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Teaching a student with disabilities.

Teaching Students with Disabilities Overview

Mercy is shaping talented teachers in our Special Education department, whether they are experienced educators or those new to the field. Our program is designed for those who have a passion for teaching young children with special needs and want to focus on the subject in a highly specialized way.


Kindergarten teacher at the blackboard.

This program leads to certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities, Birth - Grade 2 and Teaching Students with Disabilities, Grades 1 - 6.

This qualifies graduates to teach in public schools, which typically pay at a higher rate than private schools. Professional certification is for candidates who already possess initial certification, and three years of teaching in their content area. 

Career Opportunities

Students are prepared to become teachers in:

  • Special education elementary school teacher
  • Special education preschool teacher
  • General Education birth – second grade teacher 

$78K Salary

Average Pay
For special education elementary school teachers in New York

$83K Salary

Average Pay
For special education pre-school teachers in New York

48 Credits

Total Credits to Earn Your Degree
Classes in Instruction to students with disabilities, Literacy Instruction for adolescents, teaching writing and the writing process

The Mercy Advantage

  • Triple Certification will lead to certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities, Birth - Grade 2, Teaching Students with Disabilities, Grades 1 - 6 and Early Childhood Education.
  • Online Course Completion Provides flexible scheduling - students can complete coursework  on their schedule.

National Accreditation

Mercy College’s national accreditation provides a seal of approval and enhances our graduates’ credentials when seeking employment.

  • National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) 
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Professionals (CAEP)
National Accreditation.

Admission Requirements

*Please note, New York State requires that all students applying to graduate Schools of Education must take an admission test. Mercy College requires that students take the GRE or Praxis unless applying for the non-certification (Educational Studies) option.

Kindergarten teacher helping students.

Outside The Classroom

The student teaching experience is a semester-long capstone course for initial certification candidates, in collaboration with local schools. Students will also complete 10 - 15 hours of fieldwork observation experience per course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this qualify me to be a general education teacher?

Yes, if the setting is birth through grade 2.

Will this qualify me to be a special education teacher in an inclusive setting?

Yes, if the inclusive setting is birth through grade 6.

Will this qualify me to be a special education teacher in a special class setting?

Yes, if the special class setting is birth through grade 6.

What certification tests will I have to take to become certified?

You will need to take the Educating All Students (EAS) test, the relevant Content Specialty Tests (CSTs), and the edTPA during student teaching.

What other requirements are there for certification, besides the coursework and the certification tests?

You must be fingerprinted, take three workshops (DASA, Child Abuse and Violence Prevention), and apply to the state for certification.

Program Details & Curriculum


Required Courses: 48 Credits Total

  • EDUC 500 Edu Fnd Diverse Perspectives
  • EDUC 502 Fndtns Educ Sdnts w/Dsblts
  • EDUC 513 Intr Erl Chld Ed:Fndtn/Meth/Mt
  • EDUC 522 Lang Develop & Lit Acquisition
  • EDUC 523 Develop and Exceptionalities
  • EDUC 529 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • EDUC 531 Tchng Stdnts with Dsblts B-6
  • EDUC 534 Differentiated Instructional Methods and Materials
  • EDUC 546 Educ Assesmnt SWD
  • EDUC 548 Prin/Strat Clsrm Mgt for SWD
  • EDUC 553 Math Cldhd/ECldhd Educ
  • EDUC 617 Literacy Instruct Brth-Grade 6
  • EDUC 641 Autism
  • EDUC 657 Collaboration and Consultation for Students with Special Needs
  • EDUC 674 Assistive and Learning Technology for Students with Disabilities and Special Needs
  • EDUC 709 Student Teaching Experience*


  • EDUC 713 Seminar in Teaching*


Academic Sequence Map

Effective Educator Statement

Students must submit an Effective Educator Statement to complete their application. You can download requirements here. 

Please submit the completed statement to your application portal