Earn your special education endorsement 100% online 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 shortage of special education teachers in the state.

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

Affordable & 100% Online

Who qualifies?

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. 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, available online through USF)

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

Step1

Apply by talking to your school district

The first step in applying for this endorsement is to talk to your school district because ultimately your school district must apply directly to the SD Department of Education on your behalf. 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. Once the South Dakota Department of Education approves you for the special education alternative certification, you may register for coursework at USF.

Step2

Register for courses

To register for courses, 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, see USF Course Requirements below, or view USF’s full list of course offerings here. You will not be required to provide approval paperwork for the endorsement. 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 and accredited Fredrikson School of Education.

USF Course Requirements

EDU 591 Special Topics: Special Education Law and Procedures

Date: July 9-August 17, 2019 
Available Online

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 592 Special Topics: Strategic Instruction for Students Disabilities – online

Date: July 9-August 17, 2019
Available Online

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: May 28-July 8, 2019
Available Online

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  

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

Date: Fall 2019 through Spring 2020
Available Online

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 2019; a similar course will be offered in Spring 2020 as a continuation. EDU 594 is an online course and the instructor is Deb Zebill. 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.                         

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