Earn your online special education certification at GMercyU

Online Special Education Certification (PreK-8)

Earn Your Special Education Certification in PA

Prepare to offer specialized support to students who need it the most with Gwynedd Mercy University’s post-master’s online Special Education Certification program. This Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved program builds on your experience as an educator with theoretical knowledge and practical instructional skills for special education classrooms. 

The GMercyU Difference

GMercyU’s online Special Education Certification program features industry-leading interactive collaboration tools powered by Teachscape®. With personal guidance from our expert faculty members, you’ll record and analyze lessons you deliver using the Teachscape® Reflect Observation and Evaluation Management System. 

In addition, you’ll gain access to the Teachscape® Learn Professional Learning System. This resource library offers lesson plans and research-based instructional resources for all grade levels. With GMercyU, you—and your students—are in good hands.

What You Will Learn - Special Education Certification Program

As a GMercyU graduate, you will be able to:

  • Identify and use instructional methods and curricula that are appropriate and effective in meeting individual needs of persons with exceptionalities
  • Select and use appropriate instructional materials, equipment, and supplies in meeting the individual needs of persons with exceptionalities
  • Create safe and effective learning environments
  • Maintain confidentiality of information except when information is released under specific conditions of written consent and statutory confidentiality requirements
  • Apply disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures which will not undermine the dignity of the individual or the basic human rights of persons with exceptionalities
  • Utilize assessment instruments and procedures that do not discriminate against persons with exceptionalities on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, political practices, family or social background, sexual orientation or exceptionality
  • Specify goals and objectives for behavior management practices
  • Apply policies, statutes, and rules established by state and local agencies relating to judicious application of disciplinary methods and behavioral procedures
  • Develop communication with parents, avoiding technical terminology, using the primary language of the home, and other modes of communication when appropriate
  • Seek and use parents’ knowledge and expertise in planning, conducting, and evaluating special education and related services for persons with exceptionalities
  • Inform parents of the educational rights of their children and of any proposed or actual practices, which may violate those rights
  • Recognize and acknowledge the competencies and expertise of members representing other disciplines who serve persons with exceptionalities
  • Cooperate with other agencies involved in serving persons with exceptional abilities through such activities as the planning and coordination of information exchanges
  • Provide consultation and assistance to both general and special educators as well as other school personnel serving persons with exceptionalities

An Educational Community Dedicated to Your Success - And Your Students' Success

At GMercyU, our professors bring direct special education experience, advanced research backgrounds, and a passion for teaching to your classroom. Their insights and mentorship will help you effectively create a safe, productive learning environment for all of your students. 

Upon graduation, you and your classmates will join our extensive network of alumni. The colleagues, contacts, and friends you find in this leadership community will inspire you to continue to discover the Next.


The online Special Education Certification program consists of 18 credits. After successfully passing your courses, you may apply to take any required certification exams to obtain your certificate. 

SPE 560 Diagnosis, Assessment, Prescriptive and Intervention Techniques for Special Learners
SPE 561 Research-Based Learning Methods and Materials for the Special Learner
SPE 562 Special Education Law and Ethics
SPE 563 Standards-Aligned Systems and Seminar on Current Issues in Special Education
SPE 564 Behavior Management Skills for the Special Learner
SPE 581 Foundations in Special Education in an Inclusionary Setting

To review course descriptions, please refer to the graduate catalog (PDF).

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to the PreK-8 Special Education Certification program should hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their studies.

Applicants whose GPA falls just below the requirement (2.7-2.9 GPA) may request a review of their applications from the Program Director. Acceptance of an application for review does not guarantee  

Help Exceptional Learners Achieve

Learn more about how you can become a special education teacher with our innovative online master’s degree program. Call 844-707-9064or e-mail accelerate@gmercyu.edu to contact an admissions counselor. You also can begin your application online now! 

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

The online MSEd in Special Education prepares you to provide support to children and teenagers in Pre-K – 8 settings. You will improve your professional presentation and communication skills and become fluent in the research evaluation methods you need to pursue self-directed professional development after graduation.

Job prospects for special education teachers are growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 6% growth  in the number of special education teachers needed over the 2012-2022 period.