The Special Education programs for K-12 Special Education-General Curriculum, K-12 Adapted Curriculum and PK-12 Visual Impairments include coursework that meet VDOE requirements for licensure.
Students who have completed the university state approved program must meet all requirements for the licensure certificate including internships and test requirements prior to submitting for licensure. Once requirements for licensure have been met (e.g. grades posted for all classes, waivers submitted if applicable, tests completed, etc.), students may apply. Students do not have to wait until conferral of their degree. Students seeking VDOE licensure may submit for licensure either by submitting all VDOE required documentation through Mason or by obtaining a college verification form from Mason and submitting through their school division.
Students are encouraged to check their records when they are approximately 6 weeks away from completion of their final coursework for licensure to avoid delays in processing licensure paperwork. Because your job may depend on your ability to provide a signed college verification form, and because students are often nearing the deadline for their provisional license when they complete their program, all transfer and waiver paperwork (including internship waiver requests) should be submitted to the Special Education Advising Office at least six weeks prior to submission for licensure. This provides the necessary time for adjustments to be entered on your record before the licensure specialist completes your paperwork.
There are 3 options that the Mason licensure specialist can check on the college verification form:
- Option 1: Completed state approved program - Students who have completed the university state approved program must be admitted to the licensure certificate program and must meet all program requirements including internships and Praxis Core Academic Skils for Educators or state approved substitute. To add the state approved program to your record, submit sealed, official test scores to the university and send the Graduate Secondary Certificate Program Application to your advisor. Program requirements are pre-approved by VDOE to cover licensure competencies.
- Option 2: "No -- all but internships" - Students who plan to take the alternate route to licensure can meet all requirements for the licensure certificate, including Praxis Core Academic Skils for Educators or a state-approved substitute, other than internships and receive a college verification form that states they have not completed a state approved program but they have done everything except the internships. Transcripts are then reviewed by VDOE to determine if the licensure requirements, including the requirement for supervised classroom experience, have been met. This option does NOT guarantee licensure and it is possible students will need coursework outside of their cohort program to meet state licensure requirements.
- Option 3: No, has not completed a state approved program - Students who plan to take the alternate route to licensure who do not complete internships and do not meet the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators requirement will receive a college verification form that states that the student is not admitted to and has not completed a state approved program. Transcripts are then reviewed by VDOE to determine if the licensure requirements, including the requirement for supervised classroom experience, have been met. This option does NOT guarantee licensure and it is likely students will need coursework outside of their cohort program to meet state licensure requirements.
There is more than one route to obtain licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Students can complete a state-approved university licensure program or they can apply for their licensure via the alternate route which means submitting coursework directly to VDOE licensure review. See the charts on Virginia Special Education Licensure options for Special Education-General Curriculum K-12 or for Adapted Curriculum K-12 for further details and discuss your choice with your advisor to ensure you fully understand the result of your decision. While many VDOE/HR and Mason requirements will overlap, there will be some differences. It is imperative that you consult with both your Mason advisor and HR specialist to ensure you meet all requirements for employment as well as all requirements for your graduate program.
IMPORTANT: The only agreement Mason has with VDOE to verify a student has met requirements for licensure is through the completion of the state approved program. GMU courses are not a one-to-one match with state requirements and the state may require you take additional courses if you have not completed the program in full. Students taking the alternate route to licensure are subject to any changes made by VDOE. Students pursuing an alternate route to licensure must work closely with the HR or VDOE licensure specialist in their school division to determine what requirements (e.g. additional coursework) you will need in order to obtain licensure. When you apply to graduate, you will graduate from the MEd program only and not the certificate.
Licensure requirements are state-specific. Begin by consulting with the Department of Education of the state. You may also want to review the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Facilitating Mobility of Educational Personnel. If a form is required by the state indicating your completion of a licensure program, or status in a licensure program, submit the form to the CEHD Licensure Specialist. Mason can only provide you with a form stating that you completed a VDOE state-approved licensure certificate program if you were admitted to, and met all requirements of a VDOE state-approved program. Mason will not be able to provide such verification for students pursuing an alternate route to licensure.