Autism Endorsement Certificate

Offered BLENDED at King of Prussia Campus and FULLY ONLINE.

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About the Graduate Autism Endorsement Certificate

This 12-credit certificate has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) as an Autism Spectrum Disorders Endorsement Program. This credential can be earned by certified professionals who demonstrate knowledge in the area of teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and, will be added to existing teaching certifications upon PDE approval.

The Autism Endorsement Certificate is designed to develop and enhance effective educational practices to support K-12 educators, school districts, and community-based organizations in using best practices when working with individuals who have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The program is a four-graduate-course sequence that will provide students with coursework and 80 practicum hours. Students will acquire competencies to utilize current evidence-based practices, as well as information-seeking and professional skills to address the complex needs of individuals with ASD and their families. The program covers published information on research in ASD, behavioral principles, effective intervention strategies, and direct contact with individuals with autism.

  • Credit toward a graduate degree in Education: The 12 credits earned in this certification can be applied towards masters programs in Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education, or Counseling, with approval and advising from each individual program. 
  • Academic Policies: Students in Arcadia University Graduate Certificate programs are subject to the academic policies of the College of Graduate Studies. Grades of "B" or better in every class are required to qualify for the Certificate.
  • Transfer Credit: Transfer credit is not permitted in this program.
  • Coordinator: Dr. Adriana Gonzalez-Lopez

Admission to the Program

The following program-specific requirements must be met:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • An official transcript for each college or university attended.
  • A graduate admission application including personal statements, to be completed online.
  • Two letters of recommendation. The letters must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or fewer, the letters must come from a professor.
  • A background in education, psychology, communication disorders, or another related discipline is recommended.
  • State and federal clearances (required for practicum hours), which include criminal check, child abuse and FBI fingerprinting. 

Students can take a course before formal application and matriculation into the program, but they should apply for admission into the certificate program before taking a second course. Taking a course does not guarantee admission into the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am not an educator, can I still apply for the Arcadia Graduate Certificate program?
Yes, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree, you can qualify for admission to the Arcadia Graduate Certificate program.

Can I enroll in a course if I do not have a bachelor’s degree?
No, the courses offered in this certificate require a bachelor’s degree.

What is the cost of the program?
Courses are billed at the prevailing Arcadia University part-time graduate course rate.

How long will it take me to obtain the Graduate Certificate in ASD?
The program consists of four courses, and students usually take one or two courses a semester.

Are all four of the classes needed for the Graduate Certificate offered online?
Yes, all of the courses are offered online, and they also are offered in a hybrid format with a combination of in-person classes and online sessions at the King of Prussia Campus.

Required Courses

(12 credits)

The Graduate Certificate Program requires four (4) courses, for a total of 12 credits. All courses in this program include a 20-hour practicum, and students must present clearances before completing this requirement.

All courses are offered online and most courses are offered in a blended format at the King of Prussia Campus. Each course requires a 20-hour practicum.

  • ED 660 Characteristics of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (3 credits)
  • ED 661 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) I (3 credits)
  • ED 662 Teaching Methods for Students with ASD (3 credits)
  • ED 663 Special Topics in Autism (3 credits)

Course Hour Analysis for Pennsylvania Behavior Specialist License.


State and federal clearances, which include criminal check, child abuse and FBI fingerprinting, are necessary information can be found on the Education website at

Autism Spectrum Disorders Course Descriptions (ED)

ED 660 Characteristics of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (3 credits) This seminar provides students with introductory knowledge regarding individuals diagnosed with ASD. Topics addressed include characteristics of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders; considerations in school and home programming; family, community and legal issues; and life transitions.

ED 661 Applied Behavior Analysis I: Principles and Basic Teaching Strategies (3 credits) This seminar is designed to provide students with introductory knowledge of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Topics addressed include the history of ABA, principles of ABA, reinforcement, data collection, teaching procedures, teaching complex behaviors, generalization, and maintenance of skills. Readings, assignments, and participation in online coursework instructional activities offer an essential understanding of behavior analytic principles. Ethical considerations in the application of these principles are discussed. Challenging behaviors are studied from a learning perspective.

ED 662 Teaching Methods for Students with Autism (3 credits) This seminar provides students with knowledge of current research-based teaching strategies for students in the autism spectrum. Participants gain experience in assessing and planning meaningful learning goals, developing effective teaching plans, and evaluating student outcomes. Topics addressed include teaching complex behaviors, analyzing challenging behaviors, and collaborating with families. Prerequisite: ED 661

ED 663 Special Topics in Autism (3 credits) This seminar provides students with knowledge of relevant language, social, community and sensory characteristics of students in the autism spectrum. Participants examine assessment tools and intervention strategies to support students with autism. Other topics covered include family, sibling and emotional issues in relation to cultural context, as well as transition issues, “next environment” planning, and crisis management. Prerequisites: ED 660; ED 661 and admission to the program

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at

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School of Continuing Studies
King of Prussia Campus
1150 First Ave., Suite 700
King of Prussia, PA 19406