Special Education

Special Education at Temple

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 University. The Governor’s Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (2006) reported that in Pennsylvania, 52% of districts report challenges recruiting special education teachers.

To be considered highly qualified a special education teacher in Pennsylvania, an individual must hold a Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Art Education, Music Education, or Physical Education certification collaterally with a Special Education Certification (PreK-8). Temple University's College of Education offers multiple pathways to pursue this second certification in Special Education.

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.


Temple offers several pathways for those seeking the Pennsylvania Special Education (PreK-8) Certification and advanced study in Special Education. Follow the links below for detailed information about each program.

Autism Endorsement Graduate Certificate Program

This 12 semester hour graduate sequence provides specialized coursework and a practicum for certified teachers leading to a Pennsylvania Department of Education Endorsement in Autism. It is particularly suited for teachers who support students with autism spectrum disorders either in inclusive settings or in self-contained classrooms.

4+1 Accelerated program (B.S.Ed + M.Ed.)

After completion of the program,  students earn a B.S. degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (PreK-4), a Master’s degree in Special Education (PreK-8, and 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).

Second Certification (non-degree program for current teachers)

This program is designed for those who already hold a teacher certification and desire the opportunity to pursue this additional certification in Special Education (PreK-8 or 7-12).

Master's in Special Education (M.Ed.)

This program is designed for those who already hold a teacher certification and desire the opportunity to pursue this additional certification in Special Education (PreK-8 or 7-12) and earn a Master's in Special Education with Special Education Teacher Certification (PreK-8 or 7-12).

Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Concentration in Special Education (Ph.D.)

This program prepares researchers equipped to study interventions designed to improve the learning and behavior of students with a variety of disabilities.

Contact Information

If you have additional questions about the Special Education programs at Temple, please contact:

Dr. Joseph R. Boyle, Assoc Professor
email: joseph.boyle@temple.edu

office phone: (215) 204-1099

Special Note: Changes in Special Education Certification from PDE

After August 2013, the comprehensive kindergarten through 12th grade special education certification will no longer be issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), and will be replaced by separate pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and 7th through 12th grade certifications. Temple's Special Education preparation program serves students seeking either the PK-8 or 7-12 certification. For more information on certification options, visit PDE at www.education.state.pa.us.