Adding Special Education to an existing Hawaii State Teaching License

Typical Length 1 year

Delivery Online


Add a Field


Stipends Available

The Department of Special Education is approved to offer a series of 18-credits (6 courses) of coursework in special education, with courses designed to support classroom practitioners. The add-a-field coursework option is for those who already have a Hawaii state teaching license in another field. The add-a-teaching-field coursework uses the same courses as our Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education, however, add-a-teaching-field candidates do not need to complete the field and student teaching requirements.

Candidates may choose one of the following 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 currently includes 12 credits of overlapping ABA coursework for those interested in our BCBA-Track programs.
Who should consider this program?
  • Hawaii licensed general education teachers who are looking to add special education to their teaching license
Career and Licensure Information


Once candidates complete the coursework, their names will be submitted to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board to add-a-teaching-field to their current license. This program is approved to add special education to a current teaching license at the level the teacher is already licensed in.

If candidates are interested in also adding a new level (e.g. PreK-3, K-6, or 6-12), candidates could enroll in the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education instead, which will include field supervision and student teaching that will allow for also adding a different licensure level.


Current licensed classroom teachers may be able to apply coursework credits towards reclassification through the Hawaii Department of Education. Please refer to the Hawaii DOE Reclassification Guidelines for more information.

Admission Requirements

There are no prerequisite requirements/coursework needed to enroll in this program. However, SPED 304 (Mild/Moderate Track) or SPED 412 (Severe Disabilities/Autism Track) is highly recommended and is offered in summer or fall semesters. Funding is not available for these recommended prerequisite coursework options.


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 2.5 GPA or higher
  • Current Hawaii State Teachers License
  • Access to students with disabilities for applied projects

Application Requirements

  • Complete a free Mākālei application to the College of Education, which includes submission of the following:
    • Confirmation of applying to Outreach College so you can enroll in coursework
    • Copy of current HTSB license
    • Copy of transcripts (unofficial accepted)

For more detailed instructions and on how to apply and enrollment dates, please visit the How to Apply website.

Delivery & Format


Online synchronous courses, held in the early evenings on weekdays, 4:30pm-7:00pm HST. There are no fieldwork supervision requirements, although applied projects will be embedded into coursework.

Note: Candidates who are hired into a special education position prior to completion of the add-a-field may have access to our Mentoring Unique Special Educators (MUSE) program.

Mild to Moderate Disability Track Coursework

The following six courses are available for an add-a-field of special education, with a specialization in mild to moderate disabilities. Each course is 3 credits. The following course sequence can be completed in 12-month or 18-months, depending on semester start date and candidate preference, please refer to sample course schedule shown below.

  • SPED 603: Principles of Behavior
  • SPED 611: Methods and Strategies – Mild/Moderate
  • SPED 613: Advanced Assessment/Curriculum Development – Mild/Moderate
  • SPED 621: Language Arts Strategies: Students with Mild/Moderate
  • SPED 601: Technology for Diverse Learners
  • SPED 620: Strategies Across Content Areas

Recommended Course Schedule, based on Semester Start

Course with an asterisk* can be taken later in the course sequence to move from a 12-month sequence to an 18-month sequence.

Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring
Fall Admit (August Start) 603
621 601*
Spring Admit (January Start) 603
621 613
Severe Disability and Autism Coursework

The following six courses are available for an add-a-field of special education, with a specialization in severe disabilities and autism. Each course is 3 credits.

  • SPED 462*: Assessment, Planning, Instruction – Severe/Autism
  • SPED 603*: Principles of Behavior
  • SPED 614: Assessment and Instruction – Severe/Autism
  • SPED 618: Adaptations and Special Procedures – Severe/Autism
  • SPED 630*: Positive Behavior Support
  • SPED 632*: Language/Communication Intervention in Special Education

*Courses overlap with BCBA-Track course sequence.

Recommended Course Schedule, based on Semester Start

Course with asterisks** can be taken later in the course sequence to move from a 12-month sequence to an 18-month sequence. Spring Admits only have an 18-month track option due to course availability (SPED 603 is a prerequisite to SPED 630).

Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring
Fall Admit (August Start) 614
618 632**
Spring Admit (January Start) 603
618 632
Tuition & Funding

Program Cost

Approximately $471 per credit x 18 credits = $8,478 (RESIDENT)


DOE STIPENDS (18 credits): May be available to current Hawaii DOE teachers who are licensed in fields other than special education who commit to teaching in a special education position for at least one year upon completion of the program. Application to accept stipend is provided after enrollment; candidates would have to enroll and pay for their first semester’s coursework prior to receiving first stipend check. Candidates must be Hawaii residents and can not already be licensed in special education to qualify for funding.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Unfortunately, financial aid (FAFSA) and other scholarships are not available for this program since it does not lead to a degree. If funding coursework on their own, students will need to find alternative options for financial assistance.

Program Info & Inquiries

Please complete the “Request More Info” form and our recruitment specialist will be happy to answer additional questions, as well as provide program or funding updates.

Photo of Janet Kim

Janet Kim

Special Education Recruitment Specialist