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Certification in Special Education

Drexel University School of Education

Improvements in the diagnosis of learning disabilities at earlier ages have resulted in an increase in the number of students requiring special education. From now until 2018, the number of special education teachers is expected to grow 17 percent to more than 550,000 positions nationwide.* These teachers must be highly-skilled individuals who understand the complexities of their students’ needs, modifying curriculum, and providing remedial instruction.

The School of Education prepares special education teachers for these challenges.

Drexel’s Special Education Certification program seeks to produce professionals who are equipped with the fundamental skills, knowledge, and competencies they require to meet the needs of students at risk for school failure and students with disabilities in multiple settings. The program is intended for those interested in gaining greater skills and expertise and a teaching certification in the area of special education.

This program is for currently certified teachers seeking Pennsylvania's Special Education PreK-8 or 7-12 certification. Candidates must have an active PA Instructional I or Instructional II teaching certificate in one of the following areas.

For PreK-8 certification:
  • PreK-4
  • 4-8
  • K-12
  • Reading Specialist
  • Elementary K-6 or Early Childhood N-3
For 7-12 certification:
  • Secondary (7-12) subject area
  • K-12
  • Reading Specialist

Out-of-state teachers are welcome to participate in the Special Education Program as non-PA certification students.


The Special Education Certification program is a part-time program consisting of 27 graduate credits. For students that have not completed the prerequisite courses, the program will require 36 credits: 27 credits in Core Special Education Certification courses and 9.0 credits in prerequisites for certification in special education. The certification areas are Special Education PreK-8 and Special Education 7-12.

Course descriptions may be found in the Drexel University Catalog.

Most of the coursework requires field hours. Students must have the necessary clearances in order to begin the program.

Master of Science in Special Education

Credits earned in the Special Education Certification program may be applied to the Master of Science in Special Education. The MS program offers four concentrations: Autism Spectrum Disorders; Collaborative Special Education Law & Process; Multisensory Reading Instruction Level 1; and Technologies for Special Education. Students may also work with their academic advisor to develop a customized concentration to meet specific objectives.

For admissions information and to apply, visit Drexel Online.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-11.