The market for highly qualified special education teachers remains unabated. The latest report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the need for special education teachers will increase by 17% percent between 2008 and 2018. This shortage of Special Education teachers has been identified regionally (i.e., Pennsylvania and New Jersey) and is particularly prevalent in urban centers in the immediate environs of Temple. The Governor’s Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (2006) reported that in Pennsylvania, 52 percent of districts report challenges recruiting special education teachers.
To be considered highly qualified a special education teacher in Pennsylvania, an individual must hold a regular education certification collaterally with a special education certificate. The 4 +1 Early Childhood/Special Education program is responsive to this requirement inasmuch as it is designed to provide dual certification.
The following principles serve as the foundation for the program:
- Commitment to evidence-based, instructional practices and their implementation in the classroom.
- Commitment to recognizing and ameliorating the impact of socio-cultural factors on the education of children with disabilities.
- Emphasis on preventative approaches that de-emphasize labels and traditional diagnostic categories to support improved teaching and learning.
- Commitment to inclusive practices both within schools and within society as a whole.
The array of courses across the program can be best understood as consisting of three sections:
- The first section is nine semester hours of graduate coursework taken during the junior and senior years of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education (PreK-4) program which would also be double counted for undergraduate credit.
- The second section of the program is comprised of three common graduate courses taken during the fifth year of study: (viz., Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Support, Understanding and Utilizing Special Education Research, and Universal Design for Learning).
- The third section consists of three courses in a specialty area selected by the student (i.e., either ABA/Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mild Disabilities or Severe Disabilities)
After completion of the program, students earn a B.S. degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (PreK-4), and a Master’s degree in Special Education (PreK-8). Students who successfully complete all program requirements, as well as the required PECT assessments, are eligible to apply for two teaching certificates recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (one in Early Childhood Education where the individual can teach in grades Preschool to Fourth Grade, and one in Special Education in grades Preschool to Eighth Grade).
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have additional questions about the program, please see our FAQs:
The accelerated degree program will consist of a minimum of 112 semester hours of undergraduate course work plus 9 semester hours of graduate coursework to count towards both the undergraduate degrees, and a minimum of 18 semester hours of additional graduate coursework for the graduate degree. Upon successful completion of the fourth year, students will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education (pre-k through 4th grades). Students appply to the Master's degree in spring of their senior year. If accepted, at the end of the contiguous fifth year students will receive a Master of Education in Special Education with a teaching certificate in Special Education (pre-k through 8th grades). Within the Master’s program students specialize in one of the three tracks: Mild Disabilities, Severe Disabilities, or ABA/Autism Spectrum Disorders track.
Admission Criteria & Process: (Students with questions about their elgibility should read more in the FAQ - Applying and Admissions, found above.)
Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in at least 45 credits of coursework taken at Temple.
- This GPA requirement of a 3.5 or higher is a firm requirement mandated by the Graduate School. Students with a GPA close to, but not yet a 3.5, are encouraged to apply. Once spring grades are posted, the committee will review all applications of students who meet the 3.5 requirement.
Admission to the program is a two-step process
- Apply to the College for admission to the 4+1 program before starting Junior Year (see application deadline below).
- Students accepted into the 4+1 program then apply to the Graduate School for official admission into the Master's program in fall of Senior Year. Please note: this is NOT a stand-alone Master's program. The 4+1 program is only available for students admitted into the 4+1 program as TU undergraduate student.
The GRE is not required for admission to this program.
How to Apply
Applicants intending to complete the 4+1 Accelerated program apply to the College of Education for admission in their second semester of sophomore year, by the deadline established by the College. (For the specific deadline each year, students should check the College of Education Undergraduate Community Blackboard site and look for emails to their Temple email account.)
ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS (to be submitted in one envelope by the stated deadline):
- Completed Accelerated 4+1 Program Application [pdf].
- Two professional letters of recommendation. Please collect each recommendation in a sealed and signed envelope and enclose both envelopes with this completed application. Note: at least one letter MUST be from a Temple University College of Education faculty or adjunct instructor. However, these letters CANNOT be from Temple University College of Education Special Education faculty. References must speak to you academic and professional qualifications to enter the teaching field of special education.
- A professional resume. For assistance with developing your resume, please visit the Career Center,
- A statement of professional goals asserting why you want to pursue the course of study to be a certified special education teacher while capturing your philosophy of education within the special education field. The format must be typed, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins, double spaced, including full name, TUID. The statement should be approximately 2 ½ pages in length (500 words).
- A copy of your official PAPA score report or, for some students, their Praxis I score report (some students may have tested before the Pennsylvania Department of Education changed the tests from Praxis I to PAPA. For these students, Praxis I is acceptable.)
- An unofficial copy of your Temple transcript/academic history (available through Self Service Banner (SSB)).
Deadline for submission
- For the specific deadline each year, students should check the College of Education Undergraduate Community Blackboard site and look for emails to their Temple email account.
Submitting Your Application Materials (Accelerated 4+1 Program Application)
Completed and signed application, including all required supplemental materials should be returned to:
Attn. 4+1 Application Processing
Shimada Resource Center
College of Education, Temple University
150 Ritter Annex
1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19122
If you have questions about this program, please contact:
Dr. S. Kenneth Thurman, Professor
office phone: (215) 204-6018
department: (215) 204-2117