Online Special Education (PK-12) Certification

Home > School of Education > Online Special Education (PK-12) Certification

Maximize your capacity to work with students with special needs and significantly impact their lives through this biblical, online program. Enhance your career options through receiving special education certification. Designed for individuals holding a valid teaching license or certificate, this program can be a stand-alone or part of the MS in Special Education degree.

Spring 2022 start date: January 10, 2022

At a glance

Program Credits


Standard Completion Time

28 months

Program Highlights

  • Start any semester; complete in as few as seven semesters
  • Mostly 7-week courses, one at a time
  • Mild to severe disabilities addressed
  • Two Applied Behavior Analysis courses included
  • 50% tuition discount for educators working in Christian schools
  • Field experience integrated into multiple courses

Program Curriculum

Semester 34 Total Credits
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)2
SPE 661 Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 764 Teaching Children with Lower Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 723 Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 763 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 792 Special Education Practicum II (2 cr.)
 Fall #2 SPE 761 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (F)
SPE 762 Developmental and Diagnostic Reading Interventions (F)
Spring #2 SPE 714 Diagnosis & Evaluation of Exceptional Learner (S2)
SPE 791 Special Education Practicum I (1 cr.)
Summer #2 TSL 611 Foundations of Teaching English Learners (S1)2
Fall #3 SPE 789 Student Teaching (4 cr.) (S1 & S2)3
1S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session; F = full semester (14 weeks)
2TSL 611 may be fulfilled by another equivalent undergraduate or graduate course
3Full-time student teaching required; may be completed in a later semester


PA Special Education PK-12 Certification

Candidates can be recommended to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for PA Special Education PK-12 certification upon fulfillment of the following:

  • Successful completion of the Special Education PK-12 certification program, including two practicums and full-time student teaching
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • A passing score on the PA Special Education PK-12 Certification Test and the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge Test.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident immigrant visa status that permits working and residing in the U.S. and filing of a completed Declaration of Intent to Become a Citizen of the United States form (Also see Foreign-Educated Teacher Certification Applicants.)
  • Submission of an application on TIMS (Teacher Information Management System); information may be obtained from the School of Education Logistics and Certification Officer. Certification is not automatically issued.
  • Fulfilling the above requirements meets certification requirements in Pennsylvania but may or may not meet certification requirements in other states. Interested students are strongly recommended to contact the Department of Education in their state to inquire about its requirements. Please visit Education Programs Licensure and Certification for the link to each state’s Teacher Certification page.

Note: Other than being eligible to apply for PA Special Education PK-12 certification, successful candidates will receive a document of completion from the School of Education. However, no degree or certificate will be issued by Cairn University.

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) Certification

Candidates may be eligible to apply to ACSI for the Special Education certificate upon fulfillment of the following:

  • Successful completion of Special Education PK-12 certification program
  • Other requirements as indicated on the ACSI website. See Certification Documents and Requirements for more information.
  • Submission of an application on ACSI’s website in coordination with the School of Education Logistics and Certification Officer. Certification is not automatically issued.


To enter the program, the candidate will:

  • Apply and complete Cairn University’s Graduate Program enrollment process
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree (with a cumulative GPA of 3.0) from an accredited undergraduate institution and submit proof in the form of official transcripts
  • Hold valid teaching certification and submit acceptable proof including state or government-issued teaching certification or ASCI teaching certificate. Other teaching certificates are subject to University evaluation

To complete the program, the candidate will:

  • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Successfully complete all practicums and student teaching. Students are responsible to identify placement schools in their local area for practicums and student teaching unless they reside within an hour from Langhorne, PA.

For more information about the online Special Education Certification, email

Boy during session with speech therapist learning letters

We're here to help!

Chat with our Admissions Counselors

Our Admissions staff are available to answer any questions and assist you with each step of the enrollment process.

Contact Admissions

Start typing and press Enter to search