The Early Childhood Special Education Program at TCNJ for undergraduates is a five-year program that prepares students to be teachers of young students with disabilities. It culminates in a master’s degree and New Jersey certification in both Special Education and Early Childhood Education (P-3). Preparation includes theory and practice in teaching students with diverse learning abilities including students with learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, severe and multiple disabilities. New Jersey certification does not distinguish between these diagnostic labels; the certificate establishes qualification to teach individuals with any one or combination of the above disabling conditions.
Graduates of the program meet the state’s current requirements for being “highly qualified” teachers and therefore are eligible for employment in New Jersey school districts.
Students in the five-year program must also complete a liberal arts major in one of 11 state-approved disciplines.
At the end of their fourth year, students earn a bachelor’s degree. The Early Childhood Special Education course of study continues the following academic year and culminates in a full-time student teaching experience and a master’s degree in Special Education.
The program meets the standards and requirements of:
- Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
- State of New Jersey Teacher Education Standards
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Early Childhood (DEC)
The program is consistent with the five themes of the School of Education’s Conceptual Framework, Creating Agents of Change:
- Demonstrating Subject Matter Expertise
- Demonstrating Excellence in Planning and Practice
- Demonstrating a Commitment to All Learners
- Demonstrating a Strong, Positive Effect on Student Growth
- Demonstrating Professionalism, Advocacy, and Leadership
Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN I GRADUATE, WHAT WILL I BE QUALIFIED TO TEACH?
Preschool through grade 3 for students with and without disabilities; Early Intervention;
I AM CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN ANOTHER PROGRAM AT TCNJ; HOW CAN I TRANSFER?
Complete a transfer application found here. PLEASE NOTE: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE UNDERGRADUATE COORDINATOR IS ALSO REQUIRED
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A FIVE-YEAR PROGRAM RATHER THAN GRADUATING IN FOUR?
You will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in an academic major and a master’s degree in special education. You will also hold two NJ teaching certifications. Separately, such achievement would take almost 7 years. Furthermore, spreading coursework over 5 years allows more flexibility in scheduling and permits enrollment in elective courses.
WHAT IS YOUR AVERAGE CLASS SIZE?
HOW DO I ARRANGE A VISIT?
Visit the College’s website for prospective students.
DOES THIS PROGRAM ENABLE ME TO TEACH STUDENTS WHO ARE DEAF/HARD-OF-HEARING?
No, if you are interested in teaching students who are deaf/HOH, the department offers another five-year integrated bachelor’s and master’s of arts program which culminates in two certifications: one in Education of the Deaf or Hard of Hearing and one in Early Childhood Education. Visit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education site.
CAN I STUDY ABROAD?
Yes, the department supports the College’s International Student Teaching program. There is room in the five-year program to study abroad. Visit cge.pages.tcnj.edu for details.
I AM EXCITED ABOUT STUDENT TEACHING. WHEN WILL I HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM?
You will have part-time field experience in your sophomore, junior and senior years. You will teach full-time during your fourth and fifth years.
High School Students: TO APPLY
Begin your application process at http://admissions.pages.tcnj.edu/
Information about campus tours and the application process are available at the Admissions Office, Loser Hall, Room 228, (609)771-2131
Transfer Students: TO APPLY