What Is an Online Special Education Certificate?

A special education certificate prepares you to teach children with learning disabilities, physical handicaps and emotional or behavioral challenges. Earning your special education certificate online means that you can take courses and turn in assignments over the Internet rather than attending classes at a college or university campus. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Program Overview

Licensed teachers can qualify to teach special education students through online certificate programs offered by many colleges and universities. These programs take about a year to complete. Some are totally online, with students logging on to view recorded lectures and turn in assignments as their schedules permit. Others are hybrid programs that have online and on-campus components.

Important Facts About Online Special Education Certificates

Concentrations Autism, applied behavior analysis, higher education disabilities services, generalist
Possible Careers Special education teachers, teachers, instructional coordinators, assistant principal
Continuing Education May be required to complete annual courses to maintain license
Common Courses Teaching students with high incident and low incident disabilities, educational research, inclusive classroom methods
Median Salary (2018)$59,780 (Special Education Teachers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (Special Education Teachers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Typical Curriculum

Online special education certificate programs improve candidates' understanding of students with exceptional educational needs, including autism, behavioral and emotional disorders. They also introduce applicants to special needs students and explore the best methods to use when teaching them.

Career Options

Most special education teachers work in public schools. Some teach children with special needs who visit the resource room for part of the school day. Others teach in general education classrooms, working closely with the lead teachers to help include exceptional students in the mainstream class work. Some schools have special education classrooms serving only these students. Some special education teachers work in other settings. Your online special education certificate may lead you to work in the following:

  • Private schools
  • Residential facilities
  • Hospitals, clinics or rehabilitation programs
  • Homes of students with special needs

Schools with Online Special Education Certificate Programs

These special education certificate programs may help you earn a state teaching credential. Some states issue provisional credentials until you have special education teaching experience.

St. Joseph's University

Saint Joseph's University is a Jesuit school offering a post-bachelor's certificate and a master's degree in special education online. In 2013, the school earned the 11th ranking spot in the northern region for its master's degree programs from U.S. News & World Report.

Waynesburg University

This 30 credit hour special education certification program has a blended format. Some of the courses are available completely online; others require attendance at evening classes. Applicants need a bachelor's degree. Another 36 credit hour program results in the Master of Education in Special Education.

Penn State World Campus

Pennsylvania State University's Supervisory Certificate program is specifically for those who wish to pursue leadership roles in special education. This Pennsylvania Department of Education approved online program can help students meet the requirements for certification in Pennsylvania.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
      • Master of Science in Educational Psychology
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    Online Programs Available

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