Special Education, Graduate Endorsement (Early Intervention Specialist)

Graduate Endorsement in Special Education with a Specialization in Early Intervention Specialist (Birth to K)

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Fully Online
  • 30
  • $357.00
  • $750.00

Program Overview

The online Early Intervention Specialist (Birth-K), Graduate Endorsement program is designed to prepare the special educator as a consultant or coach to children under the age of five and their families in homes, childcare, preschool and public school programs. 

Students choose the Special Education, Early Intervention Specialists (Birth-K), Graduate Endorsement because they:

  • Receive specialized training in supporting children under five and their families through individualized supervision. 
  • Learn how to coach and support families in the home. 
  • Gain knowledge of how to design specialized instruction to support children and families in the natural environment. 
  • Learn how to support the needs of children with challenging behaviors, autism and developmental disabilities/delays. 

The early intervention specialist is an endorsement from the Nebraska Department of Education that can be met through the early childhood special education graduate certificate or master's degree program. It is not a degree or graduate certificate option by itself.

This add-on endorsement is for the candidate who currently holds a valid teaching certificate in special education (K-6 or K-12). 

Note: The early childhood special education (ECSE) endorsement from the Nebraska Department of Education can be met through the ECSE graduate certificate or master's degree program. It is not a degree or graduate certificate option by itself.

Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for Special Education Teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions. Graduates of this program will be able to apply for teaching positions as a preschool classroom teacher for children with and without disabilities or as a special educator in itinerant consultant or coach roles in homes, community childcare, preschool or public school programs. 

More about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders:

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs, their families, schools, and communities. 

The vision is that every individual with special needs will:

  • Achieve maximum potential for learning.
  • Communicate autonomously.
  • Enjoy optimum health and well-being throughout the lifespan.

Students have the ability to choose to:   

  • Take one or a few classes of interest
  • Pursue the teaching endorsement or graduate certificate
  • Complete a graduate degree.

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A license/certificate required

    Teaching certificate in K-6 Special Education

  2. Official transcripts from all previous schools

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) KY contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (select either 'Degree: Special Education, Specialization Early Childhood Special Education' or 'Non-Degree, Graduate Certificate Objective in Early Childhood Special Education' and indicate in the comments section you are interested in seeking the Early Intervention Specialist endorsement)
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  • Apply and be admitted to the department

Courses You’ll Take

Course Information

In addition to the required courses listed here, students take one early childhood development elective for three credit hours.

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SPED 862Preschool Children with Disabilities in the Classroom3
Prereqs: An assessment and behavior management course; and permission. SPED *862 requires an applied experience. Selection, design and implementation of developmentally appropriate, activity-based interventions for preschool-age children with disabilities. Ecological assessments. Instructional factors, such as classroom environments, activity planning, selection, use and modification of strategies, home-school communications, and consulting to staff in inclusive settings.
SPED 876Language Development for Teachers3
Introduction to the foundations of normal speech and language development and potential difficulties in both early stages and in the classroom. Analysis of child language samples. Strategies for explaining language development to parents and professional colleagues.
SPED 896QPracticum: Infants and Preschool Children with Disabilities3
SPED 863 (or SPED 882)Medically Fragile Infants3
Unique needs, family-coping strategies, specialized medical staff, and various health-care settings of chronically ill infants and toddlers. Overview of etiology, characteristics, and developmental implications of selected medical conditions related to developmental disabilities.
SPED 860Issues in Early Childhood Special Education3
Introduction to the history, philosophy, and research related to early intervention practices with children 0-5 years of age. Discussion of issues related to legal mandates, model programs, family involvement, integration, transitions, service delivery systems, teamwork and assessment for young children.
SPED 960Family and School Collaboration in Special Education3
Prereq: Professional experience or completion of one practicum and/or field experience with young children (birth to age 5) or other individuals ages 5 to 21 years who have disabilities. Functions and interactions of both family and education systems. Impact of having a child with a disability on the normal and stressed family system. Promote family-professional partnerships in assessment and intervention for the child and/or student with an IFSP/IEP. Communication skills are reviewed and practiced for effective teaming among educators and for interviewing, consulting, collaborating and coaching with family members and other community team members.
SPED 882Specialized Instruction for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities3
Prereq: SPED *881 for the Severely/Multihandicapped endorsement program or SPED *862 for Preschool Handicapped endorsement program; and permission. Majors in severe disabilities must parallel with SPED 896P (1 cr). SPED *882 requires observations in schools and applied assignments. Selection, design, and implementation of best practice instruction for students with severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, or deaf-blindness.
SPED 861 (or SPED 862)Infants with Disabilities and Home Visiting3
Prereq: SPED 960 and permission. SPED 861 requires a practicum in home visiting. Assessment and intervention strategies for developing appropriate early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Rationale and principles for conducting home-based, family-centered, and transdisciplinary services.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

About Faculty

University of Nebraska online courses are taught by expert faculty who embody the qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience. Students learn from faculty with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom are published researchers in their fields. NU faculty who teach online do so in a way that optimizes learning within the online modality and because technology enables students to access education they may otherwise may not be able to pursue.

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.