Build Your Future in Special Education

The curriculum in the Special Education Certificate prepares the student for employment as an instructional aide in K-12 public schools and early childhood programs where children identified with special needs are enrolled. The certificate requires a total of 18 units with 6 required units and 12 restricted elective units. A minimum grade of “C” is required in each course taken. In many of the courses in this certificate, students study, observe and learn utilizing the Child Development Laboratory Instructional Classrooms.

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

  • Know and understand the established as well as recent theories of child development.
  • Analyze and think critically about the teacher’s comprehensive role in early learning and development settings.
  • Recognize and evaluate the interrelationships of the child, family, school and greater community.
  • Design quality early childhood programs and curriculum.

Degrees & Certificates

  • Apply online at
  • Apply for financial aid:
  • Take the online orientation
  • Take assessment exam
  • Meet with a Counselor
  • Update Personal info in My Gateway
  • Register for classes
  • Pay fees

Tom Chiaromonte, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair

Karin Pavelek, M.S., Professor

Jennifer Kinkel, M.A., Professor

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost is $46 per unit. Non-resident tuition: $258 per unit PLUS enrollment fees (Non-Resident Tuition includes $19.00 Capital Outlay fee per Ed Code 76141).

Costs may vary; please visit website for more information:

This can be completed in 2 semesters, depending on the amount of units taken.

Average Salary: $52,230 – $103,290

• Assistant Teacher in Special Education
• Paraprofessional

Overall employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The employment growth of special education teachers will vary by type of institution. (See table below.) However, overall demand will be driven by school enrollment and the need for special education services.

Enrollment in special education programs has increased slightly in the past couple of years. Demand for special education services and teachers should rise as children with disabilities are increasingly being identified earlier and enrolled into special education programs. Federal laws require free education for students with disabilities, and every state must maintain the same level of financial support for special education every year. This mandate provides special education programs with consistent funding and reduces the threat of employment layoffs due to state or federal budget constraints. However, employment growth may depend on increases in funding.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Special Education Teachers, on the Internet at

Contact Our Department

Tom Chiaromonte, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair

Average Salary in this Field

$52,230 to

$103,290 Per Year

Careers in this Field

Assistant Teacher in Special Education


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