Earn Dual Certification in Elementary and Special Education

This combined master’s degree will prepare you to become a special education teacher and general educator for grades 1-6.

About Sage’s Childhood Education and Special Education Degree

With this master’s degree in education, you’ll be able to teach all learners in the elementary setting, grades 1-6.

You’ll build your skills to teach in a general education classroom, planning units of study and lesson plans for all students in the class. You’ll also be ready to work with other colleagues, including literacy specialists, speech/language teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists. And as a special educator, you’ll be able to help students with disabilities thrive in their class.

Faculty in Russell Sage College’s Esteves School of  Education have extensive experience teaching general and special education students.

You’ll also benefit from the knowledge of local teachers, counselors and administrators who serve as guest speakers.

If you have initial certification in Childhood Education and wish to add Special Education, please see Sage’s Master of Education in Special Education program or dual master’s degree in Literacy and Special Education.

Student Teaching in the Childhood Education and Special Education Degree Program

There are two options for the Childhood/Special Education master’s degree — one with a traditional student teaching experience and another with the Classroom Academy residency program.

The Classroom Academy

Candidates for a Master of Science in Childhood/Special Education at Sage may apply for paid, full-time, two-year residencies with experienced teachers, instead of traditional seven-week student teaching placements.

Apply for the Classroom Academy residency when you submit your application for the M.S. program. Learn more and apply at Classroomacademy.org.

Traditional Student Teaching

Master’s candidates complete two seven-week student teaching experiences, one in grades 1-3 and another in grades 4-6. One placement will be in a general education classroom, and the other will be a special education-based experience. Get a wide range of experiences within urban, suburban and rural school districts.

“Russell Sage College and the Esteves School of Education act as leaders in education not just in the Capital District, but in New York State.”

Peter Stapleton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Spotlights Pattern

Careers with an Elementary and Special Education Degree

Once you complete your master’s degree, the edTPA and Content Specialty Tests, you’ll meet the requirements for dual certification in elementary and special education.

Dual certification in elementary and special education means you will be able to teach all learners, which increases employment options. Graduates become special education teachers as well as classroom teachers. They also pursue other education-related opportunities, such as working for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

What Does a Special Education Teacher Do?

Special educators teach students (grades 1-6) with a wide range of challenges and barriers related to their education. Special educators are prepared to teach across the special education continuum.

What is a General Educator?

Those who teach common-branch subjects (reading, writing, science, mathematics, social studies) are general educators. General educators provide high-quality instruction for all learners within their classroom. They also work closely with other colleagues, including literacy specialists, speech/language teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and special educators to provide appropriate, targeted instruction within the regular classroom.

Learning Experience

This master’s degree in education is very interactive, with many connections to local public schools. You’ll have the chance to participate in practical experiences while studying theoretical research background. The program also includes many guest speakers from the Capital District — teachers, directors, principals and related service providers — so you can learn from the best in the field.

Course Objectives

You’ll learn best practices for working with students of varying needs, including working with gifted students. Learn through foundational knowledge, advanced theories and supervised practical experiences.

Application Requirements

  • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • one letter of recommendation
  • 1-2 page career goals essay
  • GRE is not required

Deadline: Rolling Admission
Start Date: Fall, Spring, Summer semester


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Office Coordinator: Esteves School of Education, Administrative Assistant: Professional Education Programs, and Teacher Certification Officer
Assistant Professor of Special Education and Physical Education