Earn your special education endorsement at the University of Sioux Falls. The South Dakota Department of Education (DOE) has authorized an alternative certification route that current teachers can apply for to help fill the state's great need.

This alternative route allows experienced educators with the support of their school and approval by the DOE to obtain the 15 credits of approved coursework—all of which USF provides online—needed to sit for the state certification exam.

 Practicum beginning fall 2018

What is it?

Earn your special education endorsement from the South Dakota Department of Education at the University of Sioux Falls. In order to address the shortage of special education teachers, the SD DOE has authorized this alternative certification route for current educators who have at least three years of teaching experience. Completing all coursework allows you to take the SD State certification exam for special education.

Who qualifies?

Educators interested in the alternative certification route through the SD DOE must be recommended by their school district and approved by the state in advance of coursework. Alternative certification allows experienced educators—with the support of their school and approval by the DOE—to obtain the 15 credits of approved coursework for the DOE endorsement. Note that for those not interested in the SD DOE endorsement, courses are open to all.

What are the course requirements?

The SD DOE requires 15 credit hours of coursework in the following areas in order to sit for the state certification exam:

  • Special Education Law & Procedures (3 credits, available online through USF)
  • Strategic Instruction for Students with Disabilities (3 credits, available online through USF)
  • Assessment in Special Education (3 credits, available online through USF)
  • Year-long Practicum in Special Education (6 credits)

Ready to take the leap to make a difference in the lives of special needs students? Here’s what to do:

Step1

Apply Now

Individuals interested in pursuing this endorsement must apply directly to the SD Department of Education through their school district. Applicants do not need to fill out an application to the University of Sioux Falls. To begin the application process, the school district must submit the SD DOE’s Alternative Certification District Intent to Employ form to certification@state.sd.us or Department of Education, Certification Office, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501.*

Step2

Register for courses

Once the SD DOE approves you for the special education alternative certification, registration for coursework at USF is simple. To register, you must contact the USF Registrar’s Office with your name and the course name and number. To obtain the course number for the appropriate term, view USF’s Course Offerings here. If you are not seeking the special endorsement, SD DOE approval is not necessary. Questions? Contact julie.mcareavey@usiouxfalls.edu.

Step3

Complete coursework

Work full-time and conveniently complete your coursework 100% online with the personal attention you expect from USF’s respected Fredrikson School of Education.

Course Requirements

EDU 591 Special Topics: Special Education Law and Procedures

Date: July 2018-August 17, 2018

This graded 3 credit hour online course is a study of federal and South Dakota rules and regulations mandating the provision of special education and related services to students with disabilities. A focus of the course will be providing access to the general education curriculum and equitable opportunity for students with disabilities in K-12 schools. Students will gain knowledge and skills needed for compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), emphasizing student rights to a free and appropriate public education along with the procedures required for the delivery of a special education and related for eligible students in K-12 school districts. Prerequisites: Certification in South Dakota.

This course meets three credits of the required coursework for Special Education Alternative Certification.                                    

EDU 594 Special Topics: Yearlong Practicum in Special Education - online

Date: Fall 2018 through Spring 2019

This graded 6 credit hour online course is designed for licensed teachers to learn about and implement evidence-based practices in special education, gain first-hand experiences with students eligible for special education and related services, experience the different types and levels of service delivery across the continuum, and reflect on how, when, and why specific evidence-based practices are implemented in public school settings. Students will register for the 3-credit EDU 594 course in Fall 2018; a similar course will be offered in Spring 2019 as a continuation. EDU 594 is an online course and the instructor is Deb Zebill. There is not a text requirement for the fall course. Register by emailing Registrar@usiouxfalls.edu. Prerequisites: Certification in South Dakota.

This course meets six credits of the required coursework for Special Education Alternative Certification.                                     

EDU 592 Special Topics: Strategic Instruction for Students Disabilities - online

Date: Summer 2019

This graded 3 credit hour online course is a study of current, evidence-based practices in teaching all students who are eligible for special education and related services. Emphasis will be on developing appropriate, individualized programs to meet the needs of each student. Content will address instructional strategies, academic and functional curriculum, behavioral programming, material development, and transition services which support the learning of each student identified with a disability. Prerequisites: Certification in South Dakota

This course meets three credits of the required coursework for Special Education Alternative Certification.                                   

EDU 593 Special Topics: Assessment in Special Education - online

Date: Summer 2019

This graded 3 credit hour online course is an introductory course in assessment principles and practices specific to special education programs. The course focuses on the process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from a variety of sources to use for eligibility, educational and instructional decisions for students with disabilities. The content includes basic assessment and measurement concepts, academic achievement, adaptive and social behavior, norm-referenced, curriculum-based and criterion referenced diagnostic procedures. Prerequisites: Certification in South Dakota

This course meets three credits of the required coursework for Special Education Alternative Certification                                    

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