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Top 11 Special Education Aide Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for special education aides and their benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for a special education aide are important in the job market because they demonstrate an individual’s level of expertise and knowledge in the field. Certifications indicate that an individual has met certain standards and criteria in their professional development, which employers use to determine if an applicant is qualified for a position. Additionally, certifications can provide access to special resources and opportunities that may not be available to those without such credentials. For example, some certifications may lead to higher pay or eligibility for additional training programs. Ultimately, having certifications can help special education aides stand out from other applicants and give them a competitive edge when seeking employment.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Special Education Aides and explain how they can help advance a special education aide's career.

What are Special Education Aide Certifications?

Special education aide certification is a certification program that provides specialized training to individuals who wish to work as aides in special education classrooms. The certification program focuses on teaching students with disabilities or learning difficulties, and covers topics such as classroom management, behavior modification, assessment, and instructional strategies. It also emphasizes the importance of creating an inclusive classroom environment for all students.

By obtaining special education aide certification, individuals can gain the skills and knowledge necessary to work effectively in special education classrooms. This can be extremely beneficial for those who wish to pursue a career in special education, as these skills are highly sought after by employers. Furthermore, those who obtain this certification are better prepared to understand the individual needs of their students and provide appropriate support. This can lead to more successful outcomes for both the student and the educator. Finally, having this certification may also open up more job opportunities in the field of special education.

Pro Tip: When pursuing special education aide certification, make sure to research your state’s specific requirements for certification. Many states have requirements such as passing an exam or completing a training program in order to become certified. Knowing the exact requirements for your state can save you time and money in the long run.

Related: What does a Special Education Aide do?

Top 11 Special Education Aide Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Special Education Aides today.

1. Special Education Aide Certification from the Council for Exceptional Children

Special Education Aide Certification from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in working with students with special needs. The certification is valid for five years and is renewable through continuing education.

To become certified, applicants must meet the following requirements:

1. Have earned a high school diploma or equivalent.

2. Have at least two years of experience as a special education aide or related field (such as early childhood education).

3. Have completed an approved course of study in special education topics, including instruction for students with disabilities, classroom management, assessment and evaluation, and communication strategies.

4. Pass the CEC Special Education Aide Certification Exam.

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as instructional strategies, behavior management techniques, assessment procedures, and communication strategies for working with students with disabilities. The exam can be taken online or in person at approved testing centers around the country. The cost of the exam is $135 USD plus any applicable taxes or fees associated with taking the test at an approved testing center.

Once applicants have passed the exam they will receive their official CEC Special Education Aide Certification certificate and digital badge that can be shared on social media profiles or resumes to demonstrate their credentials to employers and colleagues.

2. Special Education Aide Certification from the National Association of Special Education Teachers

Special Education Aide Certification from the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in working with students with disabilities. The certification is intended to provide a standard of excellence for special education aides, and to ensure that those who work in this field have the necessary qualifications and experience.

The certification process involves completing an online application, submitting official transcripts, providing proof of completion of at least 15 hours of professional development courses related to special education, and passing a comprehensive exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as special education laws, instructional strategies, classroom management techniques, and communication with parents/guardians.

The entire process typically takes about six months to complete. After submitting the application and all required documents, applicants can expect to receive their results within four weeks.

The cost for the Special Education Aide Certification from NASET is $150 USD. This fee covers the cost of the application processing fee, the exam fee, and any additional materials needed for completing the certification process.

3. Special Education Aide Certificate from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is a professional certification for individuals who provide direct support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The certificate is designed to recognize those who have achieved a high level of knowledge, skills, and abilities in providing services to people with ID/DD.

The AAIDD Special Education Aide Certificate Program requires the successful completion of an online course that covers topics such as communication, behavior management, health and safety, and advocacy. The course takes approximately 25 hours to complete and must be completed within six months of enrollment. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive their certificate.

The cost of the AAIDD Special Education Aide Certificate Program is $299 USD. This includes access to the online course materials, as well as access to technical support if needed.

4. Special Education Aide Certificate from the National Center for Learning Disabilities

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is a professional development program designed to prepare individuals to work as paraprofessionals in special education settings. The program provides an online course of study covering topics such as understanding learning disabilities, behavior management, and working with students with disabilities. It also includes a practicum experience in which participants gain hands-on experience working with students in a special education setting.

The Special Education Aide Certificate program consists of 10 modules and takes approximately 15 hours to complete. Each module includes activities, quizzes, and other resources to help participants learn the material. Upon successful completion of the program, participants receive a certificate from NCLD recognizing their achievement.

To get the Special Education Aide Certificate, individuals must first register for the program on the NCLD website. The cost of registration is $75 and covers all materials needed for the course. After registering, participants can access all course materials online and complete them at their own pace. Once they have completed all 10 modules and passed all assessments, they will receive their certificate from NCLD via email.

5. Special Education Aide Certificate from the International Dyslexia Association

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is a professional development program for educators and paraprofessionals who work with students with dyslexia. The certificate provides an in-depth understanding of dyslexia, its characteristics, and evidence-based strategies to support students’ learning.

The program consists of two components: an online course and a practicum. The online course is offered through the IDA’s Learning Management System (LMS). It takes approximately 15 hours to complete. Topics include an introduction to dyslexia, assessment and diagnosis, instructional strategies, literacy instruction, and accommodations and modifications. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate of completion from the IDA.

The practicum is designed to provide hands-on experience working with students with dyslexia in a school setting. Participants must complete at least 20 hours of supervised fieldwork under the guidance of an IDA-certified instructor or mentor. During this time, participants will observe classroom instruction and practice using evidence-based strategies to support student learning. Upon successful completion of both components, participants will receive their Special Education Aide Certificate from the IDA.

