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Special Education (Teacher Certification), MEd

No matter where you’re located, you can earn your master’s degree and prepare to educate learners in grades K–12 and support greater equity in education. Remote coursework paired with in-person internships and residencies will prepare you to obtain teacher certification and thrive in the high-demand field of special education.

 

Program description

The MEd in special education (teacher certification) is for those who already have a bachelor's degree in any field and want to become licensed to teach mild-moderate special education or who want to pursue dual-certification in special education and elementary education. The program builds on connections between educational design and decision-making and is designed to foster strong professional growth and leadership development.

All courses are offered remotely, and students select one of two modalities: 

  • ASU Sync offers regularly scheduled evening classes via synchronous learning over Zoom. Instructors and students are not in the same physical space but do meet at the same time, offering a live learning experience with peers and faculty. Students completing the program through ASU Sync must apply and be admitted to the ASU Tempe campus, although classes do not meet on campus. ASU Sync students need to reside in Arizona throughout the duration of the program.
     
  • ASU Online offers classes via asynchronous instruction. Instructors and students are not in the same physical space and do not meet at the same time, allowing students to complete coursework on their own schedules. Students completing their program through ASU Online must apply and be admitted to the Online campus. 

This program can be taken in three continuous semesters allowing students to complete the program in one year. Students can also enroll part-time over additional semesters.

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College faculty actively engage in the educational research community, bringing new and relevant knowledge into the program. Students engage in their own research through applied project coursework, deepening their knowledge and improving their practice through research, critical evaluation and application of education concepts. 

A series of professional experiences assist students in developing a thorough understanding of teaching and learning as they apply knowledge from their coursework in varied school settings. Individualized guidance through the clinical framework provides students with the support they need to become effective educators.

This program offers two routes leading to Arizona teacher certification: 

  • In the traditional certification route, students can pursue dual-certification in Mild-Moderate Disabilities Special Education, K–12 and Elementary Education, K8. Students complete an internship each semester during the first two semesters. Students also complete two 8-week teaching residencies, including one in a special education setting and one in an elementary education setting.
     
  • The alternative certification route provides an alternative pathway to Arizona teacher certification for individuals who are currently employed full-time by a school as a teacher of record. To qualify, individuals must secure a full-time teaching position in an approved content and grade level. This route leads to single certification in Mild-Moderate Disabilities Special Education, K–12. Students in this route are not able to pursue dual certification.

The coursework is similar in both certification routes and culminates in an applied action research project in which students apply what they’ve learned to address a challenge in their classroom.

Graduates from the traditional certification route will earn an institutional recommendation from ASU that is recognized by the Arizona Department of Education for Arizona teacher certification in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, K-12 and Elementary Education, K8. 

Graduates from the alternative certification route will earn an institutional recommendation from ASU that is recognized by the Arizona Department of Education for Arizona teacher certification in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, K-12.  

In order to teach in an Arizona public school, graduates must pass the appropriate Arizona professional knowledge and/or subject knowledge educator exams: National Evaluation Series or Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments. 

This program may also lead to licensure in other states. Learn more about professional licensure: https://admission.asu.edu/academics/licensure

View program handbook

At a glance: locations and start dates

ASU Sync*: Fall

ASU Online: Spring, Summer, Fall

*Students completing their program through ASU Sync must still apply and be admitted to the ASU Tempe campus.

Next steps to attend ASU


The traditional certification route qualifies you for Arizona certification in:

  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities Special Education, K–12
  • Elementary Education, K–8 

The alternative certification route qualifies you for Arizona certification in:

  • Mild/Moderate Disabilities Special Education, K–12

You may be required to pass exams required by the state. Learn more from the Arizona Department of Education.

This program may also lead to licensure in other states. Learn more

International students: If your intention is to obtain certification in your country, please consult with your certification or licensing agency prior to enrolling at MLFTC.


Image of a teacher assisting students at a table

Career outlook

Graduates of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College are highly sought-out teachers in public, charter and private education institutions. Students gain skills in teaching, conducting research, utilizing technology and collaborating in teams --- all of which prepares them to successfully work with diverse learners in grades K-12.

Program contact information

If you have questions related to admission, please fill out the request information form and an admission specialist will contact you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

Cost and aid

Admission requirements

You must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

You must also have earned a bachelor's degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution. Minimum GPA: 3.0 (in the last 60 hours of your first bachelor's program). If you don't meet the GPA requirement, you may be eligible for provisional admittance or a non-degree pathway.

International students (students who reside outside of the U.S.):

  • Are eligible for master's degree programs that do not lead to teacher certification.
  • Are not eligible for master's degree programs that lead to teacher certification.