The Multi-Categorical Special Education program at Fairmont State University prepares teachers to address the needs of learners with mild to moderate disabilities, rather than a specific disability. This graduate emphasis is designed to meet the needs of two groups of candidates:
- Candidates who hold a valid teaching license at the time of admissions and are seeking to add a Multi-Categorical certification.
- Candidates who have completed a Bachelors Degree but who do not hold a valid teaching license at the time of admissions and are seeking licensure and certification in Multi-Categorical Special Education.
While both groups of candidates may either pursue certification by obtaining the Masters of Education degree in Special Education – or – pursue certification only, the requirements for licensed and non-licensed candidates are different. All candidates seeking the Master of Education degree (as opposed to certification only) are required to complete the coursework that comprises the Graduate Core. All candidates seeking certification must meet the WVDE Office of Certification requirement that practicing Special Educators hold a Restricted Content Endorsement. Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact the Office of Certification (see contact information below) to choose the option that will best suit their needs and to develop an individualized program of study that will ensure they meet the degree and/or certification requirements for that option.
Candidates who complete the Multi-Categorical Special Education certification requirements may also take two additional courses to obtain an endorsement in Autism.
In addition to the general outcomes for Graduate Studies at Fairmont State University, Special Education candidates are prepared to meet learning outcomes based upon the national Council for Exceptional Children Professional Standards and the state West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards.
All coursework is delivered online and asynchronously, enabling candidates to complete coursework wherever they have access to the Internet, and at times that are most convenient for them. Courses are coupled with clinical experiences either in candidates’ own schools and multi-categorical classrooms or, for those candidates who are not currently teaching, in an arranged placement in a multi-categorical classroom setting in a local school.
The need for teachers who are fully certified in multi-categorical special education continues to grow, both in regions throughout West Viriginia and across the country. Education employment forecasters predict that this need is likely to continue to increase for several more years. Having this certification enhances an educator's marketability and options for employment. The knowledge, skills and professional dispositions developed in FSU's Multi-Categorical Special Education program can be applied in any classroom to benefit all learners. In addition, veteran special educators attest that while the work of a special education teacher is demanding, it is also very rewarding.