Online graduate certificate programs in early childhood special education are offered at a select number of schools. These programs typically require students to already hold a bachelor's degree. Although individuals take courses online, many remote certificate programs require a supervised teaching or observation experience that takes place in a classroom or daycare environment. Certificate programs do not necessarily prepare students for teaching licensure, so candidates must look into their state's requirements.
Certificate in Early Childhood Special Education
Students pursuing an early childhood special certificate are often future or currently employed teachers looking for educational enhancement and career advancement. Certificates prepare students for working with academically, socially and behaviorally challenged students from birth to eight years of age. A bachelor's degree is a prerequisite.
Information and Requirements
A certificate program typically takes 1-2 years to complete. Individual interested in distance learning can take advantage of online or hybrid program options. Students need a computer with Internet access. Instructors blend traditional texts with contemporary online learning technologies, such as a course management system and online presentations.
List of Courses in Early Childhood Special Education at the Certificate Level
Courses focus on the education of academically and emotionally challenged students. Current teaching trends in special education and the role of diagnostic testing are topics of interest.
Autism in the Classroom
This course gives educators the skills for educating children with autism, which typically begins to manifest in early childhood. A brief history of the disorder, current assistive technologies, augmentative communication, positive behavior support and implementation of functional behavior are all focal points.
Teaching Reading to Special Needs Students
This course focuses on teaching literacy and reading skills to developmentally challenged students. Students look at case studies and identify contemporary trends in the language arts curricula for challenged students. Mentoring strategies for young special education students are also covered.
Current Diagnostic Tools
Formal assessment, boundaries of special needs, the relationship between assessment and instruction, and educational problem-solving are all topics of focus. Students also engage in field-based clinical assignments.
Individuals aspiring to teach special education predominantly have master's degrees. In addition, teachers much be licensed by their state and may be subject to further and continuing teacher education. Special education teachers may have their own classes and classroom, or they may work with students one-on-one. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an expected six percent increase in special education teachers at the kindergarten and elementary school level from 2014-2024, and reported their annual median salary to be $56,800 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
While students will likely be required to complete in-person practicums, there are graduate certificate programs in early childhood special education that are offered online. These programs are designed for degree holders and focus on topics like autism in the classroom and current diagnostic tools.