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Northwest Missouri State University

Special Education

Alternative Certification

The Alternative Certification program is designed to prepare students to become effective classroom teachers. Special education teachers are in high demand. This two-year provisional certification program is an alternative route for candidates that have a bachelor's degree or higher and a desire to pursue a Missouri teacher's certification in the area of mild to moderate/cross categorical special education.

Interested candidates may contact the department to make an appointment for an initial audit to determine viability in the program. Students who meet the below admission requirements will teach in the area of special education in a Missouri school district while completing a program of study consisting of 32-33 graduate credit hours. Coursework may be completed through on-site and online classes available at Northwest Missouri State University, Northwest-Kansas City and other convenient locations based on demand. Supervision is provided for students through observations offering valuable feedback to students to become successful teachers. Completion requirements include above coursework, a passing score on the prescribed Missouri Conent Assessments (MoCA) for special education and Missouri Preservice Teacher Assessment (MoPTA).

Upon completion of this program students will be recommended for a Missouri initial teaching certificate in this area. Students meeting admission requirements to the M.S.Ed in Special Education will only have 15 additional graduate credit hours to achieve a master's degree.

Special Education Certification Course Requirements

(32-33 graduate credit hours)

Introduction to Teaching (61-614)
Two-week session summer before Year 1
3 hours
Organizing for Learning (61-615)
One night per week fall Year 1
3 hours
Organizing for Learning II (61-617)
One night per week spring Year 1
3 hours
Behavior Management Techniques (62-540) 3 hours
Reading in the Elementary School (62-655) 3 hours
Analysis and Correction of Reading Disabilities (62-654) 3 hours
Intro to Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities (62-642) 3 hours
Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities (62-643) 3 hours
Psycho-Education Measurement (62-652) 3 hours
Plus two out of the following:
Creating Inclusive Classrooms (62-504) 3 hours
Techniques for Conferencing and Collaboration (62-635) 3 hours
Transition/Career Education (62-508) 2 hours

Admission Requirements

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Be employed as a teacher of record by a Missouri school district
  • Have a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in the subject area or closely related field (special education may differ)
  • Maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA overall and 3.00 in both the subject area and education area
  • Interview on campus may be required
  • Special education candidates must complete the GRE within their first year of teaching

Application Process and Materials

If you meet these requirements and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Certification Office.


Alternative Certification 
Northwest Missouri State University
800 University Drive

Maryville, MO 64468
Fax: 660.562.1096






Certification into a Master program

Special Education candidates must complete the GRE within the first year of the program. To pursue your MS.Ed. in Special Education upon completion of the Alternative Certification Program, you must receive a combined score of 280 or above.

Master in Special Education: An additional 15 hours of course work may be completed to receive your master's degree in special education.

For current course offerings, times, and dates please refer to the below link. Be sure to select the correct term/semester while searching. Type in the five digit course number without dashes into the "Course Number" square and click "Get Class Openings"

Course Offerings on CatPAWS

Please check CatPAWS frequently for updated course offering dates and times.

To fulfill all requirements for class enrollment, please register at least 3 weeks in advance. Order your books early from the Bearcat Bookstore.