Washington, DC Special Education Certificates and Certification
Licensing is required to teach special needs students in all states, so a Certificate in Special Education might benefit individuals pusuing a career in the field. Special credentials have various requirements, and certification with professional organizations such as the National Association of Special Education Teachers might be a potential path.
Sometimes the difference between special education certificate programs and certification can be confusing. A certificate program provides educational training on a specialized topic, for which you receive a certificate after completing the required courses. Whereas, professional certification is a voluntary process in which you are assessed by a professional board or entity to see if you meet a predetermined and standardized criteria (which often involves passing an exam) to practice in the field.
Special Education Certificate Programs and No Child Left Behind
While earning a graduate certificate in special education might not be a professional requirement it might be a great professional development tool. When the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001, it outlined minimum qualifications for teachers including: a bachelor’s degree, full state certification and demonstration of subject-matter competency1. As such, some states now require that certified or licensed teachers log a certain amount of continuing education credits each year—and enrolling in special education certificate programs may be a way to help meet these requirements2.
Licensure and Certification Requirements for Special Education Teachers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states currently require special education teachers in public schools to be licensed. Requirements for certification vary by state—but all states require that teachers earn a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, and that they complete a teacher
preparation program including supervised experience in teaching2. Some states also require a minimum grade point average—and most states require teachers to complete a background check. As we mentioned above teachers may also be required to complete annual continuing education courses—or in some cases earn a master’s degree—to maintain their license2.
Some states might offer general licenses in special education that allow teachers to work with students with a variety of different disabilities—while others might offer licenses based on a specific disability category, such as behavior disorders. Some states may also allow special education teachers to transfer their licenses from another states. However, other states require that teachers pass their respective state-specific licensing requirements. Be sure to check with the state’s requirements for the area where you intend to teach2.
In some cases, special education teachers may decide to pursue optional forms of certification to demonstrate a commitment to excellence in the field. Board Certification in Special Education (B.C.S.E.) is a voluntary form of certification offered by the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (AASEP). It was created to outline specific professional standards that require high professional competency in special education. Accordingly, earning this certification can be a great way to show potential employers—and parents—that you are competent, committed and highly-qualified to teach in the field.3
To be eligible to attain B.C.S.E. certification, you must meet the following requirements:3
- Have earned at least a master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. or Canada
- Have earned at least a master’s degree from an institution of higher learning outside of the U.S. or Canada that maintained an equivalent standard of training as those accredited in the U.S.
- The master’s degree you earned must be in a field involved with students with special needs
- Complete the five certificates of advanced professional development
- Pass the multiple choice exam with a score of 80% or higher (you may take the exam up to three times)
George Mason University
A standalone Autism Spectrum Disorder certificate is offered from George Mason University. This part-time online program prepares professionals and family members to work with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders in school, home a...
Indiana Wesleyan University
The Indiana Special Education Certificate: Exceptional Needs - Mild Intervention program provides an 18 credit hour post-baccalaureate course of study for teachers seeking to obtain an initial Indiana Exceptional Needs - Mild Intervention (i.e., spec...
Emporia State University
Master of Science - Special Education (concentrations in High Incidence and Gifted, Talented, and Creative).
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
One of the best online graduate education programs in the country, according to the 2013 U.S. News and World Report survey.
Youngstown State University
This five-course certificate (19 semester hours) is designed to meet the needs of students in educationally related fields, such...
Ball State University
Ball State University’s master of arts in applied behavior analysis with an emphasis in autism prepares ABA therapists, teachers, psychologists, social workers, and other human service professionals to fill a national shortage. This master’s degree...
University of North Dakota
Serve those with autism in a variety of settings, including home, schools, hospitals, etc. 100% online. Pay in-state tuition.
Minnesota State University - Mankato
Northern Arizona University
This certificate is designed to give you in-depth skills and practical competencies in the delivery of assistive technology.
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama's College of Education offers courses, which lead to certification to teach the Gifted and Talented. This program includes students who are working towards a master's degree in special education with an emphasis in the gifted a...
University of New England
At University of New England the Inclusion Education Gradute Certificate concentration is designed for those regular...
Slippery Rock University
The online School Supervision Program focuses on preparing students who want to become supervisors of special education. Students examine best practices literature regarding the professional knowledge, skills, and disposition required of leaders in educ...
University of Northern Colorado
The graduate programs in the School of Special Education prepare special education professionals for positions of leadership in public and private schools, colleges, universities, agencies, businesses, and governmental entities. The major emphases are i...
Niagara University's 40 credit hour master’s programs in special education emphasize knowledge of the foundations of special education, characteristics of learners, assessment, as well as instructional methods, accommodations and modifications for stude...
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
The program focuses on the teaching of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Severe Disabilities.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania
In keeping with the purpose of teacher education at West Chester University, the prime mission of the Master of Education in Special Education is to prepare advanced-level teachers who can synthesize and apply self-awareness in general knowledge of a) t...
- West Chester, PA
Certificate in Autism
For those who possess a Master’s degree and are only interested in the courses specifically focused on autism disorders.
Autism (all online) - prepares teachers to focus on the design of educational services for children with autism, and prepares individuals to teach students who are on the autism spectrum.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
The George Washington University
Please see program description...
Fitchburg State College
This program has at its focus in the area of reading and reading disablities.
New Jersey City University
The major aim of graduate preparation in Special Education at New Jersey City University is to prepare qualified and competent educators capable of meeting the instructional needs of children with physical, cognitive, behavioral and specific learning di...