Post Baccalaureate Certificate, Special Education

Become a Licensed Special Education Teacher

The Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education is a statewide, 18-month, field-based program designed for those pursuing careers in teaching who have already earned a bachelor or master degree (in any field).

This program has two specialization options and three licensure level options:

Two specialization options

  1. The mild/moderate disabilities specialization prepares candidates to work with the largest population of students with disabilities. These students have learning disabilities, ADHD, or other high incidence disabilities. They typically follow an academic curriculum in the general education setting or special education resource setting.
  2. The severe disabilities/autism specialization prepares candidates to work with individuals with disabilities who need support learning functional academic and life skills (communication, social competence, and adaptive behavior). This emphasis focuses on improving the quality of life for students who may require more comprehensive support. This includes students with low-incidence disabilities (e.g. intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, multiple impairments) and may be taught in a fully self-contained classroom setting. In addition, this specialization includes 12 credits of overlapping ABA coursework for those interested in pursuing the MEd in Special Education with the BCBA-Track afterwards.

Three licensure level options in special education

  1. Early Childhood (PreK – Grade 3)
  2. Elementary (Grade K – Grade 6)
  3. Secondary (Middle and High School)

Please read the Gainful Employment disclosure for your career field.

Upon completion of this program, qualified candidates will be recommended for initial teacher licensure in special education (PK-3, K-6, OR 6-12) with a mild/moderate or severe/autism specialization.

  • Early Childhood Special Education Teacher
  • Elementary Special Education Teacher
  • Secondary Special Education Teacher

This program is nationally accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) through June 30, 2028. Accreditation means that the College of Education (COE) meets the highest national standards for the preparation of teachers, administrators, and other professionals.

Once completing an initial teacher licensure program, graduates are eligible to apply for a state license through the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, which will allow the licensee to teach in public and charter schools in the State of Hawaii.

Hawai’i also participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement which facilitates the mobility of educators among the states that are members of NASDTEC. UHM recommends you contact the office of certification in any state to which you may be relocating to get the most current information. See the NASDTEC website for more information.


DOE STIPENDS (33 credits, resident or nonresident tuition): Available to fund in-state or out-of-state candidates who agree to teach as a special education teacher in a Hawaii DOE school for a minimum of 3 years after program completion. Upon yearly renewal of funds, this funding opportunity will automatically be offered to all admitted program candidates. The stipend is given each semester directly to the student while enrolled.

Financial Aid (FAFSA):  Is available for this program. Submit your free application year-round to see if you qualify for student loans: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness:  Eligible to receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness after completing 5 years of teaching as a special education teacher in a Title I school. For more information, visit: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher

See the following sites for additional funding information: