategies I: Low Incidence3
EDSE A622Curriculum and Strategies II: High Incidence3
EDSE A623Language and Literacy: Best Practices in Assessment and Intervention3
EDSE A625Teaching Mathematics to Special Learners3
EDSE A692Internship Seminar in Special Education Teaching1-2
Complete one of the following concentrations:9
Elementary Education
Family Partnerships in Early Childhood Special Education
Advanced Internship in Special Education: Elementary
Secondary Education
Transition Services for Secondary Students with Disabilities
Advanced Internship in Special Education: Secondary
Total Credits25-26

Field Placement

Some courses in the special education program require field placements and/or internship placements. The School of Education does not guarantee placements as they are contingent on school district and agency partners. The university offers placements across the state of Alaska. Out-of-state placements will require additional approvals and are not guaranteed.

Admission to Special Education Internship (Student Teaching Experience)

Candidate must fulfill the following prior to being placed into an internship.

  • Criminal history background clearance is required before the internship. Background checks take up to five months to process, so they must be initiated well in advance of the semester in which the candidate enrolls in the internship.
  • Submit an application form for admission to Special Education Internship by the deadline. Contact the School of Education Student Services office for fall and spring application deadlines at (907) 786-4401.
  • Interview upon request.

State Approved Verification Form & Alaska Teacher Certification

Following are the requirements for a state-approved verification form for a special education certificate or endorsement.

  • Completed all applicable prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of B.
  • Completed all required courses with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00, with a minimum grade of C.
  • Completed internships and a professional portfolio documenting attainment of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.
  • Passed applicable examinations. Passing scores on the Praxis I, Praxis Core or other Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (AK-DEED) approved basic skills examination, and the Praxis II are required. The specific PRAXIS II test number and score is established by AK-DEED.

Note Concerning Alaska Teaching Certification:

The state approved verification form for an initial certificate with a special education endorsement will be at the grade range of the internship (i.e., Elementary (K-8) or Secondary (7-12)). The state approved verification form for special education endorsement on an existing teaching certificate will be at the grade range of that certificate. DEED may have additional requirements for certification/endorsement.

Additional requirements for teaching certification within the state of Alaska can be found at the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Student outcomes for the Special Education Graduate Certificate program are based on the professional standards of the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) located at Students who complete this program will be able to:

  • Utilize a variety of assessments to identify specific areas of student strengths and weaknesses and use the results to guide instruction.
  • Individualize instruction to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities in inclusive settings.
  • Support and promote inclusiveness and equity for students.
  • Apply the legal and ethical principles associated with special education.
  • Promote a positive social environment for all students, particularly those with significant emotional and/or behavioral disorders.
  • Develop and maintain an atmosphere of collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators, and paraprofessionals.
  • Critically analyze and apply principles of research.
  • Demonstrate literacy regarding theoretical perspectives associated with human development and learning.