Special Education / Pre-K - Grade 4 Certification

Special Education / Pre-K - Grade 4 Certification Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) in early childhood education with pre-K - 8 special education certification

About Pre-K - Grade 4 Education with Special Education Certification

Help those in need achieve their potential as a special education teacher.

Start the path to a challenging and rewarding career teaching children with cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional problems and physical disabilities.

 A bachelor's degree from California University of Pennsylvania in early childhood education and pre-kindergarten to grade 8 special education is a dual major program that will enable you to earn certification to teach pre-K-grade 4, as well as a license to teach special education for grades Pre-K-8

As part of the regular curriculum, you'll also receive the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Integrative STEM Education Endorsement, an additional credential that documents your ability to integrate science, technology, engineering and math concepts into early childhood and elementary education.

For those interested in teaching a broader range of grade levels, a dual major in grades 4-8 education and special education is available as well.

It's more than a career. It's a calling.

  • Gain comprehensive knowledge of the special education field and teaching students with exceptionalities.
  • Develop instructional techniques for all students with exceptionalities, including specialized training in applied behavior analysis, behavior modification and working with autistic students.
  • Apply your knowledge in real-life settings though field placements and student teaching.
  • Earn the Integrative STEM Education Endorsement as part of your four-year teacher education program.

Program Highlights: Special Education / Early Childhood Education

Top Accreditation: This undergraduate 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.

Hands-on Education: Receive hands-on experience during three field placements in high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities, special education and pre-K­-grade 4 education, as well as student teaching practicums where you'll work alongside a supervisor to practice the principles you've learned in your courses.

Learn more about applying.


Cal U has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality teachers in Pennsylvania and beyond.
Is the mean annual salary for special education teachers in kindergarten and elementary schools. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Degree Icon

Degree Benefits

As a special education bachelor's degree student, you will:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of human development and learning.
  • Learn from top faculty and get individualized advising and supervised field experiences with children.
  • Complete one semester of student teaching, including classroom experience with early childhood and special education
  • Become certified to teach pre-K-grade 4 and special education grades pre-k-8 upon graduation and completion of Pennsylvania certification requirements.
  • Benefit from career support from faculty and Cal U's Career and Professional Development Center.
Graduate Cap Icon

Graduate Outcomes

Pennsylvania is among the top five states for number of professionals employed as special education teachers in kindergartens and elementary schools. The field of special education continues to grow, providing excellent career opportunities for today's graduates. Cal U graduates are qualified to assume professional roles, including:

  • Special education classroom teacher.
  • Resource room teacher.
  • Homebound instruction teacher.
  • Hospital teacher.
  • A variety of roles in sheltered workshops and community-living arrangements for adults with disabilities.



Special Education / Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Degree
Cal U professors look at statistics on a computer.

Faculty Expertise

Cal U special education faculty members are at the top of their fields and have unique qualities that they are able to highlight within the courses they teach. You'll gain expert insight in topics such as applied behavior analysis, the use of technology to teach students communication, interventional strategies, working with students diagnosed with emotional disabilities, classroom management techniques and more.

A Cal U student interacts with an elementary student.

What Do Alumni Like Best About the Program?

According to Brenda DiEugenio '04 (Dual B.S. Special/Elementary Education), student teaching was a very valuable experience. "I had the opportunity to learn from exceptional teachers, allowing me to gain an understanding of myself as a teacher and my philosophy on teaching."

Pencils and an apple rest on a teacher's desk in front of a chalkboard.

STEM Education Endorsement

When you earn your Level I teacher certification in this special education program, you’ll also earn the Integrative STEM Education Endorsement. Cal U is one of the only Pennsylvania universities to offer this in-demand credential as part of the standard teacher preparation curriculum. The Integrative STEM Education Endorsement documents your ability to plan, design and implement instructional strategies that integrate STEM into classroom lessons. The learning activities you’ll learn to create also can be used in maker spaces, tinker labs, fabrication labs and other innovative settings.


Special Education/ Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Degree Courses

This four-year dual major bachelor's degree results in certification to teach pre-K-grade 4, as well as pre-K-8 special education upon graduation and completion of Pennsylvania certification requirements. Degree courses will prepare you to meet the standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Course Examples
  • Special Education Foundations And Collaborations
  • Assessments And Positive Behavior Interventions
  • Special Education History, Theory And Excaptionality
  • Applied BEHAVIOR Analysis In Special Education
  • Special Field Experience: High Incidence
  • Introduction To Pre-k-Grade 4 Education
  • Instruction And Assessments In Pre-k
  • Emerging Literacy
  • Teaching Math And Science In Pre-k

View course sequence


Special Education

Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees

Additional Resources

What Is A Special Education Degree

Top 10 Reasons To Get a Special Education Degree


Special Education Faculty

Dr. James Burton
Associate Professor


View profile
Dr. Diane Fine
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Integrative STEM Education Program


View profile
Dr. Peter Heh
Assistant Professor


View profile
Dr. Jason Kight
Associate Professor and Chair


View profile
Dr. Kalie Kossar
Associate Professor


View profile
Dr. Katherine Mitchem


View profile
Dr. Mary Seman


View profile