Dual Certification in PK-4 / Special Education PK-8

Holy Family University is proud to offer students a highly supportive learning environment that values their personal and professional goals. Small classes and a challenging learning environment allow students to thrive. We educate beyond the classroom and provide opportunities for hands-on experience, a key component of your college education.

Major Coursework

The Dual Certification Program in PK-4/Special Education PK-8 at Holy Family University teaches students the history, values, skills, and legalities of educating children of all abilities. From instructional and classroom management techniques to inclusionary models of teaching, our dual certification program in PK-4/Special Education PreK-8 provides a wide array of experiences for future teachers.

Program highlights include:

  • Foundation in the Legal Aspects of the Field
  • Role of Advocacy within Special Education
  • Strategies for Inclusive Education
  • Collaborating with Families
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Technology for Communication and Literacy

Adding Grade Levels to your PK-4 Teaching Certificate

In addition to earning Special Education certification, you can also build on your PK-4 teaching certificate to add Grades 5-6 or Grades 4-8 by taking tests that focus solely on content. Through this option in Pennsylvania, you can expand your PK-4 certification to PK-6 or PK-8.

  • Adding Grades 5-6: To add Grades 5-6, you will be tested on content knowledge in the areas of mathematics, science, English and language arts, and social studies. You may elect to take additional courses beyond your PK-4/Special Education program that could strengthen your knowledge in preparation for the test.
  • Adding Grades 4-8: To add Grades 4-8, the content tests will be the same as for Grades 5-6: mathematics, science, English and language arts, and social studies. In addition, you will also select a content specialization (one of the four listed) and you will be tested further on that content. You may elect to take additional courses beyond your PK-4/Special Education program that could strengthen your knowledge in preparation for the tests.


Our state-of-the-art Education & Technology Center was designed for one purpose—to train teachers. The facility features the most advanced equipment, including total wireless capability, live video conferencing, and translation capabilities for conferences. Along with general-purpose classrooms, the facility also features specialized classrooms for the teaching of reading, science and math, early childhood, and special education.

Field Experience

We strongly believe in placing students into the field and into as many different classroom environments as possible. Our comprehensive field placement program, unmatched in its amount and variety of field experiences, starts with freshman year and continues until graduation.

Freshman and Sophomore Year—Observations

In your first and second years, you will begin visiting and experiencing a wide variety of teaching environments. You will write reflections on your observations and discuss these in class. In addition, you will learn how to write lesson plans and will even have the opportunity to teach a few lessons in actual classrooms!

Junior Year—The Practicum

In your third year, in what is called “Practicum,” your experience will increase. You’ll be placed one day a week, for a full day, in a school working in a classroom with a teacher. You’ll do assignments, write lesson plans, teach several classes, and work with technology in the classroom.

Senior Year—Student Teaching

In your final year, as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, you’ll do your “Student Teaching”—a full-time supervised student teaching semester in which you basically take over a class.

Partner School Districts

School districts working with our students include:

  • Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • Bensalem
  • Bristol Borough
  • Bristol Township
  • Centennial
  • Central Bucks
  • Cinnaminson
  • Council Rock
  • Mount Laurel
  • Neshaminy
  • New Hope-Solebury
  • Pennsauken
  • Pennsbury
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • and more!