Become a Licensed Special Education Teacher (PK-3, K-6, or 6-12)

Typical Length 18 months

Delivery Hybrid

33

Credits

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Licensure

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Stipends Available

Next enrollment for this program will be for Spring 2023 admissions. Please complete the “Request More Info” form to be notified when applications open. 

The Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education is a statewide, 18-month, field-based program designed for those pursuing careers in teaching who have already earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree (in any field).

This program has two specialization options and three licensure level options:

Two specialization options

  1. The mild/moderate disabilities specialization prepares candidates to work with the largest population of students with disabilities. These students have learning disabilities, ADHD, or other high incidence disabilities. They typically follow an academic curriculum in the general education setting or special education resource setting.
  2. The severe disabilities/autism specialization prepares candidates to work with individuals with disabilities who need support learning functional academic and life skills (communication, social competence, and adaptive behavior). This emphasis focuses on improving the quality of life for students who may require more comprehensive support. This includes students with low-incidence disabilities (e.g. intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, multiple impairments) and may be taught in a fully self-contained classroom setting. In addition, this specialization includes 12 credits of overlapping ABA coursework for those interested in pursuing the MEd in Special Education with the BCBA-Track afterwards.

Three licensure level options in special education

  1. Early Childhood (PreK – Grade 3)
  2. Elementary (Grade K – Grade 6)
  3. Secondary (Middle and High School)

Please read the Gainful Employment disclosure for your career field.

Who should consider this program?

People who:

  • Live or want to live on any island in Hawaii, and
  • Already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and
  • Are interested in becoming a licensed special education teacher, and/or
  • Are licensed in another area and would like to add special education to their current license, and/or
  • Are interested in later continuing on for a master degree, and/or
  • Are interested in pursuing certification towards becoming BCBA certified after becoming a certified teacher
Career & Licensure Information

Upon completion of this program, qualified candidates will be recommended for initial teacher licensure in special education (PK-3, K-6, OR 6-12) with a mild/moderate or severe/autism specialization.

  • Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
  • Elementary Special Education Teacher
  • Secondary Special Education Teacher

This program is nationally accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) through June 30, 2028. Accreditation means that the College of Education (COE) meets the highest national standards for the preparation of teachers, administrators, and other professionals.

Once completing an initial teacher licensure program, graduates are eligible to apply for a state license through the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, which will allow the licensee to teach in public and charter schools in the State of Hawaii.

Hawai’i also participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement which facilitates the mobility of educators among the states that are members of NASDTEC. UHM recommends you contact the office of certification in any state to which you may be relocating to get the most current information. See the NASDTEC website for more information.

Admission Requirements

Eligibility

  • Bachelor’s degree: Applicants must have graduated from a UHM recognized, accredited, four-year institution of higher education
  • 2.75 GPA or higher

Application Requirements

  • Official Transcripts
    • Applicants who graduated from institutions outside of the U.S., please contact us for possible additional application requirements
  • Resumé
  • Statement of Objectives
  • Three (3) References: Provide name, email, and phone number. References will be sent a google form to complete on your behalf. Formal letters of recommendation are not needed.
  • Writing Conventions & Skills Assessment: Applicants will take a multiple-choice assessment to determine if writing support is warranted throughout the program.
  • Video Recorded Responses & Essay: Applicants will need to answer a series of short video-recorded responses and write a 30-minute timed essay response that can be completed at a time of their choosing. Link is provided within the application.

International students are unable to pursue our online or hybrid programs due to visa requirements, including for those who wish to pursue online courses from their home country. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Application Deadlines
Starting Semester Priority Deadline Final Deadline
Spring Admission Only September 1 October 1

Late applications are not accepted. To automatically receive updates, notifications, and reminders regarding admissions, please complete the “Request More Info” form.


How to Apply
Delivery & Format

STATEWIDE PROGRAM (online/hybrid)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no face-to-face sessions are currently being held.

Part-time, cohorted, and field-based program. Primarily online synchronous courses held in the early evenings on weekdays, 4:30pm-7:00pm HST, and limited face-to-face meetings each semester. Neighbor island candidates travel to Oahu on select weekends; some financial support is provided to assist with travel. Field placements* are assigned by the field coordinator for candidates to teach in a special education classroom with a licensed special education teacher.

*Candidates who are/will be employed as an emergency hire special education teacher or classroom educational assistant must first obtain departmental approval to use their position for field requirements.

Online courses:  Instructors and candidates engage in learning together in a virtual classroom setting (Zoom).  Classes are typically held two nights per week on weekdays from 4:30pm-7:00pm.

Face-to-Face:  Class sessions are held together on the UH-Mānoa campus for two (2) Saturdays each semester.  Neighbor island candidates travel to Oahu; some financial support is provided to assist with travel.

Tuition & Funding

Approximately $471* per credit x 33 credits = $15,500 (RESIDENT)

*This program charges undergraduate tuition rates. 

See: https://www.outreach.hawaii.edu/admissions-and-aid/tuition-and-fees/

DOE STIPENDS (33 credits, resident or nonresident tuition): Available to fund in-state or out-of-state candidates who agree to teach as a special education teacher in a Hawaii DOE school for a minimum of 3 years after program completion. Upon yearly renewal of funds, this funding opportunity will automatically be offered to all admitted program candidates. The stipend is given each semester directly to the student while enrolled.

