Early Childhood Development – Special Needs


The Career Studies Certificate (CSC) in Special Needs allows individuals working in early childhood development and K-6 educators to gain valuable strategies for educating a special (and growing) population of underserved students. Students will learn to better understand children with special needs, including individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and will learn how to design curricula to be more accessible to all children. A comprehensive internship is included wherein students will gain hands-on experience working in special needs programs. Completers of this CSC can sit for the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) credential exam. IBCCES is a leading provider of specialized credentials in the fields of cognitive disorders and neurodivergences. The Autism Certificate requires at least 14 hours of continuing education credits relating to autism. MECC’s program will provide those credit hours, after which students may elect to take the online Autism Certificate Competency Exam. Please note there is an exam fee charged by IBCCES that is not affiliated with MECC. Upon passing the exam, students will receive a certification number, a printed certificate, a wallet ID card, a digital badge, and the student will be listed in the International Registry as an Autism Certificate holder. The IBCCES certification, while valued by employers, is not required by MECC and will not impact completion of MECC’s degree.

This program is G3 eligible.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will be able to:

  •  Identify children with special needs, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Develop plans for addressing a child’s special needs in the classroom or caretaking arrangement.
  • Utilize effective behavior management techniques.
  • Build accessible, inclusive environments for all children.

Employment Opportunities

Completion of this program opens a variety of doors, including possible careers as behavioral therapists at local organizations such as Blue Mountain Therapy. Current educators will also improve their skills and overall employability through the creation of more accessible classroom environments. Speak with an advisor to learn how to transition this certificate into a transfer degree for K-6 special education teachers.


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