Education Degree Programs Available from Arcadia University

Arcadia is a private, Christian university with a long and cherished history, but that isn’t stopping them from forging new ground in education. It’s a school that has achieved more than a century of excellence in academics and found ways to bring it together with new technologies and new courses of study.

While the university remains one of the top institutions of higher education in the Philadelphia area, it has also expanded many of its offerings into the online world.

The school has built on a tradition of personalized attention and support with interactive virtual classrooms, accessible online platforms, and flexible scheduling and communications to deliver a top education to students anywhere in the world.

Arcadia’s Outreach Goes Back Decades and Powers an In-Depth Online Studies Program

The move to online classes is not the college’s first big outreach effort; a post-World War II mission to Europe led by university instructors laid the groundwork for a groundbreaking study abroad option that remains an active feature of Arcadia education today.

Of course, the reality is that most graduate students taking online courses are doing so for the same reasons they aren’t jetting off to study overseas. But the very fact of the strength and emphasis on these programs gives Arcadia a kind of diverse, inclusionary, exploratory character that other schools of its size find hard to match.

Due to the nature of state licensure and regulation, teachers tend to work pretty close to home. But a global perspective may be more important now than ever in public education.

Increasing diversity across the states means more cultural —Philadelphia schools alone report that more than 173 languages are spoken in homes throughout the district. And according to the U.S. Census, the state diversity index has jumped to more than 61 percent from just below 55 percent between 2010 and 2020.

A School with a Castle at Its Heart

Even online students at Arcadia can’t miss the campus association with the iconic Grey Towers Castle. The National Historic Landmark houses the office of the president and a number of other administrative departments… chances are, a lot of your email messages and phone calls will be answered from that building.

A portion of the building also serves as first-year student housing, one of the more novel uses of the historic structure.

But you may attend lectures, readings, or capstone presentations in the Rose and Laura Minerva Korman Mirror Rooms if you choose to make your way to campus for the events. And you can feel the pride that all Arcadia students do in being a part of the preservation of this unique work by Horace Trumbauer, who later went on to design such American classics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Every teacher and school administrator is familiar with the need to be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for their role. But while that process, and the requirements, are straightforward for traditional teaching and leadership jobs, the new influx of special education and behavioral specialist roles. New areas of expertise are required, and they don’t always drop neatly into the conventional path for additional teaching endorsements.

Exploring Educational Certifications Above and Beyond Teaching Licensure

Pennsylvania licenses special educators through the standard licensing track for teachers, with special education certification offered in four different content areas:

  • Special Education PK-12 (General)
  • Special Education – Hearing Impaired PK-12
  • Special Education – Speech and Language PK-12
  • Special Education – Visually Impaired PK-12

But there are also specialists whose duties fall outside those tracks, such as speech-language pathologists, and applied behavior analysts. For these professionals, the Department of Education defers the specifics of qualification to other boards, such as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BCBA), and other state licensing boards, like the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine.

Developing Expertise at Arcadia Can Give a Boost to Certain Specialized Certification Requirements

Arcadia’s online degree and certificate programs lean into preparing you for those other specialized roles. In other cases, they simply offer educators additional specialist expertise in a certain focus area, even where no formal certification is required.

The school’s Online Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis is a flagship concentration in the M.Ed. program. The degree is tailored to the BCBA’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BACB) licensing exam, the gold standard in ABA credentials.

That means coursework in the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) that hits subjects such as:

  • Experimental Research and Design
  • Functional Behavior Assessments
  • Behavior Analysis and Principles of Development
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct

It also comes with 2,000 practicum hours that offer you a chance to put that training into practice.

The Online Master of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis gives you the skills to work with both kids and adults with developmental disorders, cognitive delays, autism spectrum disorder, and other behavioral challenges.

The fact that the program is rooted in education gives you coursework that is very much geared to the application of behavior analysis in public schools. That means additional coursework in special education law, teaching methods for students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and school wide support systems for behavior management.

Although the M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis doesn’t go directly toward any particular Pennsylvania Department of Education license or endorsement, the very fact that it is a master’s degree in education can count toward several different licenses that require an advanced degree. With a quick certificate program that covers the necessary EPP (Educator Preparation Program) coursework, it’s a short step to new credentials for Pennsylvania teaching or administration positions.

When You Already Have a Master’s Degree, Arcadia’s Graduate Certificates Can Qualify You for Certification Faster and at a Lower Cost

Many people in education have already climbed the ladder to graduate-level studies in the normal course of their career. Although you always have the option to go back and get a full master’s degree in another field, you may also just need a little additional training to bring your skills in line with license requirements.

Arcadia’s online Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis takes all the required components of study for achieving licensure as a behavior analyst and drops them into a one-year program that can fast-track your career path to a BCBA.

While the ABA coursework is like that found in the M.Ed. in ABA, as a graduate certificate this program is designed for individuals who already hold a master’s degree.

On the other hand, credits from the certificate are transferable to the M.Ed. ABA concentration, so if you decide to go further and pursue an additional master’s in the field, you will already have the foundations in place.

Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst isn’t always the right or a necessary choice for educators working with special needs students. The tidal wave of ASD diagnoses that have come to American schools allows more specialization with a less broad-spectrum approach to behavioral management.

So earning a Graduate Certificate in Autism at Arcadia might be a better choice for many teachers or school administrators. With approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education as an Autism Endorsement for addition to your current teaching certification, it’s a twelve-to-eighteen month fast-track to a better understanding of the challenges of ASD-diagnosed learners.

That includes learning about:

  • The social, language, and sensory characteristics of kids with ASD
  • Factors impacting their success at school and at home
  • Research-based teaching strategies for ASD students
  • Basic behavioral analysis skill training

Another area where certificate studies are useful is in early childhood education. As a field where learning, nutrition, and general welfare all intersect in affecting growth and development, it’s a sensitive field that educators often need extra preparation to excel in.

So the Arcadia Graduate Certificate in Infant Toddler Mental Health can give you a unique edge in PreK education and assessment. Exploring the unusual and hard-to-navigate field of infant and toddler mental health, the program gives you tools like:

  • A broad understanding of the developmental needs of very young children
  • Training in conducting mental health assessments for infants and toddlers
  • Skills to develop strategies for fostering better social and emotional health in young children
  • Training in discussing sensitive mental health issues with parents and caregivers

At a university that has a uniquely diverse and inclusionary history, it may only be natural that you find programs that fall outside the usual boxes in teacher preparation. But as an educator preparing to help the most marginalized and in-need student populations, Arcadia offers you some of the best training in Pennsylvania.