Penn State certificate program for special education supervisors goes online

August 09, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
University Park, Pa. Penn State's World Campus has launched a new online version of the University's popular and successful Special Education Supervisory Certificate program. Rooted in the same rigorous academic standards as the decades-old on-campus version, the new Penn State online certificate carries the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Upon completion of coursework, students are certified to function as liaisons between public school administrators and certified professional special education staff.

"Supervisors of special education programs in Pennsylvania face a number of new challenges in addition to the continuing demands of the position," said Penn State professor Jim MacAfee, lead faculty member for the new program. The role of special education supervisor has become increasingly complex in recent years. According to a 2004 <i>Education Week</i> report, the United States saw a 30% increase in the number of students diagnosed with special needs from 1994 to 2004. 80% of public school teachers interviewed for the study reported having students with special needs in their classrooms, and most of them had no special education training. In light of these trends, new federal and state laws continue to alter requirements for special education programs in Pennsylvania's schools.

To help busy working educators to meet the challenge of this ever-changing educational climate, Penn State has designed the new 15-credit graduate-level Special Education Supervisory Certificate to be completed completely at a distance. Consisting of five 3-credit courses and a 3-credit internship that can be completed at the student's place of employment, the program enables special educators to pursue career-enhancing education without sacrificing work time.

"For this new program all course work is available through instruction that is a blend of online, video and direct live access to faculty," explained McAfee. " Most important is the internship, which students will perform within their current school systems. Students will have the opportunity to implement the newly acquired skills in their own 'real world' environment with guidance and feedback from the University faculty."

The Special Education Supervisory Certificate is geared toward veteran educators, and persons entering the program must have at least three years professional experience. More information about the program is available at