Financial Aid (FAFSA):  Is available for this program. Submit your free application year-round to see if you qualify for student loans: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness:  Eligible to receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness after completing 5 years of teaching as a special education teacher in a Title I school. For more information, visit: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher

See the following sites for additional funding information:

  • College of Education Scholarships
  • UH Manoa Financial Aid Office (finaid@hawaii.edu)
  • Kūlana Kumu Scholarship
    • Kamehameha Schools scholarship for candidates who reflect the prestige and value of our kumu in transmitting knowledge to the next generation of aloha ʻāina leaders. Kūlana Kumu applicants are asked to share their commitment to Hawaiian education via an essay. The award is for $12,000 for each school year (up to 3 years total) beginning in the Fall of 2022.
Pre-requisite Coursework

Prerequisites (4 credits)

  1. All admitted candidates will need to enroll in SPED 501*, which is a 1 credit ($471) program orientation. Information on how to register is provided after being accepted into the program.
  2. Candidates will need to demonstrate basic introductory knowledge within their chosen program specialization.
    • Enroll and pass one of the following courses based on chosen specialization. Information on how to register is provided after being accepted into the program.
      • SPED 304 (mild/moderate, 3 credits)
      • SPED 412 (severe/autism, 3 credits)

*The DOE stipend and other funding do not apply to the prerequisite requirements. Therefore, candidates must pay for these credits using their own funds. Please plan and save accordingly.

Coursework Overview and Field Requirements

Program Coursework (33 credits)

This program is completed part-time over 18-months. The program is cohorted and provided in a specific sequence by chosen track specialization: (a) mild/moderate disabilities, or (b) severe disabilities/autism. For the first year, candidates will be enrolled in two (2) online evening courses on given weekdays, including during the summer. Please refer to the course sequences for each track specialization for more details.

Field Placement Requirements

In addition to coursework, candidates are required to be in classroom settings each spring and fall semester of the program. Fieldwork is completed part-time during the day in a local school. The final semester will be full-time student teaching in a local school. Candidates must take and pass the Praxis content knowledge exam in Special Education prior to starting student teaching. Details on registering for the appropriate exam will be provided by the program advisor during the program.

Types of Field Placements

Traditional placements are unpaid placements and are assigned by the field coordinator for candidates to observe and practice in a classroom with a licensed special education teacher.

In-place placements are for those already working in school settings and employed by the DOE.  This field-based program is designed to accommodate those who may already be working in school settings across all islands of Hawaii, typically as an emergency-hire teacher or a classroom educational assistant. Positions working one-on-one with a student can not be approved to count towards field experiences. All candidates who are considering using their position to fulfill field requirements must first obtain departmental approval.

Option 1: Mild/Moderate Track Course Sequence

Mild/Moderate Disabilities Course Sequence

Course sequence may be subject to change. Last Updated: 11/16/21

SPRING I (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 611 (3cr)
Methods and Strategies
SPED 626 (3cr)
Field Experience, 12+ hours per week
SPED 603 (3cr)
Principles of Behavior
SUMMER I (6 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork

Take one of the following courses, according to chosen licensure level:

SPED 635 (3cr) – Early Childhood candidates 
Procedures for Early Childhood Special Education

SPED 421 (3cr) – Elementary candidates*
Strategies for Reading Difficulties

SPED 652 (3cr) – Secondary candidates
Transition/Supported Employment

*Elementary candidates can opt to take SPED 421 or SPED 635

None
SPED 621 (3cr) – All candidates
Language Arts Strategies

Candidates need to pass the Praxis Subject Assessment in their Special Education specialization area prior to student teaching. Candidates can take the exam during the summer or in the fall semester. Please consult with the program advisor prior to registering.

FALL I (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 613 (3cr)
Advanced Assessment and Curriculum Development
SPED 528a (3cr)
Field Experience, 12+ hours per week
SPED 601 (3cr)
Technology for Diverse Learners
SPRING II (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 601 (3cr)
Strategies Across Content Areas
SPED 528b (6cr)
Student Teaching
Full-time, Monday-Friday teaching experience in school settings

 

Option 2: Severe/Autism Track Course Sequence

Severe Disabilities/Autism Course Sequence*

Course sequence may be subject to change. Last Updated: 11/16/21

SPRING I (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 462d (3cr)
Assessment, Planning, & Instruction
SPED 626 (3cr)
Field Experience, 12+ hours per week
SPED 603* (3cr)
Principles of Behavior
SUMMER I (6 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork

Take one of the following courses, according to chosen licensure level:

SPED 635 (3cr) – Early Childhood candidates 
Procedures for Early Childhood Special Education

SPED 421 (3cr) – Elementary candidates*
Strategies for Reading Difficulties

SPED 652 (3cr) – Secondary candidates
Transition/Supported Employment

*Elementary candidates can opt to take SPED 421 or SPED 635

None
SPED 618 (3cr)
Adaptations & Special Procedures

Candidates need to pass the Praxis Subject Assessment in their Special Education specialization area prior to student teaching. Candidates can take the exam during the summer or in the Fall semester. Please consult with the program advisor prior to registering.

FALL I (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 630* (3cr)
Positive Behavior Support
SPED 528a (3cr)
Field Experience, 12+ hours per week
SPED 632* (3cr)
Language/Communication Intervention
SPRING II (9 credits)
Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 614* (3cr)
Assessment & Instruction
SPED 528b (6cr)
Student Teaching
Full-time, Monday-Friday teaching experience in school settings

*Overlapping coursework with the BCBA-Track course sequence. Severe disabilities and autism track graduates may double-count 12-credits of overlapping coursework within the MEd SPED, ABA-Track program if pursued within 5 years.

Advising & Faculty

Program Info & Inquiries

Please complete the “Request More Info” form and our recruitment specialist will be happy to answer additional questions, provide program or funding updates, and assist with the application process once admissions open.

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Janet Kim

Special Education Recruitment Specialist