Online Special Education (PK-12) Certification

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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 any valid teaching certification, this program can be a stand-alone or a part of the MS in Special Education degree.

Effective Fall 2021, changes will be made to the Online Special Education Certification program. View the changes here.

At a glance

Program Credits


Standard Completion Time

2 yrs

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
Boy during session with speech therapist learning letters

Typical Program Curriculum

Semester 31 Required Credits
Fall #1 SPE 721 ABA for Autism and Other Disabilities I (S1)1
SPE 661 Foundations of Special Education (S2)
Spring #1 SPE 764 Teaching Children with Lower Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 714 Diagnosis & Evaluation of Exceptional Learner (S2)
Summer #1 SPE 763 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities (S1)
SPE 723 Interventions for Autism/Other Disabilities (S2)
 Fall #2 SPE 761 Teaching Children with Higher Incidence Disabilities
SPE 762 Developmental and Diagnostic Reading Interventions
Spring #2 SPE 791 Special Education Practicum I (1 cr.)
Summer #2 SPE 792 Special Education Practicum II (1 cr.)
EDU 781 Student Teaching (4 cr.)
1S1 = first 7-week session; S2 = second 7-week session


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
  • Meet the prerequisite of 3 credits on instructional needs of English Language Learners or take TSL 611 prior to entering the program

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

For more information about the online Special Education Certification, email


Upon successful completion of this program:

  • Students are eligible for PA Special Education PK-12 certification if they also pass the PA Special Education PK-12 Certification Test and are U.S. citizens or intend to be U.S. citizens.
  • Students will have met all or most requirements to apply to ACSI for a K-12 Special Education certificate. Visit ACSI’s Certification Documents and Requirements for more information.

Out-of-State Certification

Out-of-state students are advised to contact the Department of Education in their state to inquire about the requirements for teacher certification in their state. Please visit this Education Programs Licensure and Certification page for the link to each state’s Teacher Certification page.

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