Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders Online Endorsement or Certificate of Advance Study

About Autism Spectrum Disorders

Fill a growing need in schools and communities with this 100% online program.

Help individuals with autism spectrum disorders reach their full potential throughout their lifespan. California University of Pennsylvania's innovative, 12-credit online certificate or endorsement in autism spectrum disorders will give you comprehensive training in providing socialization opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as educational outreach materials and resources for parents and community members.

Choose the autism spectrum disorders path that's best for you:

  • Endorsement: If you're a certified teacher, completing this program will enable you to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to have an autism spectrum disorders certification added to your current teaching certificates.
  • Certificate of Advanced Study: If you're an educator, education professional or family member of an individual on the autism spectrum, and you do not currently hold special education certification, you can complete this program for a professional development certificate.


Fully Online: All classes in Cal U's autism spectrum disorders graduate endorsement/certificate program are delivered asynchronously online, which means you can complete your courses from anywhere and adapt your workload to even the busiest of schedules.

Top Accreditation: This graduate degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Cal U's education programs have also been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954, and we are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.

Learn more about applying

4 Courses 
This four-course, 12-credit program can be completed in 64 weeks.
Best Online 
U.S. News & World Report has listed Cal U's graduate education program as a Best Online Program three years in a row and counting.
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Program Benefits

As a Cal U graduate student studying autism spectrum disorders you will:

  • Work with faculty who are at the top of their fields.
  • Learn how to address the unique and complex challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum.
  • Gain hands-on practice in designing and delivering communication, behavior and instructional support for diverse learners with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Benefit from top career support from program faculty and Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center.
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Graduate Outcomes

One out of every 68 children across the United States has been diagnosed with autism, and the demand for specialist in autism spectrum disorders education is growing. Cal U program graduates are prepared for a range of careers in schools, organizations, counseling centers and medical facilities across Pennsylvania and the United States.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements, and Related Programs

Autism spectrum disorders online certification/certificate courses directly address the needs of educators and professionals working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. All courses are delivered 100% online.



Course Credits
ESP 740  Nature/Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
ESP 741  Communication, Behavior and Instruction: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
ESP 742  Life Transitions and Partnerships: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
ESP 743  Navigating the Social World: Autism Spectrum Disorders 3
Total 12
Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or a 3.00 in last 48 credits earned (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • MEd or MEd plus Certification ONLY:  Copy of teaching certificate
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate ONLY:  Copy of teaching certificate is not required if certification is not desired.

Conditional Admission Requirements
  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Program Requirements
How to Apply:

                  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)

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187 

Out of State Students:

All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs
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Personal Support

All autism spectrum disorders students at Cal U receive personal academic and professional advisement from both the program coordinator and program faculty - all of whom have real-world experience and are considered among the top in their fields.

Cal U campus in fall.

Program Alumni Testimonial

The autism spectrum disorders program at Cal U is excellent; the instructors are very knowledgeable in their field, and they work very hard to make sure their students have a clear understanding of how to work with and teach children or adults with autism." - Julie Devirgilio '12, Behavior Specialist Consultant, WJS Psychological Associates.

Special Education Faculty

Dr. James Burton
Associate Professor

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Dr. Peter Heh
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Jason Kight
Associate Professor and Chair

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Dr. Kalie Kossar
Associate Professor

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Dr. Megan Mealie
Adjunct Professor/Supervisor of Student Teaching

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.