Special education

University of Missouri-Columbia
Graduate certificate
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Graduate certificate 

You know that neurodiversity enriches the classroom even more when educators have excellent training. That’s why you are drawn to this 100% online graduate certificate in special 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 working with diverse classrooms.

You’ll gain essential skills and strategies for differentiating instruction, selecting four courses from twelve possible electives in the areas of special education that interest you most. While this graduate certificate alone will not qualify you for teaching certification, the credits you earn can count toward a future master’s degree. Upon receiving this certificate, you will be equipped to further the success of every educational institution you serve – and help more students thrive. For more information about teaching certification, contact the department of education in your state.

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 special 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 gives young student a high five

Career prospects

Job titles include:

  • Teachers
  • Interventionists
  • Paraeducators
  • School administrators
  • School psychologists
  • Special education specialists

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

  • Advanced behavior management
  • Introduction to autism
  • Introduction and methods of early intervention
  • Behavioral and classroom management
  • Other elective choices in differentiating instruction, autism, cross-categorical special education and more


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

1 year

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 another relevant master’s degree from Mizzou’s College of Education & Human Development. 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
Delinda van Garderen, professor, special education

Delinda van Garderen focuses her research on students with learning disabilities, struggling learners, and teachers in the content areas of mathematics and science. In particular, she studies how students and teachers use representations to solve mathematics word problems, student development and intervention in number (e.g., conservation of quantity, numerical magnitude), and use of Universal Design for Learning to plan instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners in science. She is currently completing a DR-K12 NSF grant, “QuEST: Quality Elementary Science Teaching,” designed to examine the impact of a professional development model for improving teacher content knowledge and pedagogical practices in science.


Delinda van Garderen, PhD
Professor, Department of Special Education

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the Department of Special Education