High Incidence Alternative Certification (Pilot Program)



The Master of Education in Special Education High Incidence Alternative Certification at Wichita State University is a 37 credit hour program that provides individuals who have at least one year of experience as a paraprofessional and a Bachelor's degree outside the field of education with a route to becoming a special education teacher of record. This program prepares reflective practitioners who possess both theoretical understanding and practical skills for teaching students with high-incidence disabilities K-12th grade. This program is offered fully online with cohorts starting in both the summer and fall semesters. Students earn field experience credit while working as the Special Education Teacher of Record. Ongoing university mentor support throughout the program is provided as well.  

Degree Requirements

Wichita State University Master of Education in Special Education High Incidence Alternative Certification consists of 37 graduate hours. The courses include:

Preparatory Courses (7):

* Taken as a cohort during the first semester of the program while still employed as a paraprofessional. If summer start, employment as paraprofessional is not required. Students must receive departmental permission to enroll in preparatory coursework by securing a teaching position to start by the second semester of the program and completing KSDE Form 24.

  • SPED 784: Foundations of Education for Individuals with Exceptionalities (3)
  • SPED 506: Introduction to the Education Profession for Special Educators (2)
  • SPED 556: Introduction to Instructional Planning and Classroom Management (2)

Required Core Courses (23):

* Students MUST start full-time employment as a special education teacher of record at the start of their second semester. Students must successfully complete preparatory coursework and submit KSDE Form 24P to begin required core courses. 

  • SPED 757A, B, C: Integrated Seminar & Mentoring I (1 each)
  • SPED 724: Introduction to Teaching Strategies for Students with High Incidence Disabilities (3)
  • SPED 749A: Practicum: High-Incidence (3)
  • SPED 796: Family and Professional Collaboration (2)
  • SPED 812: Transition Across the LIfe Span (2)
  • SPED 815: Intensive Academic Interventions (3)
  • SPED 815A: Internship: High-Incidence (1)
  • SPED 818: Positive Behavior Supports for Students with Exceptionalities (3)
  • SPED 818A: Internship: Positive Behavior Supports (1)
  • SPED 822: Principles of Nondiscriminatory Assessment for Students with Exceptionalities (2)

Note: Students are eligible to take Praxis exams for teacher licensure after completion of all the above preparatory and required courses (30) and approval from faculty advisor. Students who are seeking certification only do not need to complete the following research component of the program. The research component is only required for those who are degree bound.

Research Component (7): 

  • CLES 801: Introduction to Educational Research (3)
  • SPED 862: Master's Capstone Proprosal (2)
  • SPED 863: Master's Capstone Presentation (2)

Admission Requirements

When applying for admission to the Master of Education in Special Education High Incidence Alternative Certification program, you must:

  • Email the following to Dr. Donna Sayman at donna.sayman@wichita.edu.  
    1. Signed documentation from a building or district administrator confirming work as a paraprofessional for at least one year. 
    2. Letter of recommendation from a building or district level administrator that highlights strengths as an educator and the school district's commitment to mentoring. This letter must be on school or school district letterhead. 
  • Complete the graduate school application 

Applications are evaluated when received.

Application Process

You can view the progress of your admission status by visiting wichita.edu/onestop and click on Track My Progress. For information on how you will be notified of your admission decision, please click here.

After Admission 

Upon admission, students will be provided with a plan of study and required to sign documentation that acknowledges their understanding of the following program requirements: 

  1. KSDE Form 24-Limited Apprentice Application with sections A and B fully completed and signed by appropriate parties must be submitted to program chair in order to enroll in preparatory coursework. KSDE Form 24 provides the necessary documentation of having secured full-time employment as a special teacher that will start no later than the second semester of the program.
  2. Successful completion of the first semester of coursework and submission of the fully completed and signed KSDE Form 24P to the program chair are required to begin the required core courses.

Background Check

Upon admission and prior to their first semester, all students admitted to the Master of Education in Special Education High Incidence Alternative Certification program must clear a criminal background check. Click here for instructions.