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Certification change should increase demand for Thiel special education teacher graduates


Certification change should increase demand for Thiel special education teacher graduates

GREENVILLE, Pa.—All May 2022 graduates of Thiel College’s elementary education and special education program will be certified to teach special education to high school students in Pennsylvania under a newly established Pennsylvania Department of Education approved Special Education PK-12 program.

“The state has seen a growing teacher shortage in recent years thus prompting Governor Wolf to sign the Act 82 of 2018 which amends the school code which created a Special Education PK-12 certificate. Thiel College applied for this certification expansion and was approved in 2020,” Thiel College Department of Education chair Nancy Castor said. “This is a win-win for our students and should put them in high demand.”

The change does not apply to all teaching graduates in the state. Colleges and universities had to apply to have the additional certifications apply to their graduates.

Act 82 of 2018 (H.B. 1386) changed the grade spans and age levels for certification of special education instructional certificates after December 31, 2021, combining the current special education certificates into one category. Under the bill, all special education certificates issued after Dec. 31, 2021 would cover PreK-12, or up to age 21, with no additional content or dual certification required.

The Special Education Grades PreK-12 certificate does not require certification in an additional content area. Currently, there are two special education certificates, one to teach in pre-K through eighth grade and another for teachers in grades seven through 12.

Under the new law, special education teachers who graduate from approved colleges/universities after Dec. 31, 2021, will be awarded the single pre-K to grade 12 certificate. After that date, teachers with pre-K to grade eight or grade seven to grade 12 certificates will be able to expand their certificates to include the grade levels they aren’t currently certified to teach.

Thiel College is adding a secondary education special education course as part of this new certification. The Thiel College special education teacher preparation program will continue to be a comprehensive program that is delivered through college classroom work and field work in local districts in which the pre-service teachers work to meet the needs of students with disabilities in multiple settings.

Graduates from Thiel College’s Department of Education have had 100 percent job placement rate for the past five plus years and each graduate compiles more than 200 hours of practicum work experience in the classroom before student-teaching. Faculty members in the College’s department have more than 200 years of combined teaching and administration experience.

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About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Master of Science in speech-language pathology, a Leadership Master of Business Administration and a Management Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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