Special Education: Secondary Transition Graduate Certificate

Admission Requirements | Degree Requirements | Courses

About Arcadia’s Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition

The Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition is a 12 credit program which provides students with advanced training in the secondary transition process. In this program, students will enhance their understanding of transition-related regulations, policies, and procedures, and will explore best practices in assessment, instruction and curriculum, and interagency collaboration that are essential to provide appropriate transition services under IDEA 2004. The transition certificate program meets the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Special Education candidate competencies in Secondary Transition.

Coordinator: Dr. Clare Papay

What is Secondary Transition?

Secondary transition is the process of preparing youth with disabilities for adult life. Meaningful transition planning and programming are key elements in preparing students with disabilities for post-secondary education, employment, and independent living. The transition plan is a central component in the development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for high school students and in Pennsylvania, transition planning must begin by age fourteen.

Who is this Certificate for?

The Secondary Transition Certificate is designed to increase the transition-related knowledge and skills of the various individuals involved in the transition process. These individuals include transition coordinators, special educators, special education administrators, service providers (counselors and occupational therapists), vocational rehabilitation counselors, community based educators, parents, advocates, or any individual with a background in education or adult services who is interested in expanding his/her knowledge in the area of transition-focused special education.

Transition coordinators and secondary educators work with students to provide an education that prepares students for life after high school. Knowledge and skills in the field of transition are essential for all secondary special educators as transition-related post-secondary goals drive instruction and services across the curriculum for high school students.

Why Study at Arcadia?

All of Arcadia’s instructors have extensive experience working in the field of transition as transition coordinators or in other roles as part of the transition process. Arcadia’s program is designed to develop professional expertise in secondary transition and the skills necessary to design and implement high quality transition programming that will result in meaningful outcomes for youth with disabilities.

Are Courses Taught Online?

The four courses in the Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition are fully online. Students must also attend a Summer Seminar/ Orientation in person at the beginning of the program.

Credit toward a graduate degree in Education: The 12 credits earned in this certificate program may be applied to a Master of Education with departmental approval and advising.

Academic Policies: Students in Arcadia University Graduate Certificate programs are subject to the academic policies of the College of Graduate Studies. Grades of “B” or better in every class are required to qualify for the Certificate.

Transfer Credit: Transfer credit is not permitted in this program.

Why Study Secondary Transition?

The Secondary Transition Certificate program at Arcadia will meet the growing need of secondary special educators and transition coordinators interested in expanding their knowledge in the field of transition. The coursework will provide these individuals with the skills to create and implement transition plans, instruction and services to better serve their students.

In order to ensure proper implementation of federal IDEA requirements, State Education Agencies are monitoring the 20 Indicators of the State Performance Plan (SPP), including several indicators relating to secondary transition. Indicator 13 measures “percent of youth aged 16 and above with an individual education program (IEP) that includes coordinated, measurable annual IEP goals and transition services that will reasonably enable the student to meet the post-secondary goals,” and Indicator 14 measures the “percent of youth who had IEPs, are no longer in secondary school and who have been competitively employed, enrolled in some type of postsecondary school, or both, within one year of leaving high school.”  This certificate includes extensive training in the Indicator 13 monitoring process so that students who complete the program have the skills and knowledge to provide appropriate services and instruction to ensure successful post-secondary outcomes for all youth.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements for graduate students, the following program-specific requirements must be met:
Admissions to the Graduate Certificate Program:

  • A graduate application, including personal statements, to be completed online at www.arcadia.edu/gradapp.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
  • Two letters of recommendation. The letters must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or fewer, the letter must come from a professor.
  • Experience in education, psychology, human services, or another related discipline.
  • State and federal clearances, which include criminal check, child abuse and FBI fingerprinting. Information can be found on the Education website at http://www.arcadia.edu/clearances

Students can take the first course (ED 670) before formal application and matriculation into the program, but they should apply for admission into the certificate program before taking a second course. Taking a course does not guarantee admission into the program.  ED670 should be taken first.  The remaining three courses can be taken in any order.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Secondary Transition

(12 credits)

The following courses are required:

  • ED 670 Transition Planning and Services (3 credits)
  • ED 671 Transition Assessment (3 credits)
  • ED 672 Partnerships for Successful Transition (3 credits)
  • ED 673 Transition Curriculum and Instruction (3 credits)

In addition to the coursework, students must attend a Summer Seminar/Orientation on time, preferably at the beginning of the program. At the seminar, students will meet instructors and will build community with the other students in the program. Further professional development around a current topic in the field of secondary transition, with guest speakers, will be offered.  This is a noncredit requirement. A fee will apply.

Secondary Transition Course Descriptions (ED)

ED 670 Transition Planning and Services (3 credits) The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the transition processes and procedures integral to comprehensive secondary educational programming. Transition-focused education is an outcomes oriented approach to helping students plan and prepare for life after high school in the areas of post-secondary education, employment and independent living. This course examines transition related legislation and planning requirements and explores the various services and instructional methods in transition and career development that support students as they move from middle school through high school and into early adulthood. The course emphasizes evidence-based best practices with a focus on self-determination and self-advocacy, on-going student-centered transition and career assessments, inclusive community-based instruction, aligning transition instruction with standards based curriculum and interagency and family collaboration.

ED 671 Transition Assessment* (3 credits) Ongoing assessment is the foundation for student-centered transition planning and programming. The purpose of this course is to examine both formal and informal transition assessments and explore how these assessments are used to guide the transition process. Throughout the course the students will select, create and administer age-appropriate assessment tools. Based on an understanding of assessment results, students will develop and determine appropriate transition plans, programs, services, and instruction. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of ED670 with a “B” or better.

ED 672 Partnerships for Successful Transition* (3 credits) Transition planning and programming is a collaborative process in identifying and providing appropriate instruction, services and support for secondary students with disabilities. This course will help transition professionals identify family, school, community and agency partners who support the student in the transition process. This course will provide an overview of the role of community and state systems that support transitioning youth and young adults. Students in the course will examine best practices in how to partner with agencies, schools and employers which provide students with additional support as they transition out of school and into post-secondary educational, employment and community settings. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of ED670 with a “B” or better.

ED 673 Transition Curriculum and Instruction* (3 credits) The purpose of this course is to assist special educators and transition professionals in determining what to teach and how to teach it. The course will address issues in developing and selecting curriculum that meet students’ transition needs and align with state academic standards. Evidence-based best practices in instructional methods and strategies including community-based instruction, career development and work-based learning, as well as technology integration will be explored. Throughout the course, students will evaluate and develop lessons that promote self-determination and self-advocacy and learn ways to assist high school students in developing the skills necessary for post-secondary success. Prerequisites: Admission to the program and satisfactory completion of ED670 with a “B” or better.


For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.arcadia.edu/gainful.

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