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Certification for Special Education

Traditional Route – Licensure guidelines offers certification for applicants that have completed a teacher education program in Special Education with student teaching. These applicants must pass the Praxis II test 5354 subject area test for Special Education, as well as the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching (choose 1 of 3). This will allow new certified Special Education teachers to serve as Inclusion or Tutorial instructors.

Alternate Route – Two of the state board approved alternate route programs for Mississippi, The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), The Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) and the Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers (MAPQT) include Special Education in the list of approved subject areas for licensure. These applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-education major. They must pass both the CORE Core Academic Skills for Educators test and the Praxis II subject area test 5354 for Special Education. Once the tests are mastered, these applicants can enroll in either the MAT, TMI, or MAPQT for training. When the training is completed, they can apply for a 3-year alternate route license in Mild/Moderate grades K-12. Program participants will complete a teaching internship as an Inclusion teacher.  At the completion of the program and internship, completers can apply for a 5-year standard license in Mild/Moderate grades K-12. See the Alternate Route webpage for specifics and contact information about these programs. 

Once the Special Education teacher has completed their internship, they can apply for the five-year standard license for grades K-12 Mild/Moderate. These teachers will be certified to serve as Inclusion or Tutorial instructors for all Special Education students.

Masters Alternate Route – Licensure guidelines also offer a licensure track for educators that complete a master’s degree in Special Education. To become certified, these educators must submit, along with the degree, passing scores on CORE, Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching, and Praxis II test 5354 for Special Education.

Highly Qualified guidance for Special Education – The United States Department of Education has confirmed with Mississippi Department of Education that No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires Special Education teachers who are the primary teacher of instruction giving grades to Special Education students in core subject areas (language arts, math, science or social studies) show subject area competency in those core subject areas.

Please note that highly qualified status for Special Education teachers is based on the level at which the student is assessed. Those teachers who teach exclusively students assessed against alternate achievement standards may demonstrate subject matter competency at a level lower than the student’s grade level.

The State Board of Education approved in 2006, a Praxis II test especially for Special Education teachers to become highly qualified. Praxis II Fundamental Subjects K-12 test 5511 will allow Special Education teachers to be highly qualified in Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies if the Special Education students are exclusively working below grade level.

For Elementary Special Education teachers, the Praxis II Fundamental Subjects 5511 test is sufficient for “highly qualified” status in Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies taught to Special Education students assessed on an Elementary grade level.

For Secondary Special Education teachers, the Praxis II Fundamental Subjects 5511 test is sufficient for “highly qualified” status in Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies if the teacher teaches exclusively Special Education students assessed against alternate achievement standards. If any secondary Special Education students in the class are not being assessed against alternative standards, however, the Praxis II Fundamental Subjects test 5511 is not sufficient for demonstrating subject competence. In such cases, teachers can only be considered “highly qualified” if they are endorsed in the core subject or subjects being taught.

If the Secondary Special Education teacher needs to add a specific core subject endorsement to their standard Special Education license, the following are State Board approved ways to add these endorsements.

Subject area endorsements can be added to a standard 5-year Special Education license through: 21 hours of coursework in the subject content area

  • passing Praxis II subject area test
  • completion of an approved program in the subject area at a college or university

Educator Licensure Resources