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Mentally/Physically Handicapped Certificate: Curriculum

Our program introduces you to the physical, social, emotional and educational characteristics of students with disabilities in public and private educational facilities in the K-12 grade range. The curriculum is designed to teach you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to help these students fully develop their intellectual and social capabilities.

Get a description of each of Cal U's mentally/physically handicapped education courses from our Course Catalog.

Upon completion, program graduates undergo rigorous training in the use of evidence-based practices in meeting the needs of children/individuals with a variety of exceptionalities.

Any student who already holds a Pennsylvania teaching certificate and wants to add special education to that existing certificate will have to display competence in 8 different areas for a total of 24 graduate credits.  Students will take the following:

Students who complete the 27-hour certification program must obtain a "Recommendation for Endorsement" form from Dr. Mitchem.  This form must be submitted with an application and a copy of your original teaching certificate to the Dean's office in Keystone Education.  There is also a fee for this process.  Contact Dr. Mitchem for specifics.  Once all papers are submitted, Mentally/Physically Handicapped is added to your certificate.  This process takes 4-6 weeks.

Students who complete the 27-hour program may go on to take 9 more credit hours and receive a master's degree.  Certainly, this extra step is encouraged.  Such students must contact the graduate office to change their status from "non-degree" to "degree."



  • After November 30, 1996, Special Education Certification requires that all candidates pass the Specialty Test of the Praxis.
  • In Pennsylvania, the Specialty Test is "Education of Exceptional Students --- Core Content #20353."  Be sure you take the right one.  You can get information on this test in the College of Education office - Keystone 202.
  • After January 2007, all students must also pass Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge #30511 in order to be considered Highly Qualified to teach special education at the elementary level.