Special Education Certification Online | Saint Francis University
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Special Education Certification Online

This Special Education Certificate will help you impact special education programming within school districts. Learn more!

  • Program Overview

    Are you looking to earn a special education certification online in a flexible format?  Saint Francis University's special education teacher certification program design is deeply rooted in Pennsylvania competencies/expected learning outcomes and is structured to build on candidate's knowledge and professional experiences and advance academic study.

    Because SFU has one of the best online special education certification programs in PA, candidates can implement methods, strategies and research-validated methods for immediate impact on student learning and special education programming at school districts and programs that employ and consult with them.

    Post-baccalaureate, special education teacher certification students are in the Graduate Education's target market of current educators who desire evening and weekend courses with traditional, hybrid and online courses and professional experience opportunities.  Candidates in the special education certification online PreK-8 or 7-12 programs are required to have an instructional I or instructional II certificate.

    • Admissions Requirements
    • Major Paradigm of Courses
    • Course Requirements
    • Seminar Requirement
    • Testing Requirement
    • Certification Requirement
    • Financial Aid
    Admissions Requirements

    Candidates for the post-baccalaureate special education PreK–8 or 7–12 Pennsylvania certification program must complete the following materials for consideration of acceptance:

    • Completed application and application fee made payable to Saint Francis University
    • Two letters of professional recommendation
    • Official transcripts with a B.S. or B.A. degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0
      • Must include six (6) credits in mathematics, three (3) credits in English composition and three (3) credits in English literature
    • Pennsylvania-required clearances
    • Proof of earned Pennsylvania PreK–8 or 7–12 instructional certificate (copy of state-issued certificate)
    • Completed written Philosophy of a Special Education educator

    The coursework in this proposed special education certificate program is very specific to the PDE Special Education standards; therefore, for a candidate seeking special education certification, there should be very little to no duplication of coursework. However, if a candidate has previously taken special education courses that match the requirements for any of the proposed courses, consideration of transfer credit will be given on a case-by-case basis. Candidate is also required to have completed coursework which is equivalent to the requirements of the SFU course EDUC261 Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom. If this course was not completed in the coursework required for instructional I certification, student must complete this course requirement in addition to the special education certificate requirements.

    Major Paradigm of Courses

    The special education teacher certification course paradigm was developed by using the Pennsylvania Department of Education Framework for Post-baccalaureate Program Guidelines. Courses will run in a sequence, in the cohort style, beginning in the fall semester. The program is designed to deepen a candidate’s knowledge and professional experiences and advance academic studies.  

    Course Requirements
    • EDUC571 Foundations and Methods of Special Education (fall)
    • EDUC572 Assessment and Evaluation in Special Education (fall)
    • EDUC573 Inclusive and Collaborative Teaching Methods (spring)
    • EDUC574 Positive Behavioral Support for Students with Disabilities (spring)
    • EDUC575 IEP Development and Successful Transitions for Students with Disabilities (summer)
    • EDUC527 Autism Spectrum Disorders (fall)
    • EDUC577 Teaching Diverse Learners (spring)
    • EDUC576 High and Low Incidence Comprehensive Seminar (spring)

    • EDUC261 Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom (§49.13)

    The Director of Graduate Education will determine, by transcript review, whether any previously completed course(s) fulfill any requirements for this  special education certification online. The department reserves the right to make the final decision on any transferable course(s). 

    Post-baccalaureate Special Education 7–12 certificatePlan of Study |   Course Catalog Major Requirements
    Post-baccalaureate Special Education PreK–8 certificatePlan of Study |   Course Catalog Major Requirements

    Seminar Requirement

    The comprehensive seminar is a course that focuses on observation and demonstration of teaching competencies, as well as participation in seminars that discuss the current issues in transition and special education. Seminar clinical hours should be reflective of certification area candidate is seeking (PreK–8 or 7–12). PDE requires candidates to have a strong clinical experience in specific areas in which they are preparing to teach. Minimum of 150 clinical hours.

    Testing Requirement

    Students are required to complete the following certification tests based on their program.


    • Module 1 ~ 8011 
    • Module 2 ~ 8012 


    • Module 1 ~ 8015 
    • Module 2 ~ 8016

    Certification Requirement

    PDE Certificate: Students must have successfully completed all requirements of the program prior to completing the TIMS online application for approval. There is a fee to add this certificate to an already existing Instructional certificate, and the fee is to be paid to PDE. 

    Financial Aid

    Please contact Financial Aid for student loan options at FinAid@francis.edu or (814) 472-3010.