Program Summary

Credits Required


Tuition per Credit

Badge Online Programs Grad Education

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Our graduate education programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Demand is on the Rise for Supervisors of Special Education Programs 

Supervisors of special education programs are certified professionals who function as liaisons between school administration and the special education staff in PK–12 public schools. Supervisors have direct influence over program budgets while working to maintain the professional development requirements of their staff. Additional responsibilities include program design and development, along with staff recruitment, hiring, and evaluation.

PDE Certification as a Supervisor of Special Education

Penn State World Campus has partnered with the Penn State College of Education to offer a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)–approved online program that helps you meet the Pennsylvania requirements for certification as a supervisor of special education, which may be subject to reciprocity in other states.

Our program can provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to fulfill the responsibilities delineated by PDE standards associated with:

  • enhancing your school district's ability to meet its goals to best serve students with special needs
  • directing other special education professionals
  • providing direct input to administrators regarding the personnel management of special education professionals

Upon your successful completion of Penn State's course sequence and PDE certification requirements including Praxis Exam 5412: Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision, you will be recommended to the PDE for certification as a supervisor of special education. Note that certification is awarded by the PDE, not Penn State.

Who Should Apply?

Pennsylvania residents: This program is intended for Pennsylvania special education professionals committed to their field who wish to advance their career and work closely with school administration to achieve district goals. To apply, you must have a valid Pennsylvania teaching certificate in one or more areas of special education (speech pathology, special education PK–12, visual impairment, or hearing impairment) and at least three years of professional experience in special education. Once you complete the program, you may then apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for a Supervisor of Special Education certificate.

Non-PA residents: PDE does recognize out-of-state special education teaching certificates and special education teaching experience to meet the admission requirements for the PDE supervisory certificate program. Thus, if you have three years of special education teaching experience outside of Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for admission. Additionally, some states other than Pennsylvania may recognize the PDE certificate and grant reciprocity. Check with your state's Department of Education to determine their specific policy before applying for admission if you are planning to transfer. All out-of-state applicants must contact the academic coordinator Dr. Kathleen McKinnon at [email protected] prior to applying.

Please note that this program does not lead to initial special education teacher certification.

Career Prospects for Graduates

As a graduate of this program, you can move into supervisory and director-level roles in special education. Special education supervisors mentor teachers, arrange staff development, create instructional programs, and manage the special education process. Demand for certified special education supervisors is high in Pennsylvania.

Act 48-Approved

Penn State is an Act 48-approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so the courses for the Graduate Certificate in Special Education Supervision may count toward professional development hours.

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has over 100 years of distance education experience and more than 20 years of experience in online learning. Our online learning environment offers you the same quality education our resident students experience in a face-to-face setting.