Cross Categorical, Mild/Moderate Special Education (K-12)

In response to the state-wide shortage of Special Education teachers, Missouri State University developed an alternative/accelerated Masters Degree program which combines teacher certification in Cross-Categorical Special Education K-12 and a Master's in Special Education. This program received formal approval from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the fall of 2003, and was most recently re-approved in July 2017. The Special Education Alternative Certification Track (SEACT) of the special education master's program was designed for those who wish to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities while pursuing teacher certification and a corresponding graduate degree. Students who have been admitted into the SEACT program must be employed by a school district, teaching K-12 students with mild to moderate disabilities, by the second year of their program.  They must apply for, and maintain, a Provisional Teaching Certificate through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education completing certification coursework in accordance with the requirements of the provisional certificate and the graduate program of study.

Students who are admitted into the SEACT program can also serve as a paraeducator (i.e., teacher’s aide) for a minimum of 2 years while they are are completing the SEACT program. Any student who serves as a paraeducator must be working with K-12 students with mild to moderate disabilities and also meet the specific guidelines of the state of Missouri’s Teacher’s Aide Rule in order to receive credit for student teaching under this rule. Students utilizing this rule must submit proper documentation related to their paraeducator position in order to be approved to utilize the Teacher’s Aide Rule for student teaching. Clink here for information on the Teacher’s Aide Rule https://www.missouristate.edu/certification/teachaiderule.htm

Because this part-time certification program is usually completed by candidates who are working full-time, the certification program takes approximately three years to complete with additional coursework to support the research requirements of the graduate degree.  Candidates must complete a total of 54 credit hours for the combined initial certification and master's degree.  

The SEACT program is an accelerated masters program, and the coursework is challenging. Admission is based on a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 hours of professional coursework*), a letter of application, three letters of reference and evidence of ability to complete rigorous course work.

*Note: Those applicants who have at least a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 house of professional coursework must also have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA in order to meet the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s minimum cumulative GPA requirement for entry into a teacher certification program.

Students who apply will be considered on an individual basis for admission, and those who are not accepted into the SEACT program may choose to pursue the Post baccalaureate route to Special Education Certification. Students who are accepted into the SEACT program will follow a structured program sequence that will be developed by their assigned special education faculty advisor.

Based on the high program quality and evidence-based focus of the SEACT program, candidates have been readily employed to support the 2nd year provisional teaching certificate requirement. Expectations are high for candidates in the program; however, the competency-based coursework is highly structured with significant advisor and faculty support. The SEACT program contains a blend of on-site methods, lab coursework, online, arranged practicum, and condensed summer instructional format to support the alternative nature of the program and the demands on students who are teaching while completing a graduate degree.

Special Education Alternative Certification (SEACT) Program

Due to new state requirements (effective August 1, 2017) for cross-categorical mild/moderate K-12 certification, the SEACT program now includes 47 hours of courses for certification, with an additional 6 hours required to complete the Master's degree. All of the courses are offered in the evening and summers, allowing students to pursue their certification while teaching full-time on a Provisional Certificate (or while employed as a paraeducator working with students with disabilities under the Teacher's Aide Rule).  For a list of courses in the SEACT program, click here.

Who would choose the SEACT program route to certification?

  • Students who have a minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA (or a 3.00 GPA for the last 60 hours of courses taken and at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA)
  • Students who feel they can complete accelerated Master's Degree coursework
  • Students who want to earn a Master's Degree while also earning certification
  • Students who would like to take primarily evening and summer coursework.

How do I apply for the SEACT Program?

All applicants to the Special Education Alternative Certification Track (SEACT) program (K-12) must complete the following process to be admitted:

  1. Apply to the Graduate College at Missouri State. To apply online, click here (One set of Official transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate College)
  2. Submit a letter of application which describes why you wish to teach special education students, what skills and abilities you have that would make you a good teacher of students with disabilities, and why you believe you would be a good candidate academically for this combined certification and graduate program.
  3. Submit three letters of reference, one from a present or past employer, one from an instructor who can attest to the candidate's academic ability and likelihood of success in a graduate program, and one from a person who can speak to the candidate's ability to teach/interact with children/students. Three letters of reference are required, however, the type of letters are guidelines, not strict requirements. If you don't have a past instructor, employer, etc. please submit your best three letters of reference from legitimate sources.
  4. Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) is a required assessment of the state of Missouri’s Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). The MEP is an assessment of work style preferences used to support the development of effective educator work habits. This assessment is taken by all teacher, counselor and administrator candidates in a program leading to certification at a point prior to admission to the program. Please use this link to carefully read more information on this assessment and to register for the MEP http://www.missouristate.edu/certification/MEP.htm .
  5. If you are a Missouri resident and have not completed the Family Care and Safety Registry (FCSR) form, please do so by following this link http://education.missouristate.edu/services/efe/fcsr.htm and follow the “First Time Registration” instructions. Once you are registered for the Family Care and Safety Registry, please email Lisa Monkres at lmonkres@missouristate.edu notifying her this step has been completed. We will then run an FCSR background check on you. If you are a resident of another state, please complete an FBI background check following this link http://education.missouristate.edu/services/efe/FBI_background_check.htm . Please print the instructions prior to starting your registration information. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Monkres at 417-836-4206.
  6. Request a Transcript Analysis from the Department of Counseling, Leadership & Special Education at Missouri State University. To request your analysis, click here (one set of Official transcripts must be submitted to the Department of Counseling, Leadership & Special Education department).

Please contact Lisa Monkres in the Counseling, Leadership & Special Education office at 417-836-4206 if you have any questions.

All application materials should be submitted to:

Lisa Monkres, Admissions Coordinator
Department of Counseling, Leadership & Special Education
Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897

Application Deadlines

The Special Education Department reviews applications for graduate admission on a monthly basis. Prospective students who wish to be accepted for a particular semester should have a complete application file submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in order to allow time for transcripts to be reviewed and a committee meeting to be held.