The university is authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide certification courses and practical experiences designed to meet requirements for the special education certificate in special education. The teaching certificate enables graduates to teach children identified as having intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or behavior disorders in school placements from kindergarten through grade eight.
Students may declare a dual major program to earn both their Early Childhood Education (Pre-Kindergarten – 4) teaching certification and Special Education (Kindergarten – 8) teaching certification. The special education/elementary education certification program includes credits beyond the minimum required for the baccalaureate degree. The Teacher Education Policy Manual describes procedures for students interested in pursuing multiple teaching certificates.
Special Education/Early Childhood majors benefit from 6 semesters of hands-on field experiences with students in public schools in Western Pennsylvania. Beginning with sophomore year experiences in Early Literacy and Diversity, our majors experience placements in a variety of different school districts. In their junior year, students practice their teaching skills in reading, science, math, and social studies. The Special Education Professional Semester in senior year gives opportunities for our majors to teach students with IEPs in Inclusion settings in grades K thru 8. Student Teaching is our capstone activity in which students spend 8 weeks in a Special Education setting and 8 weeks in PK through 4 classrooms.