Early Intervention Specialist Training and Degree Program Information

Many schools offer certificate and master's degree programs in early intervention, some online. These programs teach students to work with babies and toddlers with special needs and qualify graduates to seek state certification to teach young children with special needs.

Essential Information

Programs require a bachelor's degree for admission. Many certificate programs require a teacher's license. Some master's programs may offer general teacher education in addition to training in early intervention. Certificate programs usually consist of fewer than 10 courses, and some prerequisite courses in the fundamentals of special education are required. The courses cover assessment of children with disabilities, program planning, and current issues in special education. An internship in a classroom is mandatory. The length of a master's program varies, depending on if the student is pursuing initial certification. In addition to classroom work, the program includes home visits, family consultations, and field experiences working with children of differing ages. Courses teach students about assessments and goals as well as instructional strategies.

Schools offering graduate certificate programs require a bachelor's degree for admission. In addition, some programs require proof an applicant is certified in preschool or primary education. Some programs also require students complete prerequisite coursework in special education and legal issues prior to admission. Master's degree programs require candidates possess bachelor's degrees. Some programs require completion of related coursework, such as child development, at the undergraduate level. Furthermore, students should demonstrate competency in concepts closely related to their chosen specialization, such as sign language for those specializing in teaching children with hearing impairments.

  • Program Levels: Certificate and master's degree
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree; proof of certification; foundational coursework in special education; competency in concepts related to study
  • Online Availability: Some programs are available online
  • Program Specializations: Children with hearing impairments
  • Other Requirements: Home visits, family consultations, and field experiences

Early Intervention Specialist Certificate Licensure Programs

Early Intervention Specialist licensure certificate programs prepare students to provide intervention services to disabled children from birth to age 5. These post-baccalaureate programs also qualify students for state certification in early childhood intervention. Programs cover child care, family support, and nutrition. Students additionally learn about the early identification of disabilities and abnormalities, advocacy, and family-focused intervention. Graduates apply their skills to the intensive care and education of children experiencing a range of disabilities.

Students gain skills required to design, implement, and monitor early intervention services and advocate on behalf of children with disabilities. Coursework provides an understanding of team approaches to working with disabled children, and the importance of working with multiple agencies to reach intervention goals. Programs include courses in:

  • Infant/child development and growth
  • Nutrition
  • Educational practices and programming
  • Curriculum activities
  • Screening and assessment
  • Instructional planning for young children

Master's Degree in Early Childhood Intervention

Master's degree programs in early childhood intervention prepare students to work with young children with or at risk of developing special needs. Students learn concepts related to instructional methods, behavioral management, the needs of special education learners, and the technologies used in special education environments. Programs qualify students for state special education teacher licensing for young children. Some programs also offer separate options for students already possessing their initial teaching licensure, and for students wishing to acquire standard licensure.

Students focus their learning in a specific area of early intervention, such as teaching the hearing impaired. As a result, course topics will reflect each student's selected career track. Programs include the following courses:

  • Language, hearing development, and sign language
  • Teaching literacy to deaf children
  • Applying technology in special education
  • Phonics and language structure
  • Special needs learning assessment
  • Interventions for special needs learners

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree programs have several career options in special education and intervention programs. Graduates find work in rehabilitative programs, hospitals, non-profit organizations and schools. Some popular career options include the following:

  • Developmental specialist
  • Teacher
  • Early interventionist

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that special education teachers could expect average job growth from 2012 through 2022, with a predicted growth of 6% during this decade (www.bls.gov). Special education preschool teachers reported median annual earnings of $54,000 as of 2014.

Licensing Information

Graduates seeking teaching opportunities in public schools must gain state licensure prior to gaining employment. Licensure requirements are determined by each state, and generally require that an individual has a minimum of a bachelor's degree, has graduated from an approved teaching program and has supervised teaching experience. Some states additionally offer a general special education license or licenses for specific areas.

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