Autism Education

University of Missouri-Columbia
Graduate certificate
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Graduate certificate 

You know students with autism benefit from teachers who are committed to helping them thrive. That’s why you are drawn to this 100% online graduate certificate in autism education from the University of Missouri (Mizzou). As one of several top-ranked online graduate programs from Mizzou’s College of Education & Human Development, this program is ideal for current educators who want to develop specific skills for working with autistic students.

You’ll gain essential skills and strategies for reaching students in a variety of contexts. First, you'll develop your foundation in autism with three core courses, then you will choose an elective course in an area of specific interest. You can apply your learning immediately to your classroom. Although this graduate program is not designed for those seeking teacher certification, the credits you earn can count toward a future master’s degree from Mizzou. Regardless, upon earning this graduate certificate, you’ll be equipped with knowledge that helps all of your students succeed.

Top-ranked programs in two categories

Mizzou’s online graduate education programs ranked among the nation’s finest in two U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs 2023 categories.

Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Grad Education 2023 Badge.
Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Veterans Grad Education 2023 Badge.

Quick facts

Official name

Graduate certificate in autism education


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Graduate certificate

Academic home

College of Education & Human Development | Department of Special Education

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

Teacher working one on one

Career prospects

Job titles include: 

  • Teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Speech pathologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Paraeducator
  • Autism specialist

Program structure

Delivery of this program is 100% online: no campus visits are required.

Courses are cohort-based. Most students study part time, taking one to two classes per semester, and complete the course work in just one to two years.

Course work includes

  • Introduction to autism
  • Autism without co-occurring intellectual disability
  • Social competency for students with autism
  • Electives in instructional methods for autism, autism assessment and teaching young children with autism


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

1-2 years

Typical course load

1-2 classes per semester

Further your education

Students may apply the 12 credit hours earned for this graduate certificate to a master of education in special education or a master of education in autism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. For more information, visit the Department of Special Education.


University of Missouri-Columbia is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

Faculty spotlight

Jena Randolph, assistant professor special education

Jena Randolph is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in the Department of Special Education and the director of online graduate programs. Before this, she served as the director of training and education at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment. She has over 25 years of experience working with individuals with autism throughout the lifespan across home, clinical and school settings. Her experience focuses on neurodiversity, collaborative and coordinated care, emergent communication development and supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools.

Jena Randolph, PhD
Assistant Professor and Director of Online Graduate Programs, Department of Special Education
Rebecca McCatheren

Rebecca McCatheren was a practitioner for 20 years, working with children in diverse settings including residential treatment and respite care programs. Dr. McCatheren taught children with disabilities and those with multiple risk factors in diverse inner-city settings. Her desire to prepare educators for similar work led her to seek her doctorate in special education at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include early language and communication and social and emotional development in young children. She has received five Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) personnel preparation grants since joining Mizzou in 1999.


Rebecca McCatheren
Professor Emerita

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Special Education