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ABCTE Announces Teacher Certification in Special Education

America’s Schools Need Thousands of Qualified Special Education Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2005) — Knowledgeable individuals with bachelor’s degrees and a passion to teach special education can now become certified teachers utilizing the premier Passport to TeachingSM certification process offered by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (

The American Board recently began accepting applications from individuals interested in pursuing Passport to Teaching certification in special education.  All individuals for special education must demonstrate mastery on three examinations: the Professional Teaching Knowledge Exam, the Multiple Subject Exam and the special education exam.

“One of the best ways to enhance special education in America is to ensure that every child has a knowledgeable, motivated and highly qualified teacher,” said David Saba, acting CEO of the American Board. “The Passport to Teaching certification in special education helps achieve that goal, and we are continually grateful for the U.S. Department of Education and the many lawmakers whose vision and support have made this certification possible.”

The American Board worked for more than a year to develop the research-based special education certification. The standards and certification development process included participation from leading teachers, education officials and special education subject area experts.

The American Board has partnered with Sopris West to offer an extensive 45-hour course for individuals to enhance the knowledge they need.  There are ten special education courses individuals can enroll in to bolster their knowledge and prepare them for the classroom.

Special education is consistently recognized as an area with the most teacher shortages. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for special education teachers are expected to increase faster than the average in all occupations through 2012.

Experts predict that America will need millions of new teachers within the next ten years. Currently, more than 6 million students are covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The Passport to Teaching certification in special education will help ensure that each of these children is educated by a highly qualified teacher.

“Currently in the U.S. there are thousands of special education teachers on some form of emergency waivers.  We will be working with the states to certify these teachers and ensure that all special education students have a highly qualified teacher in their classroom,” said Saba.

Individuals can apply online ( to pursue the special education certification through Passport to Teaching. To receive the Passport to Teaching, certification candidates must prove they have mastered rigorous subject area and professional teaching knowledge standards by taking three examinations administered at approved testing centers worldwide. Candidates can enroll in the special education certification program, begin their preparation and take the Professional Teaching Knowledge and Multiple Subject Exams at any time.  The special education exam is expected to be available in the spring of 2006.

Candidates for certification work with experienced teachers to prepare for their teaching careers. The American Board also recommends a multitude of other preparation materials and courses for candidates to utilize, as well.

In addition to the new special education certification, the American Board offers Passport to Teaching certification in elementary education, English, mathematics, general science and biology.  Teachers who earn their state certification through Passport to Teaching are considered highly qualified according to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

For more information, visit or call 1-877-NOW-ABCTE.