Special needs and special education students are becoming integrated into traditional classrooms at a rapid rate. Now more than ever, elementary teachers need credentials and experience in responding to the needs of these students, managing classrooms that are inclusive, and understanding the challenges that are a part of the daily lives of special education students.
In the past, inclusive education with a focus on special needs populations was not a part of elementary education programs. Recent changes by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) have made inclusive education an important component of contemporary education school curricula. Special education studies leading to a second certification in Special Education increases the marketability of practicing teachers who already have received a primary certification in Pennsylvania. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job growth rate of approximately 17% for special education teachers between now and 2020. In addition, PDE changed the categorization of Special Education into separate PreK-8 and 7-12 ranges.
Teaching our youngest children requires a special blend of understanding, managerial and interpersonal skills. Early elementary teaching is a demanding but rewarding profession, particularly in a climate in which inclusion is, more and more, the reality of contemporary classrooms.
The Special Education program is designed around four major themes:
Consultation and collaboration
Inclusion and diversity
Each course embeds these themes within the content of the course in the following ways:
Focusing on the necessity of consultation, collaboration, and team teaching to provide effective services that build communities of support for students.
Stressing inclusion as the default option for all students while striving to build communities of diverse individuals.
Designing authentic, meaningful instruction that addresses real needs of students and families.
Engaging in self-reflection and reflection on current practices that fosters growth and visionary programming.
Flexibility with Intentional Design in Fieldwork
Fieldwork is a key component of all School of Education programs. That said, we understand that most of our graduate students work full-time and attend their courses in the late afternoon and evening, and that many are already teachers.
As a result, our policies regarding field and clinical experiences for graduate students are more flexible than those for undergraduate teacher certification students. We provide several fieldwork opportunities that fall outside of traditional business hours (prior to 9 a.m., late afternoon and evening).
Students may also gain fieldwork experience in their own school if they are already working as a general education teacher or reading specialist.
Your Professional Goals Are Within Reach
If you have a bachelor's degree in any subject area, you are eligible to apply to Arcadia's School of Education and prepare for a career in education.
Attend Part- or Full-Time
You can complete the program part- or full-time, with evening classes offered 4:30-10 p.m. Monday through Friday during each 14-16 week semester. There are also a few online courses. Simply choose how many courses you'd like to register for each semester with the help of your academic adviser.
Full-time status for graduate students is nine or more credit hours per semester. Most students register for at least two courses a semester, allowing them to complete a master's degree and/or teacher certification within 18 to 24 months.
Become a Certified Teacher
The master’s degree is not required for certification. Certification requirements may vary based on your academic experience.
For Pennsylvania Instructional Teacher Certification. This program is designed for individuals seeking to add PreK-8 Special Education to an existing Instructional I Certificate in Elementary/Middle School, Reading Specialist or other K-12 Certificate and planning to work in an elementary or middle school settings.
This program is designed for individuals seeking to add 7-12 Special Education to an existing Instructional I Certificate in Secondary Education, Reading Specialist or other K-12 certificate and planning to work in middle or secondary settings.