CSPG 61 - Special Education PK-12
Modified: March 1, 2021
The PK-12 Special Education certificates provide candidates with the skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary to meet the needs of students with disabilities in multiple settings.
Grade-Level Scope of Certificate(s)
A person holding a valid Pennsylvania certificate for
Special Education PK-12 (age 3-21) is qualified to teach all special education students from PreK through grade 12.
NOTE: The Special Education PK-12 certificate does not a require a corresponding content-specific certificate to be eligible for issuance.
An educator holding a Special Education certificate is qualified to render diagnostic, prescriptive, and education services designed within an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to serve students having one or more disabilities; assist in writing the IEP for the identified students; provide appropriate modification to curriculum; and provide instructional support as outlined in the IEP.
Special Education certified teachers are qualified to offer pre-career technical and assessment services; provide basic occupational career awareness activities (such as job shadowing for paid/unpaid work experiences in a community-based operation; coordinate job training agreements; and make provision for the appropriate placement of these students in a work or community transition setting related to their career objectives.
An educator certified in Special Education may:
- provide professional development;
- serve in the role of mentor/advisor; and
- assist students in understanding how to read content area materials.
A local education agency (LEA) may make a written request to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for a staffing exception to the grade and age level limitations between Special Education PK-8 and Special Education 7-12 for individual teachers on a case-by-case basis. (22 Pa. Code §49.85 - Limitations) The LEA shall submit a written request to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality that provides justification for the exception. The Bureau will issue a letter of response that will contain a set time period for the exception to remain valid.
Other certification titles that remain valid are:
|Special Education PK-8||PK-8||Nursery level (age 3) through grade 8|
|Special Education 7-12||7-12||Grade 7 (age 12) through grade12 (age 21)|
|Special Education N-12||N-12||Nursery level (age 3) through grade 12|
|Mental and/or Physically Handicapped K-12||K-12||Kindergarten through grade 12|
|Mentally Retarded||K-12||Kindergarten through grade 12|
|Physically Handicapped||K-12||Kindergarten through grade 12|
|Socially and Emotionally Disturbed||K-12||Kindergarten through grade 12|
|Emotionally Disturbed||K-12||Kindergarten through grade 12|
Note: All K-12 certificates may teach PreK-12 effective 9/22/07 per §49.85.
A Special Education 7-12 certificate may not be used at the sixth-grade level (see Special Considerations).
Program Specific Guidelines for Special Education PK-12
Program Specific Guidelines for Special Education PK-8 and Special Education 7-12
PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604
22 PA Code: Chapter 4: §4.21, §4.22, §4.23
Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81, §49.85
This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 1973, 3/75, 3/78, 2/82, 1/87, 7/04, 5/05, 3/14, 10/18.
Summary of Changes
|1/2021||New Special Education PK-12 certificate was created under Act 82 of 2018.|
|10/2018||The restriction for Special Education 7-12 to teach sixth grade was|
- Special Education N-12 certificate no longer issued effective 8/31/2013.
- Special Education PK-8 and Special Education 7-12 certificates created effective 6/1/2010.
- The Bridge program expired 7/1/2008 (for programs initiated 7/1/2005) and 7/1/2009 (for programs initiated 7/1/06). The Bridge program was extended until 8/10/2011.
- Chapter §49.85 required Special Education PK-8 and Special Education 7-12 certificates and certificate programs implemented effective 6/1/2010.
- Chapter §49.85 regulations for Special Education PreK-8 and Special Education 7-12 certificates, adopted 12/2007.
|5/9/2005||CSPG #61 – Co-teaching addressed for content area teaching|
combined with Special Education (page 1).
CSPG #61 – title change/number change: Special Education-Cognitive, Behavior, and Physical/Health Disabilities (CB/PHD) (Nursery-12).
- Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired, Speech Language Impaired certificate information stated in separated CSPGs.
- Special Education certificate may be used for transition programs for students with IEP’s; formerly a Cooperative Education certificate was also required.
CSPG #50 – Special Education Certification and Assignment Scope K-12.
- Information on Hearing Impaired certificates and older titles.
- Information on Visually Impaired and older titles.
- Information on Mentally Retarded and older titles.
- Information on Speech and Language Impaired.
- Information on Letters of Authorization.
- Information about the Curriculum & Instruction Supervisor; Pupil Personnel Services Supervisor; School Psychologist as related to special education.
CSPG #50 – Certification in Special Education
- Effective 7/1/1969 certificates no longer issued:
- Speech Correctionist and Speech and Hearing Disorders.
- New certificate – Speech Correction.
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
- New certificate – Hearing Impaired.
- Visually Handicapped.
- New certificate -Visually Impaired.
- Mentally Retarded, Physically Handicapped, Socially and Emotionally Maladjusted.
- New certificate – Emotionally Disturbed.
- New certificate – Physically and Mentally Handicapped.
- Elementary certification will no longer qualify the holder to teach exceptional students classified as “learning disabled;” grandfathering for employment from 1975-76 and continuing.
- Gifted programs may be taught by a teacher in the area of scheduled instruction.
- Social Restoration certificate may be used for remedial instruction except for exceptional students with learning disabilities.