For Education Majors
As graduating education majors attempt to secure teaching positions, having dual certification in education and special education will be desirable to school districts. In the present climate of inclusive education, where it is often necessary to have both a regular education teacher and a special educator in the same classroom, and given the budgetary pressure to contain personnel costs, candidates who are dual certified are particularly attractive to school districts. Having course work in special education will provide teacher candidates with additional skills to address the diversity of needs within their classrooms.
In addition to taking the classes required for this certification, education majors will gain practical experience by student teaching in both areas of certification. Oftentimes, these two student-teaching placements are within the same district, one in their general education area of concentration and one in their special education area of concentration. These two placements will occur within the same semester, with the student teaching seven weeks in each assignment. In short, the certification provides valuable teaching experience without extending the typical four-year timeline.
In order to be certified in special education, the education majors will take the Special Education Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) for K – 8 or 7 – 12, depending on their area of general education certification. Once the test is completed, students will be certified to teach special education in Pennsylvania.