Special Education

The Special Education program is designed to prepare you for certification to teach students with disabilities from PreK-12.  In addition, we offer a non-certification degree program of Disability and Community Services, as well as an Autism Endorsement to be added on to an existing PA Instruction I teaching certification.

What You'll Study

Special Education Teacher Certification

The Special Education Teacher Certification major allows you the opportunity to teach students with disabilities in grades PreK-12. Within this degree program, you will learn knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach across various grade levels and disability areas. Areas of expertise that will be covered in this major include:

  • Knowledge of special education law and regulations
  • Etiology and eligibility of various disabilities
  • Accommodations and modifications to meet diverse learning needs
  • Specific teaching strategies to enhance the academic, social, and functional growth of students with disabilities 



Special Education Dual Major Teacher Certification

Special Education is available as a dual major for students who desire special education certification in addition to a content area certification. At this time, a dual major teacher certification is available for PreK-4 and Special Education (PreK-12). With this degree, you will be certified to teach regular education PreK-4 and any  special education classroom from PreK-12. 

Please click on the track sheet below to review the required coursework with this degree program:

PREK-4 and Special Education

Disability and Community Services

If you are intersted in pursuing a degree supporting the success of individuals with disabilities, but do not wish to gain a teacher certification, the Disability and Community Services track would be a perfect fit!  This program combines course work in special education, social work, and communication studies. This major prepares you to work as a professional serving individuals with disabilities in a wide array of public and private sector settings

Please click on the link below to learn more about the Disability and Community Services major:

Disability and Community Services

Special Education Minor

The special education minor is designed for students in secondary education, elementary education, or early childhood education, but can be valuable to other majors such as social work, recreation, and psychology.  The minor is intended to provide you with a second area of expertise, but does not lead to special education certification. Topics covered include:

  • Foundations of Special Education
  • Effective Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings
  • Positive Behavior Supports

Special Education Minor Required Coursework

Autism Endorsement

Autism Endorsement: The Department of Special Education at Lock Haven University offers 12 credits of coursework (100% online) to pursue an Autism Endorsement that aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidelines and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Preparation standards. More on LHU's Autism Endorsement.

Autism Endorsement

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Program Highlights

  • Accreditation: Each program is recognized by both state and national accrediting associations.
  • National Recognition: The Special Education program at Lock Haven University has continuously received national recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children.
  • Student Learning Outcomes: Since the Special Education program at LHU is nationally recoognized through the Council for Exceptional Children, student learning outcomes are aligned with CEC's Initial Preparation Standards
  • Blocked Classes: Dual majors will take professional semester block courses in both their chosen content area and in special education. Content area blocks include subject-specific “methods” course where prospective teachers learn about curriculum, assessment, and technology in addition to methods for teaching in the various content areas. Special Education block focuses on assessment and instructional planning for both low and high incidence populations, as well as special education law.
  • Field Experience Hours: One of the unique aspects of the Special Education program at LHU is the vast amount of field experience  hours that are embedded into the course sequence. Special Education majors at LHU participate in a wide variety of field experiences beginning in their freshman year.  By their senior year, pre-service candidates will have gained 100 hours of experience in the  schools prior to starting supervised placements. 
  • Student Teaching: When pre-service candidates enter their  senior year, they culminate their degree with a semester long student teaching experience, providing placements in both elementary  and secondary settings.  For dual majors in SPEC and PreK-4,  student teachers will have one placement in regular education (PreK-4) and one placement in special educatioon (7-12).
  • Scholarships: From honorariums to full-tuition waivers, scholarships exist to reward your hard work and dedication to the major. Find more information here.  You may also find information for the Mary Alice Smith Special Education Scholarship Fund here.

  • Instructional Facilities: Pre-service candidates who enroll in the Special Education program at LHU have the opportunity to actively engage in technology-equipped classrooms to empower their instructional skills as future educators.  In addition, students are given access to dedicated hands-on learning materials, such as assessment kits and manipulatives,  in order to effectively prepare instructional designs for PK-12 students. 
  • Careers: There remains a growing demand for special education teachers, particularly in rural and inner city school districts. According to the 2014 Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the overall demand will continue to be driven by increasing enrollment and a continued need for special education services. Please see our State Authorization webpage for further instructions if you are planning to hold licensure in another state.

  • Autism Endorsement: The Department of Special Education at Lock Haven University offers 12 credits of coursework (100% online) to pursue an Autism Endorsement that aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidelines and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Advanced Preparation standards. More on LHU's Autism Endorsement.

Want to Know More?

Department of Special Education

Dr. Erica Moore
203  Robinson Learning Center                  Lock Haven University
(570) 484-2430

Contact our Admissions Office

8:00am to 4:00pm Monday-Friday
(570) 484-2027

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