Early Childhood Special Education Graduate Certificate (Licensure)
Early childhood special educators have the opportunity to influence children's academic futures, helping them learn and develop in ways that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Providing intervention for students at an early age increases improvement in areas such as social skills, motor skills, language, and speech. This 24-credit certificate program prepares educators with the knowledge necessary to meet the needs of young children benefiting from special education services and leads to state licensure in Early Childhood Special Education, Birth-Age 5.
Early Childhood Education students engage in a semester-long internship experience off campus. This internship is a capstone experience. It is a full-time obligation in the last semester of the program. The program assists with the placement process. Internships will either work directly with or on behalf of young children and their families.
Students must submit an internship application in the semester prior to the internship. Please consult with the Early Childhood Education advisor and review the information on this page for more details.
Careers in Early Childhood Special Education
Students completing this licensure program may pursue careers in the following areas:
- Early Childhood Special Education Teachers
- Early Interventionists
- Students have the opportunity to participate in, engage in, and conduct research alongside faculty across the program.
- Students have the opportunity to engage with professional organizations to create connections, learn about advocacy opportunities, and stay informed about current trends and developments in the field. Our professional organizations include Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children (NVAEYC).
This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.
George Mason University will verify completion of the requirements of a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate or undergraduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of a Virginia Collegiate Professional, Postgraduate Professional, or Pupil Personnel license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student's responsibility to comply with all requirements for licensure by the Commonwealth. Under Virginia law, a social security number is required for licensure.
Pre-requisite Admission Requirements
- ECED 401: Developmental Pathways of Diverse Learners, Birth-Adolescence (3 credits)
- ECED 402: Foundations of Language and Literacy for Diverse Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Learners (3 credits)
- ECED 403: Inclusive Curriculum for Young Learners: Planning Instruction and Guidance (3 credits)
- ECED 404: Engaging Families of Diverse Learners, Birth – Grade 6 (3 credits)
- ECED 505: Introduction to Early Childhood Special Education (3 credits)
- ECED 506: Medical and Developmental Aspects of Disabilities of Diverse Young Learners (3 credits)
- ECED 511: Assessment of Diverse Young Learners (3 credits)
- ECED 522: Developing Language, Literacy, and Communication of Diverse Infants and Toddlers (3 credits)
- ECED 523: Early Intervention for Infants & Toddlers with Disabilities: Collaborative & Consultative Approaches (3 credits)
- ECED 781: Seminar in Early Childhood Education (3 credits)
Select one from the following:
- ECED 791: Internship with Diverse Infants and Toddlers (3 credits) and ECED 793: Internship in Preschool Early Childhood Special Education (3 credits) or
- ECED 789: Internship in Early Childhood Special Education Birth - Five (3 credits)
Total Credits: 24
(classes starting in August)
(classes starting in January)
(classes starting in May, June, or July)
Priority*: April 1
Space Available: August 1
Priority*: November 1
Space Available: January 4
Priority*: Applications not accepted for this term
Space Available: Applications not accepted for this term
For more information and to apply, visit the admissions website.
* Priority deadline ensures consideration for the intended semester as well as financial aid options for students. Programs will continue to review applications until at capacity. Some programs do not review applications past the priority deadline.
All application materials must be submitted through Mason’s online graduate application. In addition to meeting general university admissions requirements, applicants will need to provide the requirements below. Please review the FAQ page for more information.
To be considered for graduate studies, the following items are evaluated during the admission review process:
- Graduate application and fee
- 750- to 1,000-word written statement of your goals and interest in the program
- Current resume
- Two letters of recommendation: Applicants should follow the instructions included in the online application to submit the recommendation forms directly to their recommenders. Mason does not accept paper recommendations. Recommendations should be professional or academic in nature.
- Transcripts from all previous institutions attended in the United States. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions information page for specific requirements regarding uploading unofficial transcripts.
- Applicants with transcripts from institutions outside of the United States could have additional requirements. Please refer to the How To Apply page for specific requirements about submitting international transcripts, evaluations, and English language proficiency.
Admission to graduate programs at George Mason University is competitive. Applicants are evaluated on the strength of their academic backgrounds, results of standardized exams (if required by the program), work experience, and any additional evidence of potential success in the program. Faculty admissions review is a holistic review of requirements as well as the applicant’s potential academic and professional success upon completion of the program.
At a minimum all admitted students must have:
- An earned baccalaureate from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, or international equivalent, verified from official transcripts. Expectation of an earned baccalaureate prior to the first day of classes for the term for which the student is applying will also meet this requirement. See the graduate admissions policy for more information.
- A minimum 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale in baccalaureate study. The GPA requirement may be higher for some graduate programs. The university, at its discretion, may additionally consider the difficulty of the baccalaureate degree, relevant work experience, and/or other evidence of ability to succeed in graduate study when evaluating the GPA requirement.
- International students should reference Admission of International Students for additional requirements.
|TUITION CLASSIFICATION||COST PER CREDIT|
(includes MSF*; discounted from $1,431.00)
|VA Resident and PreK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program**||$589.26
|CEHD Course Fee||$25.00 - $84.00|
|Total Cost for Virginia Residents per Credit||$718.25 - $777.25|
|Total Cost for Non-Virginia Residents per Credit||$918.25 - $977.25|
|Total cost for VA Resident and PreK-12 VA Educator enrolled in a CEHD graduate program*||$614.26 - $673.26|
|Graduate New Student Fee
(non-refundable, one-time fee)
Please Note: Refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees. Internship courses will incur a higher course fee to fund on-site assistance involving intensive clinical training/supervision.
*Mandatory Student Fee (MSF): $150.25
**VA state residents who are eligible must apply for the 15% PreK-16 VA Educators Discount in order to take advantage of the lower tuition. Eligible students receive 15% off the total tuition and mandatory student fee.
For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers, and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Also, many school districts offer tuition reimbursement options. Speak to your employer for more information.