The Department of Special Education at Clarion University has been a leader in the field for more than 50 years. Through scholarship, teaching and service, the department has disseminated innovative practices for both pre-service and in-service professionals. We have a variety of majors, minors and certificates in our department to prepare students for fulfilling careers in the field.
Programs of study
B.S.ED. SPECIAL EDUCATION DUAL PRE-K-8/7-12
The Department of Special Education has created a unique program designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners with a variety of disabilities, at risk for disabilities, and those with specific reading disabilities such as Dyslexia -- the Intervention Specialist Program. The Intervention Specialist Program combines special education preparation at the undergraduate level and special reading education at the graduate level. It also includes mathematics content knowledge and methods. All of this preparation is to ensure that individuals with specific learning needs and diverse abilities entitled to a free and appropriate quality education utilizing specialized teaching receive it at all age levels.
Upon completion of the program students will:
Earn a Bachelor of Science in special education.
Earn a Master's of Science in special education.
Be prepared to sit for the examinations required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for Special Education as well as Reading Specialist Certification.
B.S.ED. EARLY CHILDHOOD/SPECIAL EDUCATION
The School of Education offers a program of study which will provide students interested in working with students with disabilities dual certification in special education and early childhood education. Students completing this program are qualified to teach in special education programs (K-8) and early childhood programs from pre-K to Grade 4. Graduates may also find employment in special education infant stimulation and pre-school programs.
B.S.ED. MIDDLE LEVEL/SECONDARY WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION
Students enrolled in the middle level program are qualified to teach students in Grades 4-8 in concentration areas identified below.
A fifth year of graduate school prepares students for special education opportunities working with students who have disabilities in grades Pre K-8 or 7-12 depending upon if they are seeking middle level or secondary certification.
M.S. SPECIAL EDUCATION PRE-K-8/7-12 WITH READING CONCENTRATION
As indicated the intervention specialist program as it's known on campus is designed
to prepare a new professional for the commonwealth's schools. The program combines
special education, special reading education, as well as mathematics content knowledge,
to ensure that individuals with special learning needs and diverse abilities entitled
to a free, appropriate quality education utilizing specialized teaching, receive it
at all age levels.
Upon completion of the program students will;
Earn a Bachelor of Science in special education
Earn a Master of Science in special education
Be prepared to sit for the certification examination for special education as well as reading specialist certification.
M.ED. EDUCATION: SPECIAL EDUCATION CONCENTRATION
The Master's of Education with a concentration of special education program is primarily designed for individuals who possess a teaching certificate in some other area and wish to add a special education teaching certificate while also receiving a master's degree.
Students who presently hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited program may pursue the master's degree while completing additional course work leading to Pennsylvania certification in the area of special education.
The student's advisor will individually determine the specific course work for certification after a review of the student's past course work and experience.
M.S. SPECIAL EDUCATION
The M.S. in special education is designed for those individuals who currently hold special education certification and desire to increase their knowledge of students with disabilities and special education services.
- Candidates are offered courses covering the latest in advanced special education theory, knowledge, skills and critical thinking.
- Degree coursework goes well beyond the scope of initial special education licensure programs.
- The program is offered in an online seven-week semester format.
- The one research methods course is offered in a 15-week semester format.
MINOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY
A minor allows students to add an area of interest by taking an additional 18-21 credits. The special education department has a number of these programs.
- Minor in Diagnosis & Intervention Strategies for Students with Mathematical Disabilities - This minor is designed to provide educators in-depth knowledge of students with specific learning disabilities, as well as a variety of alternative methods to meet the instructional needs of students with disabilities or at risk for academic failure in mathematics. Requirements
- Minor in Special Education - The minor in Special Education is designed for those individuals who want more information about service delivery for students with disabilities, but do not want certification. Requirements
- Minor in Disability Studies - Disability is an increasingly important aspect of many careers. All environments must take into account the diversity of the populations they serve and be prepared to consider issues of accommodations, inclusion and accessibility. Students with an interdisciplinary background in disability studies will have a crucial skill set desired by employers and are prepared to work with a wide variety of people and build skills in creating inclusive, accessible settings.
CERTIFICATES AND ENDORSEMENTS
Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate/Endorsement
Designed for school personnel who hold Level I and Level II teaching certificates, this endorsement will be an addition to the school personnel's existing Level I and Level II certificates and will be issued by the PDE upon the completion of an application and successfully completing the required coursework.
The required 12 hours of graduate level coursework includes:
- Classes in autism spectrum disorders.
- Advanced applied behavior analysis.
- Collaboration and cooperation.
- Advanced methods for persons with autism and severe disabilities.
Gifted and Talented Certificate/Endorsement
All students need to make annual yearly progress even those who are gifted and talented. This certificate is designed to aid schools and educators in enhancing the opportunity for all students.
The required 15-18 hours include:
- Human Exceptionalities (may receive credit for prior learning).
- Differentiated Instruction.
- Introduction to Gifted.
- Curriculum Development and Educational Programming in Gifted Education.
- Collaboration and Cooperation: Improved Teaching and Learning Outcomes.
- Contemporary Education Practices and Directions.
The job market for special educators will continue to be favorable through 2026 (Best Choice Schools). Special Educators work with students with a variety of disabling conditions (Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities, Autism, Behavior Disorders, physical disabilities etc.) in various settings such as schools, hospitals, private schools and even prisons. Students who graduate from our Special Education PreK-8/7-12 with Reading Specialists program are in high demand and many are hired before they graduate.
- 49 states report a shortage of special education teachers including Pennsylvania
- 82% of special education teachers report that there are not enough professionals to meet the needs of students with disabilities
- 51% of all school districts and 90% of high poverty school districts report difficulty
attracting highly qualified special education teachers
Special Education Personnel Shortages Factsheet
As a student in any of Clarion's Special Education Programs, you are in field experiences from your very first semester. If you pursue the M.S. Special Education (Intervention Specialist program) you will be able to obtain three certifications and will have three field placements.
Teachers coming from the Intervention Specialist program are seasoned beyond their years of experience. Using data the Intervention Specialist teacher solves problems pulling from a multitude of interventions in order to continue student growth. Other faculty recognize their skills and seek them out for help. They quickly demonstrate themselves as leaders that establish growth and adapt to the challenges of learning for each student. - Joy Zuck, Oil City Area School District
Teacher shortage areas
Rick Sabousky Ph.D.
107 Stevens Hall
+1 813 393 2294 Office
+1 814 657 5667 Cell
Erin Neely is one of two Clarion students to receive the prestigious 2017 George O'Neil Scholarship. Her dedication to the field of special education hasn't gone unnoticed, serving in student organizations and volunteering to help the disabled.