| 877-669-2228 | Login |

Become a Special Education Teacher

Are you experienced working with special needs children? Ensure every student receives a quality education, regardless of ability, with American Board’s Special Education Teacher Certification. Our online program includes American Board’s Elementary Education Certification as well to guarantee that certified teachers are highly qualified to teach multiple subject areas.*

With open enrollment, you can start anytime and train at your own pace to become a special education teacher in your state. Click on the links below to read more about state requirements.

*Candidates completing the Special Education program will receive a certificate in both Special Education and Elementary Education. Candidates completing the Special Education program in Pennsylvania should visit American Board’s Pennsylvania page for more information and specific requirements. 

How to Become a Special Education Teacher

In order to earn Special Education teacher certification with American Board, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  2. Submit your official college or university transcripts to the American Board.
  3. Pass a national background check.
  4. Pass the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam (PTK). This exam will be taken on a computer and must be completed at a Pearson VUE testing center. The exam will consist of 100 multiple choice questions and a writing component. We suggest you take this exam before your subject area exam.
  5. Pass the American Board Special Education exam. This exam will be taken on the computer and must be completed at a Pearson VUE testing center. We suggest taking this exam after you complete your PTK exam.
  6. Pass the American Board Elementary Education exam. This exam will be taken on the computer and must be completed at a Pearson VUE testing center. You must pass your Elementary exam to receive your Special Education certification.

Become a Special Education Teacher in Your State

American Board’s Special Education teacher certification is currently offered in the following states. Click a state below to learn of the specific requirements to become a teacher in that state:

*Candidates in Ohio should check with the state department of education to learn what subjects are available to them through American Board’s program. Candidates in these states do not take American Board subject exams.

 Special Education Teacher Certification Program

American Board currently offers two Special Education teacher certification programs: Special Education Standard and Special Education Premium. Both programs will take the same exams. Read below to learn what is included with these programs.

Special Education Standard Teacher Certification Program includes the following:

Study Plans: Our study plans are based on best practices and recommendations from students that have already completed our program.

Prepare to Teach Workshops: Familiarize yourself with teaching concepts and practices using online lessons, video case studies, and printable resources.

Practice Exams: Practice in the same format as the real test on more than 300 sample questions. These include full-length tests, topic quizzes, timed and untimed modes, and complete explanations of the answers.

Exams: Take exams when you are ready, according to your own schedule. Testing is available year-round at Pearson VUE centers, Monday-Saturday.

PTK Workbook: Did you know you need to learn one hundred different standards in order to pass the American Board Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam? We’ve designed a one hundred page workbook to help maximize studying for the PTK exam. It provides a concrete way to navigate and learn the exam’s standards.

PTK Quiz Bank I: This quiz bank focuses on the topics that students have the most difficulty with on the actual exam. This tool is designed so that candidates can avoid test pitfalls and succeed the first time they test.

PTK Quiz Bank II: A perfect complement to Quiz Bank I, this study resource ensures that candidates will also focus on the remaining topics that must be mastered in order to pass the PTK exam.

Special Education Premium Program

Special Education Premium Teacher Certification Program includes everything listed above, plus the following additions not offered with the Standard program:

Special Education Workbook: This workbook is an organizer of ALL of the standards that will be included on the Special Education exam.

Special Education Quiz Bank: This quiz bank focuses on the topics that students have missed the most on the actual exam.

The Job Counseling Webinar: This webinar walks you through the job hunting process. From searching for a job right down to the interview, you’ll learn a variety of best practices that will help you land your dream job.

The Job Counseling Workbook: This workbook has various templates to help you format your resume, cover letter, and other documents that will be used to apply for teaching positions. The workbook also provides students with tools to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and advice on how to best present their skills in job interviews.

Elementary Education Teacher Certification

American Board’s Special Education Teacher Certification is automatically bundled with American Board’s Elementary Education Teacher Certification at no additional cost. States that accept American Board’s Special Education Teacher Certification also require a candidate to be certified in Elementary Education. Completion of both programs will be required before receiving your first temporary teaching license from your state’s board of education.

Recommended Readings

Please note: Due to state regulations, American Board’s Special Education Teacher Certification program does not contain a “refresher” or knowledge based course.

Instead, you will be provided with an outline of the subjects you need to know in order to pass the exam and a list of approved recommended readings (most of which are online) on Special Education topics to read in order to learn the knowledge necessary for the exam.

Your certification program will contain the full Elementary Education program and the full Professional Teaching Knowledge program. Please call 1-877-669-2228 for more information.

Enroll Today

No classes. No semesters. Start any time.
Click to Enroll


We are available to answer your questions via email, chat or phone. Reach out to us with questions and we’ll be happy to help you figure out if our program is the right fit for your needs.

Call 1-877-669-2228 to speak with our Enrollment Team or click the button below to email us.