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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Certification Preparation: Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in Special Education) - Credits: 12 (program code: 0444)
Letter of Completion: Autism Spectrum Disorder - Credits: 12 (program code: 0449)

Program Description

The autism spectrum disorders program directly addresses the needs of today’s educators and professionals who are working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders throughout the lifespan. This program will prepare candidates to add ASD certification to existing certification in special education or to receive a letter of completion for students with the desire to obtain knowledge in autism awareness, as well as personal and professional development.

This program provides specialized preparation in ASD through an innovative 12-credit-hour graduate program endorsement in ASD that has the provision of socialization opportunities for individuals with ASD and educational outreach materials and resources for parents and community members at its core.

Students can begin this program any term and complete within one year. Courses are offered one in the fall, two in the spring (eight weeks each) and one in the summer, and are completed all online.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (currently certified in special education): This 100 percent online program is specialized to extend the professional development of applicants who have earned a graduate degree or certificate in special education and would like to add the ASD endorsement to their current certification. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to add ASD endorsement to his/her current teaching certificate in special education.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Letter of Completion (not certified in special education): Students who do not currently hold special education certification, including educators with certification in any area, other education professionals, family members of individuals with ASD and others, can complete the four-course, 12-credit online program for professional development, but will not be able to apply for ASD endorsement.

Delivery Mode

Online (100 percent online delivery)


Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation  ( CAEP, formerly NCATE)

Approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Admission Criteria

Pennsylvania – ASD Endorsement

  • Minimum overall undergraduate 2.80 GPA, or 3.00 GPA in the last 48 credits, in a baccalaureate degree verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution 
  • Copies of certifications – must be currently certified in special education 
  • Current Act 24, 34, 151 and 114 clearances    
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

ASD – Letter of Completion

  • Minimum overall undergraduate 2.80 GPA, or 3.00 GPA in the last 48 credits, in a baccalaureate degree verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Current Act  24, 34, 151 and 114 clearances    
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Note: Other credentials and/or qualifications for educators and professionals applying to this program without a teaching certificate will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


ESP 740 Nature/Characteristics: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
ESP 741 Communication, Behavior and Instruction: Autism Spectrum Disorders3
ESP 742 Life Transitions and Partnerships: Autism Spectrum Disorders3
ESP 743 Navigating the Social World: Autism Spectrum Disorders3


Students in the autism spectrum disorders program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator and program faculty. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

How to Apply

  • Complete the Graduate School Application Deadline – January 31
  • Submit the nonrefundable $25 Application Fee
  • Mail official transcript to:
    • School of Graduate Studies and Research
      California University of Pennsylvania
      Box 91, 250 University Ave.
      California, PA 15419
  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email ( or fax (724-938-5712)

Application Questions

Phone: 724-938-4187

For Additional Information

Phone: 724-938-4187

Program Coordinator

Kalie R. Kossar, Ed.D., BCBA-D, (West Virginia University), M.Ed. (California University of Pennsylvania), B.S. (University of Pittsburgh), Associate Professor
Specializations: Collaboration, Assessment, Inclusion, Applied Behavior Analysis
Research Interests: Teacher Preparation, Evidence-based Practices, Applied Behavior Analysis
Web Page:
Phone: 724-938-4982

Program Faculty

James Burton, Ed.D., M.A. (West Virginia University), B.A. (Fairmont State University), Assistant Professor; Specializations: Life Skills, Transition and Assistive Technology

Peter Heh, Ed.D, BCBA (University of Pittsburgh), M.Ed. (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania), B.A. (Washington & Jefferson College), Assistant Professor; Specializations: Autism, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Assessment Design 

Jason Kight, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), Assistant Professor; Specializations: Behavior Disorders, Co-Teaching, Classroom Management and Autism

Katherine Mitchem, Ph.D., BCBA-D (Utah State University), M.Ed. (Drury University),  B.S. (Manchester University), Professor; Specializations: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism

Mary Seman, Ed.D. (West Virginia University), M.Ed. (University of Vermont), B.S. (California University of Pennsylvania),  Professor; Specializations: Applied Behavior Analysis, Direct Instruction, Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines

For faculty bios, visit: