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Frequently Asked Questions

When can I apply to the Department of Special Education?

Prior to submitting an application to the Department of Special Education, students must complete SPED 300 (or an approved equivalent course with a case study) and receive a grade of B- or better prior to their application to the Department of Special Education. Students must submit an acceptance letter from either elementary or secondary education with their application packet to the Department of Special Education. Students must be admitted to the Department of Special Eductation before they can register for SPED 312.

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Can I take more than one special education course in the same semester?

Students must take courses in the appropriate order based on established prerequisites. This is because content in one course is needed as a base for a subsequent course. For example, SPED 312: Assessment Procedures for Children and Youth with Disabilities is a prerequisite class for SPED 412: Assessment, Curriculum, and Methodology for Children with Mild/Moderate Disabilities at the Elementary and Middle School Levels. A student must successfully complete SPED 312 (receiving a grade of B- or better) prior to taking SPED 412.

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I want to become certified in Special Education, what do I need to do?

The Rhode Island Department of Education issues teaching certificates. In Rhode Island, a teacher must be certified either in elementary education or in secondary education to be certified as a special educator. Teachers of students with severe to profound disabilities are the only exception to the requirement for dual certification in elementary or secondary and special education.
Students who complete an approved program are recommended by the College for the appropriate certificate(s). Student teaching is a requirement in the approved programs at the College. Only students matriculated in approved programs are eligible to student teach.

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What options do I have to become certified to teach students with special needs? Undergraduate Degree? Second Undergraduate Degree? Masters Degree?

Approved programs in special education are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A certification program for those who have completed a baccalaureate degree is available through a Second Degree Learning Contract. Students who enter a Masters Degree program develop a plan of study with their advisor.

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How long does it take to complete? Can I do it in a year?

The amount of time required to complete the undergraduate special education program is five semesters.

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Are courses offered at night? In the summer? Online? Off Campus?

Special education courses are scheduled during the day and evening. Many required undergraduate courses are scheduled during the summer. At this time, there are no courses in special education teacher preparation programs offered on-line or off campus.

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Can practicum hours be combined for two different special education classes?

All courses offered in special education have practicum hours in addition to classroom instruction, most practicums are 30 hours. If two special education classes are taken during the same semester, students may not combine their hours. Each practicum is intended to offer a different learning experience to best prepare students for the many challenges of the teaching profession.

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Page last updated: April 9, 2010