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certification programs
in special education

Practicum Experiences

Students in ALL certification program options, whether for initial certification or additional endorsement, are required to complete a culminating practicum experience in the area of specialization and at the appropriate grade levels for a MINIMUM OF 16 WEEKS FULL DAY PLACEMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL(S) at the end of the program to meet program, state, and national standards for licensure as a special education teacher.

Placement Options

Practicum experiences are available through two placement options:

Students currently employed as a SPECIAL EDUCATOR engaged in direct instruction ofAT LEAST 3 STUDENTS ON IEP for special education services in the SAME are area of specialization and the SAME grade level in a PUBLIC preschool, elementary, or secondary school may meet some or all practicum requirements in their own work settings.

Those who are NOT employed as s special educator as explained above will be required to take a leave of absence and to locate a placement and cooperating professional in a local public school that meet practicum eligibility requirements.

Full time placements for K-6 program option must be in a state-approved PUBLICelementary school program: 8 weeks at the primary level (grades K-2) and 8 weeks at the intermediate level (grades 3-6). Full time placements for 5-Adult program option must be in two (2) qualified PUBLIC secondary school programs: 8 weeks in a middle school (grades 5-9) plus 8 weeks in a high school (grades 9-12). Full time placements for PreK-Adult or K-Adult program options must be in two (2) qualified PUBLIC school programs: 8 weeks in elementary school (grades K-6) and 8 weeks in a high school (grades 9-12).

Waiver of Practicum Requirements

ALL graduate certification programs in special education at WVU require students to complete a culminating practicum experience. Under NO circumstances are practicum requirements EVER waived. Because culminating practicum is the CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE in a certification program, it MUST be completed at WVU, so requests to complete practicum requirements through another school or university will NOT be approved.

NOTE: West Virginia currently permits those who already hold prior certification in SOMEother areas of special education to be exempt from the practicum requirement while obtaining an additional endorsement in Autism.

Eligibility for Practicum and Placements

Students must have completed ALL required courses and submitted passing scores onALL required Praxis tests to be eligible for culminating practicum.

Students are responsible for:

The cooperating professional provides on-site supervision, while the university supervisor provides online oversight.

The practicum involves many web-based activities and the required electronic professional portfolio is submitted online in WVU eCampus.

Practicum experiences in the program are offered ONLY during Fall and Spring academic semesters; they are NOT available during summer sessions.

Questions about the eligibility criteria or application process should be addressed to sped@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-7143.

Application for Practicum

Students must submit an application for the practicum option for which they would like to be approved along with supporting documentation during the semester PRIOR to the practicum placement. Applications are due one (1) semester in advance.

Application for On the Job Practicum—pending revision of requirements by state education agency

Application for Full Time Practicum—pending revision of requirements by state education agency

Completion of Practicum 

The maximum time to complete a degree program at WVU (including any transferred courses) is EIGHT (8) years. The maximum time to complete all required courses (including transfers from other institutions) is within EIGHT (8) years of the Culminating Practicum.

Because this is a capstone course, students who are unable to complete the Culminating Practicum course with a grade of A or B after two (2) attempts will not be eligible to earn teaching certification and/or the Master’s degree and must be withdrawn from the program.