Special Education
Associate Degree

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Why This Program

Pursue a career dedicated to educating young children and students with disabilities. At Northampton Community College, earn an A.A. degree in Special Education grounded in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive framework of teaching. The A.A. and Specialized Diploma are available online and at our Bethlehem and Pocono campuses, giving you flexible study options before you transfer to a 4-year institution to earn a bachelor’s degree.


What You'll Learn

You’ll gain hands-on experience, learn theories of family and disability perspectives, and build a philosophy of collaborative relationships as you advance through a program that emphasizes evidence-based practices and effective educational approaches. After graduation, you’ll be ready to continue your education or enter the workforce prepared in the competencies to be employed as a special education paraeduator in education settings.

Program Details

Semesters: 4

Credits: 62

College Catalog: View Curriculum

Program Map: Download PDF

Locations: Bethlehem | Fully Online

Program Overview:

The Associate Degree in Special Education is designed for students who wish to continue their education and earn their Bachelor’s Degree as a teacher with special education certification. Students completing the Associate Degree may also pursue employment as a special education paraeducator. Students in Northampton's special education degree program explore evidence-based theory and practices, including Universal Design for Learning, and gain understanding of family and disability perspectives through a lens of equity and collaborative relationships. Classroom experiential learning experiences are provided throughout the program.

Semesters: 2

Credits: 9

College Catalog: View Curriculum

Program Map: Download PDF

Locations: Bethlehem | Fully Online

Program Overview:

This in-person or online special education diploma introduces you to the knowledge and skills you’ll need as a paraeducator or to earn a bachelor’s degree with Pre-K–12th special education certification. You’ll complete 40+ hours of practical classroom experience along with three special education courses. The diploma is a beginning pathway to the special education A.A. degree or to transfer to a 4-year college or university.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that all students participating in field experience must provide Mandatory Student Paperwork.


Licensure requirements vary by state. If you live outside Pennsylvania or intend to complete an internship in another state, you should review your state board’s website to ensure that NCC’s program qualifies for licensure. If you participate in the program without proper authorization from your state’s professional licensing board, you could lose licensing eligibility. Contact the Program Director for more information.



Teacher certification requirements are established by State Departments of Education and vary by state. If you plan to teach outside of Pennsylvania, you should review the teacher certification requirements of the state where you intend to teach or work.


Tuition & Fees

Completing a degree in Special Education at Northampton Community College can drastically reduce the overall cost of your education. Our tuition and fees are some of the most affordable in the region. On top of the low upfront costs, you can also take advantage of NCC’s substantial financial aid and scholarship opportunities—we have one of the largest community college scholarship programs in Pennsylvania!

What Can You Do with an A.A. in Special Education?

Start your learning at NCC to save money and gain hands-on special education experience. Once you complete your A.A. in Special Education, you can transfer to a 4-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree and apply for teacher licensure. NCC graduates often complete their studies at East Stroudsburg University, Kutztown University, Bloomsburg University, DeSales University, and many other institutions.


Future Career Paths

Get excited about your future from your first day on campus! The hands-on experiences and fieldwork components of your NCC education will prepare you for a career as a special education paraeducator or for baccalaureate level education and special education teacher certification. With the necessary qualifications, you’ll be equipped to pursue highly sought-after careers like:

  • Special Education Teacher
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Early Intervention Specialist/Early Childhood Special Educator
  • Interpreter for the Hearing Impaired
  • Special Education Administrator

Student Spotlight

In high school I was chosen for a student internship in the Autistic Support Room, and I instantly knew I should pursue special education. I looked into education programs in the area, and a lot of really strong reviews were made for Education professors here at NCC.

Isabelle Duck, Alumna
Special Education

Isabelle Duck

Need Help Deciding?

Not sure if this is the right program for you? Take advantage of the resources we have available for students to help hone in on what path to pursue.

Connect with an Academic Advisor Contact a Career Counselor

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Next Steps

With 120+ high-quality programs at a highly affordable cost, you can build specialized skills to advance in your career path — fast. And with flexible class formats and convenient locations, it's never been easier to join us.