SHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg University will offer a new dual certification program in PreK-4 and special education PreK-8, beginning this fall.
Approved recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the nine-semester program will allow students to obtain two certifications without enrolling in graduate school. It will be offered to incoming first-year students as well as current first-year students and sophomores.
Before the program was approved, students were required to pursue a master’s degree to receive multiple certifications.
“This particular dual certification is a degree that is in demand,” said Kent Chrisman, professor of early childhood education and chair of the early childhood program committee. “Many school districts have expressed a preference for dual certification in teaching applicants. We believe that our graduates will be highly qualified for teaching positions and will be able to utilize many competencies through this additional coursework.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that all candidates for special education certification already have or are concurrently pursuing certification in a secondary content area.
To complete the new program, students will need to take an additional six special education courses in such areas as providing interventions for students with communication impairments, cognitive and/or physical impairments, and social, emotional and behavior impairments.
“Our goal is to provide students at Shippensburg the training they require at the undergraduate level to meet the demands of the market and ultimately to equip them to serve students who attend Pennsylvania schools and beyond,” said Christopher Schwilk, associate professor of special education and chair of the department of educational leadership and special education.