Special Education Initial Certification Program

The Special Education with Initial Certification Concentration program is for individuals with baccalaureate degrees who are not certificated teachers, but have professional experience in working with children with disabilities.

Student Outcomes:

Student outcomes for the Special Education Graduate Certificate program are based on the professional standards of the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) located at www.cec.sped.org . Students who complete this program will be able to:

  • Utilize a variety of assessments to identify specific areas of student strengths and weaknesses and use the results to guide instruction 

  • Individualize instruction to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities in inclusive settings

  • Support and promote inclusiveness and equity for students with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds 

  • Apply the legal and ethical principles associated with special education 

  • Promote a positive social environment for all students, particularly those with significant emotional and/or behavioral disorders

  • Develop and maintain an atmosphere of collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators, and paraprofessionals 

  • Critically analyze and apply principles of research 

  • Demonstrate literacy regarding theoretical perspectives associated with human development and learning

Important Notice about Planning a Practicum or Internship: The CASE application deadline for:

  • Fall semester: 2nd Friday of February

  • Spring semester: 2nd Friday of September

Students applying for an Institutional Recommendation (IR) must have their degree posted before the IR will be issued.

For more information contact: 

Adrainne Thomas, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
PSB 222D
Phone: 907-786-4910

Brenda Henderson, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 907-786-4450
Fax: 907-786-4474

Admission Requirements

  • Satisfy general admission requirements for graduate certificates established by UAA 
  • Submit application to the UAA Graduate School to UAA Graduate Application
  • Complete the CASE Graduate Certificate in Special Education Application form
  • Provide transcripts documenting a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the most recent 30 credits
  • Submit a résumé documenting educational experience with at least one year of appropriate professional experience
  • Submit an essay of 300-500 words addressing career goals and how the program relates to these goals
  • Submit three (3) completed recommendation forms from professional references (at least one of which must be from a current or most recent supervisor). 8. Participate in an interview if requested by the department
  • Provide documentation of passing scores on the Praxis I or other approved basic skills test (CBEST or WEST-B)


NOTE: Documentation required in admission steps 3-9, above must be directed to the Counseling and Special Education (CASE) department, in hard copy form or fax.


Program Requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE: Completion of the Initial Certification in Special Education involves two Stages – Stage I and Stage II. 

Stage I must be completed before beginning Stage II.


Stage I Requirements Stage II Requirements

Meet all admission requirements for the initial certification program

Complete the required Stage I coursework with a minimum grade of “B.” NOTE: It is possible one or more of the prerequisite courses may be waived based on an advisor review of transcripts, if comparable courses have been taken within 7 years of admission. All courses are offered via distance delivery technology.

Complete the Prerequisites classes:

  • EDSE 212 Human Growth & Development (3 cr.) Pre-requisite to Math A205
  • EDFN 300 Philosophical & Social Context of American Education (3 cr.)
  • EDEL 426 Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Schools (3 cr.) Program will accept Math A205 in lieu of EDL 426
  • EDSE 482 Inclusive Classroom for All Children (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 483 Language & Literacy: Assessment & Intervention (3 cr.)

Complete the 24 credits of graduate level coursework listed below:

  • EDSE 610 Clinical Assessment: Eligibility & Program Planning (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 623 Language & Literacy: Best Practices in Assessment & Intervention (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 624 Social/Emotional Development, Assessment, & Intervention (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 625 Teaching Mathematics to Special Learners (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 632 Special Education Law: Principles & Practices (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 634 Support & Supervision of Paraeducators (3 cr.)
  • EDSE 695 E or S: Advanced Internship (Elementary of Secondary) (6 cr.)*

Advance Internship Portfolio   

The culminating activity for EDSE A695E or EDSE  A695S Advanced Internship is a professional portfolio. This portfolio is comprised of artifacts from EDSE A610, EDSE A623, EDSE A624, EDSE A625, EDSE A632, and EDSE A634. The portfolio is based on the 10 special education program standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and will be submitted TaskStream


Background Check

A criminal history background clearance is required before the internship. Prior to beginning an internship, candidates who do not currently hold a teaching certificate must obtain a student authorization required by the State of Alaska which includes fingerprinting and a background check.  Fingerprint clearance may take up to 6 months to complete so plan on submitting the internship application 2 semesters prior to desired placement.  Failure to comply with the requirement, falsification of information, or evidence of a criminal conviction that is named in the law or that the Professional Teaching Practices Commission (PTPC) considers an ethics violation will result in being denied access to field placement in Alaska school districts.  If we have not received student authorization departmental approval to register will not be given for any EDSE A695.?

Praxis Exam

Pass the Praxis II examination in a content area prior to receiving an institutional recommendation for certification. Elementary special education teachers must take one of the Praxis II examinations designated for elementary teachers; middle and high school teachers must take one of the Praxis II examinations in either Math, English, Science, or Social Studies  http://www.ets.org/praxis.



Contact the College of Education Student Services at 907-786-4401

Go to Degree Works to view degree progress 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



Form Name Description
Application for Admission - Special Education Application for Admission to the Special Education Programs.
Internship Alternative Partnership Agreement This form is only necessary when interning with SPED outside the greater Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau areas.
Reference Form - MEd & Graduate Certificate SPED Required form of the CASE department admission application process to the MEd & Graduate in Certificate Special Education program.


Faculty and Staff

Name Title Phone Office
Erin Kinevay Wennerstrom Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Special Education 786-4612 PSB 222C
Adrainne Thomas, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Special Education 786-4910 PSB 222D