Special Education - Early Childhood Special Education with Certification, Master of Education
If your aspiration is to teach young children with disabilities, ages birth to eight, this degree plan is for you. This plan will guide you toward certification in early childhood special education as an area of expertise, and upon successfully completing the program you will be eligible to receive an institutional recommendation. The Early Childhood Special Education certification means you will be prepared to work with young children ages 0-8 with disabilities. The demand for early childhood special educators currently outpaces the supply across the country. By earning this degree you'll be ready to enter a special education teaching position in either early intervention, preschool and kindergarten to third grade settings in private, human service, and public school settings.
This program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).
This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
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To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
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In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
Candidates in this program are required to demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and skills, professional knowledge, and professional dispositions to be eligible to enter student teaching or internship placements. Content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge or skills, professional dispositions are demonstrated through candidate performance on key assessments embedded in the following course(s):
|Minimum Units for Completion||37 - 46|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Arizona Certification/Endorsement||Prepares student for Arizona Certification and/or Endorsement.|
|Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching||Student Teaching/Supervised Teaching is required.|
|Some online/blended coursework||Required|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
To prepare early educators and early interventionists to best serve children birth to eight years old with disabilities, and their families in diverse settings. Coursework provides students with professional preparation focused on the implementation of evidence-based and recommended practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education for diverse children with disabilities, and their families. Students further refine their professional skills through embedded and applied learning experiences. This degree is designed for individuals who may or may not have previous early childhood experience who wish to pursue licensure in Early Childhood Special Education. Graduates of the program will be prepared to enter special education teaching positions in either early intervention, preschool, and kindergarten to third grade settings in private, human service, and public school settings.
Student Learning Outcomes
Outcomes align with Standards from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC).
Learner Development and Individual Differences: Beginning special education professionals understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals understand how language, culture, and family background influence the learning of individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals use understanding of development and individual differences to respond to the needs of individuals with exceptionalities
Learning Environments: Beginning special education professionals create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments so that individuals with exceptionalities become active and effective learners and develop emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and self-determination.
- Beginning special education professionals through collaboration with general educators and other colleagues create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments to engage individuals with exceptionalities in meaningful learning activities and social interactions.
- Beginning special education professionals use motivational and instructional interventions to teach individuals with exceptionalities how to adapt to different environments.
- Beginning special education professionals know how to intervene safely and appropriately with individuals with exceptionalities in crisis.
Curricular Content Knowledge: Beginning special education professionals use knowledge of general and specialized curricula to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals understand the central concepts, structures of the discipline, and tools of inquiry of the content areas they teach , and can organize this knowledge, integrate cross-disciplinary skills, and develop meaningful learning progressions for individuals with exceptionalities
- Beginning special education professionals understand and use general and specialized content knowledge for teaching across curricular content areas to individualize learning for individuals with exceptionalities
- Beginning special education professionals modify general and specialized curricula to make them accessible to individuals with exceptionalities.
Assessment: Beginning special education professionals use multiple methods of assessment and data-sources in making educational decisions.
- Beginning special education professionals select and use technically sound formal and informal assessments that minimize bias.
- Beginning special education professionals use knowledge of measurement principles and practices to interpret assessment results and guide educational decisions for individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals in collaboration with colleagues and families use multiple types of assessment information in making decisions about individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals engage individuals with exceptionalities to work toward quality learning and performance and provide feedback to guide them.
Instructional Planning and Strategies: Beginning special education professionals select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals consider an individual’s abilities, interests, learning environments, and cultural and linguistic factors in the selection, development, and adaptation of learning experiences for individual with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals use technologies to support instructional assessment, planning, and delivery for individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals are familiar with augmentative and alternative communication systems and a variety of assistive technologies to support the communication and learning of individuals with exceptionalities.
- Beginning special education professionals use strategies to enhance language development and communication skills of individuals with exceptionalities
- Beginning special education professionals develop and implement a variety of education and transition plans for individuals with exceptionalities across a wide range of settings and different learning experiences in collaboration with individuals, families, and teams.
- Beginning special education professionals teach to mastery and promote generalization of learning.
- Beginning special education professionals teach cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills such as critical thinking and problem solving to individuals with exceptionalities.
Professional Learning and Ethical Practice: Beginning special education professionals use foundational knowledge of the field and their professional Ethical Principles and Practice Standards to inform special education practice, to engage in lifelong learning, and to advance the profession.
- Beginning special education professionals use professional Ethical Principles and Professional Practice Standards to guide their practice.
- Beginning special education professionals understand how foundational knowledge and current issues influence professional practice.
- Beginning special education professionals understand that diversity is a part of families, cultures, and schools, and that complex human issues can interact with the delivery of special education services.
- Beginning special education professionals understand the significance of lifelong learning and participate in professional activities and learning communities.
- Beginning special education professionals advance the profession by engaging in activities such as advocacy and mentoring
- Beginning special education professionals provide guidance and direction to paraeducators, tutors, and volunteers
Collaboration: Beginning special education professionals collaborate with families, other educators, related service providers, individuals with exceptionalities, and personnel from community agencies in culturally responsive ways to address the needs of individuals with exceptionalities across a range of learning experiences.
- Beginning special education professionals use the theory and elements of effective collaboration.
- Beginning special education professionals serve as a collaborative resource to colleagues.
- Beginning special education professionals use collaboration to promote the well-being of individuals with exceptionalities across a wide range of settings and collaborators.
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Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- Prerequisites (one of the following completed prior to enrolling in the program)
- Elementary or Early Childhood Education Teaching Certificate OR
- ENG 105 (or equivalent) with a minimum grade of B
- Math (College Algebra) with a minimum grade of C
- Laboratory Science with a minimum grade of C
- IVP Fingerprint clearance card
Take the following 37 - 46 units:
Block A (6-15 units):
Candidates with an education degree will be evaluated by the department prior to admission. Upon transcript and prior completed coursework evaluation, requirements in Block A may be considered met and/or transfer credit may be applied. For candidates who meet all Block A requirements, additional elective courses (chosen in consultations with your advisor) may be required to earn the 37-46 units required for the degree.
Block B (31-37 units):
- ESE 516, ESE 536, ESE 556, ESE 557, ESE 657, ESE 670 (18 units)
- ESE 695 - Early Childhood (6 units)
- ESE 596 (4 units)
- DIS 526 (3 units)
- ESE electives*, chosen in consultation with your advisor (0-6 units)
For the Structured English Immersion (SEI) endorsement, candidates who have full SEI endorsement at admission must provide proof of the full endorsement. If proof of the full SEI endorsement is not presented at admission, the candidate is required to take the BME course (i.e., BME 631) as part of their program of study.
Before being accepted to student teaching, candidates must have a Passing scores on the required Professional Dispositions Modules
In order to obtain an Arizona teaching certificate, you must also take the required Arizona Educator Exam:
- Professional Knowledge: Early Childhood Exam
- Arizona Constitution
- US Constitution
Be aware that Arizona state teacher certification requirements leading to Institutional Recommendations may change at any time, and may impact program of study requirements.
Also, some districts/schools in Arizona may require additional NES exams if the position is responsible for instruction, evaluation and assigns grades for core academic subjects, such as a Special Education teacher in a self-contained classroom.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.