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.

Admission Requirements

  • Satisfy the Admission Requirements for Graduate Certificates.
  • Provide transcripts documenting a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the most recent 30 credits of academic coursework.
  • Submit a resume documenting educational experience and at least one year of appropriate recent experience with children experiencing disabilities at the developmental level in which the special education endorsement is sought.
  • Submit an essay of 300-500 words addressing career goals and how the program relates to these goals.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation or rating forms from professional references.
  • Participate in an interview if requested by the department.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

There are two concentrations within the program leading to a Graduate Certificate in Special Education. These concentrations have different entry points.

  • Certification route I: This concentration is for applicants seeking their first teacher certificate and requires completion of prerequisite coursework before admission to the program.
  • Certification route II: This concentration is for applicants seeking a special education endorsement on an existing teacher certificate.

The concentration one completes is based on the professional background an applicant brings to the program.

Certification Route I (Special Education with Initial Teaching Certification)

Certification route I is for individuals with baccalaureate degrees who are not certificated teachers but have professional experience working with children with disabilities. Individuals in this concentration will need to take the Praxis II examination in a content area prior to receiving an institutional recommendation for certification.

Special Admission Requirements
  • Provide documentation of passing scores on the Praxis I, Praxis Core or other EED-approved basic skills test.
  • Submit an Interested Person Report.
  • 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 Assessment and Interventions in Language and Literacy Development
EDSE A212Human Development and Learning3
or PSY A365 Child and Adolescent Development
EDSE A482Inclusive Classrooms for All Children3
MATH A211Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers I3
Total Credits15
Background Check Requirements

See COE Field Placements.

Program Requirements

The COE 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.

Prerequisite courses must be successfully completed prior to taking the following program requirements.

EDSE A610Clinical Assessment: Eligibility and Program Planning3
EDSE A623Language and Literacy: Best Practices in Assessment and Intervention3
EDSE A624Social/Emotional Development, Assessment, and Intervention3
EDSE A625Teaching Mathematics to Special Learners3
EDSE A632Special Education Law: Principles and Practices3
EDSE A635Universal Design for Learning: Differentiation of Instruction for All Learners3
EDSE A695EAdvanced Internship in Special Education: Elementary *6
or EDSE A695S Advanced Internship in Special Education: Secondary
Total Credits24
*

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.

Complete a total of 24 credits for the graduate certificate and application for an institutional recommendation for initial teacher certification with an endorsement in special education. Candidates admitted or seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate in Special Education must receive approval from their advisor prior to taking coursework from another institution intended to satisfy requirements for the graduate certificate.

Certification Route II (Special Education Endorsement)

Certification route II is for teachers holding a current Alaska teaching certificate who wish to add a special education endorsement to their existing teaching certificate.

Special Admission Requirements

Provide documentation of a current teaching certificate.

Background Check Requirements

See COE Field Placements.

Program Requirements

The COE 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.

Complete one advisor-approved prerequisite course in special education or provide documentation of other appropriate experience with children or adults with disabilities. Course may be taken concurrently with other program requirements.

EDSE A610Clinical Assessment: Eligibility and Program Planning3
EDSE A623Language and Literacy: Best Practices in Assessment and Intervention3
EDSE A624Social/Emotional Development, Assessment, and Intervention3
EDSE A625Teaching Mathematics to Special Learners3
EDSE A632Special Education Law: Principles and Practices3
EDSE A635Universal Design for Learning: Differentiation of Instruction for All Learners3
EDSE A695EAdvanced Internship in Special Education: Elementary *6
or EDSE A695S Advanced Internship in Special Education: Secondary
Total Credits24
*

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.

Complete a total of 24 credits for the graduate certificate and application for an institutional recommendation for a special education endorsement on an existing teaching certificate. Candidates admitted or seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate in Special Education must receive approval from their advisor prior to taking coursework from another institution intended to satisfy requirements for the graduate certificate.

Institutional Recommendation

Following are the requirements for an institutional recommendation for a special education certificate or endorsement. The candidate must have:

  • Completed all applicable prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of B.
  • Completed all required courses with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00, with no grade lower than a C.
  • Completed internships and professional portfolio documenting attainment of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) standards.
  • Passed applicable examinations. For candidates in certification route I, passing scores on the Praxis I, Praxis Core, or other EED-approved basic skills examination, and the Praxis II are required. The passing scores are established by EED. Elementary special education teachers must take one of the Praxis II examinations designated for elementary teachers; middle and high school teachers must take one of the Praxis II examinations in mathematics, English, science or social studies.

Alaska Certification Note

The institutional recommendation for an initial certificate with a special education endorsement (certification route I) will be at the level of the internship. The institutional recommendation for special education endorsement (certification route II) on an existing teaching certificate will be at the level of that certificate. EED may have additional requirements for certification/endorsement.

For those graduates receiving an initial certificate (certification route I), prior to advancing to the professional certificate, EED requires completion of 3 credits of approved Alaska studies coursework and 3 credits of approved multicultural/crosscultural communications coursework. For more information, see the EED website.

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 www.cec.sped.org. 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 with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
  • 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.