Prepare to help meet the educational needs of students with disabilities

Carlow University’s Special Education program at the graduate level prepares teachers to meet the needs of children with a wide variety of mental, physical, social, emotional and behavioral disabilities in multiple settings. You will learn to adapt general education lessons to effectively teach students with mild and moderate disabilities.

Per requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, students entering the Special Education graduate certificate program must be certified teachers in another content area.

A Carlow students smiles at the camera during class. She is surrounded by other classmates.
In Grace Library, spanning the third and fourth floor of the University Commons, there are numerous quiet spaces and study rooms for individuals and groups to use.
Credits required:

26 credits



Time to completion:

As few as 18 months


On campus or online

Graduate Certificate in Special Education curriculum

The graduate Special Education program includes 23 credit hours of coursework focusing on the practical application of research-based special education theoretical constructs and methodology and 3 credits of student teaching. The program requires 12 credits that focus on research methodologies, analytical processes and critical issues. You must have 9 credits in special needs education as prerequisites to entering the Master of Education program with a concentration in special education. 

Quick facts

  • Emphasizes meeting needs of students with a wide range of disabilities and positive behavior support
  • Latest special education technology
  • Approved provider for the federal TEACH Grant
Male teacher works with elementary school kids at their desk

Career opportunities for special education teachers

Most special education teachers work in public schools, teaching students at the preschool, elementary, middle and high school levels. Others work in private schools, child care services and other institutions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029. Demand for special education services and teachers should rise as disabilities are being identified earlier and as children with disabilities are enrolled into special education programs.

Admission requirements and application process

You can apply for free online, and must submit the following materials:

  • Official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions you have attended
  • Personal essay that describes your academic objectives
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation that address your leadership potential and ability to succeed in graduate-level work


Start terms:

Fall, Spring & Summer

An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred; however, provisional admission is also possible if you do not meet all of the admission criteria but exhibit a strong possibility of academic success. No prerequisites or teacher licensure are required for this degree and certification.

Jennifer Do testimonial for Carlow University. She is sitting outside.
Olivia Miller, ’21, biology major and runner on the track & field/cross country team.

Expand your knowledge

Carlow made life easy for Jennifer Do, MEd as she earned a master’s and then a graduate certificate in special education while maintaining her full-time job. “I needed them to understand I worked in the field already, that I had years of experience, and that I wanted to learn more. They challenged me and made me think about the world around me. They helped me to grow into a leadership position. Carlow fit into my life, and to this day I still reach out to the staff.”

Contact Admissions

If you are interested in this graduate certificate program, our Admissions team is available to assist you with the next steps.

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