Special Education 7-12 Teacher Certification and Master of Education

The Special Education Teacher Preparation program (SETP) Grades 7-12 is a graduate teacher certification program. The program combines special education teacher certification with a Master of Education (MEd) degree in the area of Instruction and Learning. You will develop advanced knowledge in the fields of educational research, learning theory, and child development to enhance your teaching practice. 

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: 1 year
  • Time Commitment: Full-time 
  • Term of Enrollment: Summer/Fall/Spring/Summer 
  • Course Requirements: 37 credits 
  • Application Deadline: Applications are reviewed starting January 15 and acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis until the program is full. 
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE Exam Not Required

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Program Details

Students are required to complete a minimum of 37 credits beyond the prerequisite course work. MEd students will develop advanced knowledge in the fields of educational research, learning theory, and child development to enhance their teaching practice. 

The summer term for MEd students begins in late June with courses related to teaching special education.  Summer courses meet in person four days a week from 8:30 am-4:15 pm. During the fall term, in addition to coursework, students are required to spend 10 hours per week in a school placement. Students complete 15 week, full-time student teaching experiences in the spring. During student teaching, teacher candidates are closely supervised by both a university supervisor and an experienced mentor teacher. 

View Program Curriculum >> 

Degree Requirements

Coursework, fall practicum experience, full-time student teaching (spring), and a comprehensive exam. 


The Special Education Grades 7-12 Teacher Certification satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate in Special Education Grades 7–12, pending:

  • Earning a passing score on Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) Special Ed 7–12 exams; 
  • Completing the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430);
  • Demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student teaching


  • Successful completion of an initial teacher certification program (Grades 7-12 or Reading Specialist)
  • Two prerequisite courses: Foundations of Special Education and Teaching English Language Learners (3 credits each)

Career Pathways

Most graduates begin their career in this field as special education teachers. With experience—and sometimes further training—many graduates go on to become: 

  • Private contractors 
  • Special education coordinators or directors 
  • Instructional coaches 
  • Principals or assistant principals