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2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog
University of Pittsburgh
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Apr 19, 2021
2019-2020 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Special Education Pre-K - 8 Teacher Certification

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Students pursuing a Special Education PreK-8 certification-only track are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits beyond the prerequisite course work. Most students complete the certification program in three semesters. Students begin with two courses in the summer session and then complete two semester of full-time study in the fall and spring semesters. Each year a new cohort of students begins the program together starting in the summer. With the exception of the first summer term, special education courses are offered in the evening.

During the fall term students are required to spend one day per week in each school to which they are assigned for student teaching in preparation for student teaching in the spring. Students complete two different full-time student teaching experiences in the spring, each of eight weeks duration. During the student teaching experiences, teacher candidates are closely supervised by both a university supervisor and an experienced mentor teacher. The School of Education Office of Placement Services and Clinical Practices will arrange field placements for students.


The Special Education Teacher Preparation PreK-8 (SETP PreK-8) specialization is a post baccalaureate program with two paths for completion. One option combines special education teacher certification with a Master of Education (MEd) degree in Instruction and Learning. The other option is for special education teacher certification only. This specialization prepares special educators to teach children and youth with a range of disabilities and emphasizes educational needs rather than categorical labels.  Individuals holding the PreK-8 certification may provide specialized support and instruction to eligible students with cognitive, behavior, physical, and/or health disabilities within the specified grade level range in a variety of settings.  Pennsylvania requires all special educators to also be initially certified to teach the general education population and curriculum.  In that case, these programs accept previously certified elementary level teachers and reading specialists and furthers their ability to effectively teach a diverse student body.

Additionally, the Combined Accelerated Studies in Education (CASE) program is a five-year program that combines undergraduate and graduate work. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and a Masters of Education (MEd) degree in Instruction and Learning. This program prepares students to apply for dual teacher certification in PreK-Grade 4 and Special Education PreK-8.  The CASE program provides prospective teachers with a rich blend of coursework and field experiences. Students who complete the program will gain a strong background in the liberal arts along with the specific professional and pedagogical knowledge and practice skills necessary to be an effective educator.

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