Special Education Graduate Certificate Programs

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Earning an online graduate certificate in special education prepares you to support K-12 students with special needs. The certificate program will prepare you to identify, understand, and assess students with different classroom challenges. You’ll also learn how to support and work with students’ strengths. A graduate certificate in special education helps you develop skills and strategies to implement behavioral intervention and IEP plans. You’ll also learn how to collaborate with various stakeholders to develop students to their full potential.

What Are the Online Special Education Graduate Certificate Requirements?

Admission requirements for online graduate certificate programs are often specific to the college or university. However, the majority of schools will list the requirements on a web page that describes the program. You can expect to need to submit proof of your teacher’s certificate, degrees, standardized test scores, and a resume or CV with details of your teaching experience. Here’s a list of common requirements:

  • Applicant fee
  • Proof of a completed bachelor’s/master’s degree
  • Valid U.S. teaching certificate
  • Current resume or CV
  • Letters of recommendation from colleagues in special education

What Type of Classes Are Included in the Online Special Education Graduate Certificate Curriculum?

An online special education graduate certificate typically consists of 12 to 15 credits. Some universities offer areas of emphasis or specialties, such as intellectual disabilities or emotional behavior disorders. Depending on the program, you may take a set of core classes and individual electives. Core courses can include:

  • IEP and Transition Processes
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Diagnosis and Assessment of Reading Difficulties
  • Special Education Curriculum
  • Adapting Instruction with Evidence-Based Strategies
  • Assistive Technology
  • Identification and Assessment of Special Needs Children

Examples of elective course can include the following:

  • Ethical and Professional Conduct for Behavior Analysts
  • Advanced Methods for Emotional Behavioral Disorders
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education
  • Advanced Methods for Learning Disabilities

What Type of Career Can I Pursue with an Online Special Education Graduate Certificate?

Those who earn a graduate certificate in special education tend to work as teachers in K-12 schools. Special education teachers can work with elementary, middle, or high school students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of special education teachers work in public school systems. They may specialize in teaching students with certain impairments, such as autistic children. Others may work with students who have a wider range of physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities. Other career paths may include:

  • Private Tutor: These professionals work with special needs students on a one-on-one basis providing private tutoring either outside of the public school system or through an agency.
  • Early Intervention Specialist: While a social worker will help with everyday educational needs, an Early Intervention Specialist provides support on social issues and teaches children techniques to aid independence. They can work in daycare centers and hospitals as well.
  • Advocate: You will work with parents and schools to develop learning programs. Advocates may also work with parents outside of the school system to access special services.

Special Education Graduate Certificate Programs List

Interested in a special education graduate certificate program? Check out our listings below to find a traditional, online, or hybrid program near you.


University of Arkansas at Little RockLittle Rock, ARSpecial Education K-12


San Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco, CAEarly Childhood Special Education


The University of DenverDenver, COEarly Childhood Special Education


Quinnipiac UniversityHamden, CTOnline - Special Education


Wilmington UniversityNew Castle, DESpecial Education: Early Childhood Exceptional Children


Kennesaw State UniversityKennesaw, GASpecial Education


Erikson InstituteChicago, ILOnline - Early Childhood Special Education


Indiana University-EastRichmond, INOnline - Special Education


University of KansasLawrence, KSOnline - Leadership in Special and Inclusive Education


St. Cloud State UniversitySaint Cloud, MNSpecial Education


Avila UniversityKansas City, MOSpecial Education

North Carolina

Appalachian State UniversityBoone, NCOnline - Special Education

North Dakota

University of North DakotaGrand Forks, NDOnline - Special Education

New Hampshire

University of New HampshireDurham, NHOnline - Special Education Administration

New Jersey

Rowan UniversityGlassboro, NJOnline - Special Education


University of Nevada, Las VegasLas Vegas, NV Early Childhood Special Education-Infancy


Oral Roberts UniversityTulsa, OKOnline - Special Education


Messiah UniversityMechanicsburg, PAOnline - Special Education


Sam Houston State UniversityHuntsville, TXOnline - Early Childhood Special Education
The University of Texas at San AntonioSan Antonio, TXSpecial Education Advocacy

Do we need to add to or update any of the information listed? Please contact us so we can keep our site updated.

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