The cost for the program varies depending on whether you are a member or nonmember of the IDA. For members, it costs $250; for nonmembers it costs $350.

6. Special Education Aide Certificate from the Autism Society of America

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the Autism Society of America (ASA) is a certification program designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively support students with autism in educational settings. The certificate program is offered online and takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete. It consists of five modules that cover topics such as understanding autism, behavior management, communication strategies, and classroom supports.

To get the Special Education Aide Certificate from the Autism Society of America, individuals must first register for an account on the ASA website. Once registered, they can then purchase access to the certificate program for $95. After completing all five modules, participants will receive their certificate upon successful completion of a final exam.

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the Autism Society of America provides individuals with an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills that can be used to better support students with autism in educational settings.

7. Special Education Aide Certificate from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Education Aide Certificate is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a level of proficiency in assisting individuals with special needs. The certificate is intended for those who are already working in the field of special education, or those who are interested in entering the field.

The ASHA Special Education Aide Certificate requires successful completion of a comprehensive online course and passing an exam. The course covers topics such as understanding the roles and responsibilities of a special education aide, strategies for working with students with disabilities, and communication techniques. The course is self-paced and can be completed within two to three months depending on the student's schedule.

To get the ASHA Special Education Aide Certificate, you must first register for the online course. After completing the course, you will need to take and pass an exam administered by ASHA. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certificate from ASHA.

The cost for taking the online course and taking the exam varies depending on whether or not you are an ASHA member. For non-members, it costs $250 for both the course and exam; for members, it costs $200.

8. Special Education Aide Certificate from the Learning Disabilities Association of America

The Special Education Aide Certificate from the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have completed a training program to become qualified as special education aides. This certificate is designed to help those working with students with learning disabilities and other disabilities in educational settings.

The LDA's Special Education Aide Certificate requires completion of an approved training program, which typically takes between six months and two years to complete. The program includes instruction in topics such as classroom management, communication strategies, behavior management, instructional strategies, and legal issues in special education. Upon successful completion of the program, individuals are eligible to receive the certificate.

To get the certificate, applicants must submit proof of their completion of an approved training program. They must also pass a written exam administered by the LDA and submit a fee for processing their application. The fee varies depending on the type of application submitted; however, it usually ranges from $50 - $150 USD.

Once all requirements are met and the application is processed, applicants will receive their Special Education Aide Certificate from the LDA. This certificate serves as recognition for their knowledge and experience in working with students with learning disabilities or other disabilities in educational settings.

9. Special Education Aide Certificate from The Arc of the United States

The Special Education Aide Certificate from The Arc of the United States is a certification program designed to help individuals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to work as an aide in special education classrooms. The program consists of three courses: Introduction to Special Education, Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies, and Working with Students with Disabilities. Each course is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of working in special education settings.

The program takes approximately six months to complete, depending on the individual’s availability and ability to keep up with coursework. To get started, individuals must first register for the program through The Arc's website. Once registered, they will be provided access to online course materials and resources that can be used at their own pace.

The cost of the Special Education Aide Certificate from The Arc of the United States is $399 per person. This fee covers all three courses, as well as any additional materials or resources needed for successful completion of the program.

10. Special Education Aide Certificate from The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders

The Special Education Aide Certificate from The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD) is an online certificate program designed to help special education aides gain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective support for students with behavioral disorders. The certificate program consists of six modules covering topics such as understanding behavior, communication strategies, classroom management, and working with families. Each module includes interactive activities, quizzes, and a final assessment.

It typically takes about two months to complete the program. Participants must complete all six modules and pass the final assessment in order to receive the certificate.

In order to get the certificate, participants must register on the CCBD website and pay a fee of $175 USD. After registering, they will be given access to the course materials and can begin completing each module at their own pace.

Upon successful completion of all six modules and passing the final assessment, participants will receive their certificate via email within seven business days.

11. Special Education Aide Certificate from The National Down Syndrome Society

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Special Education Aide Certificate is a program designed to provide caregivers with the knowledge and skills needed to support individuals with Down syndrome in educational settings. The certificate program provides an overview of the educational needs of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as strategies for helping them succeed in school.

The NDSS Special Education Aide Certificate consists of six online courses, each lasting approximately three hours. Topics include understanding the unique learning needs of individuals with Down syndrome, effective communication techniques, behavior management strategies, and more. Upon completion of all six courses, participants will receive a certificate from NDSS verifying their successful completion of the program.

To get the NDSS Special Education Aide Certificate, interested individuals must first register for the program on the NDSS website. Once registered, participants will be given access to all six courses and can complete them at their own pace.

The cost for the NDSS Special Education Aide Certificate is $149.00 USD per person.

Do You Really Need a Special Education Aide Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual's specific situation. If you are planning to pursue a career in special education, then obtaining a certificate in special education aide may be beneficial. A certificate can help demonstrate your knowledge and skills related to working with children who have special needs. It can also show employers that you are committed to providing the best possible care for these students.

However, if you do not plan on pursuing a career in special education, then it is likely not necessary for you to obtain a certificate in special education aide. In some cases, employers may prefer or require that their employees have a certificate, but this is not always the case. It is important to research any potential job requirements before applying for positions related to special education so that you know what qualifications might be expected of you.

In conclusion, whether or not someone needs a Special Education Aide Certificate really depends on their individual goals and circumstances. If they are looking to pursue a career in special education, then obtaining such certification could be beneficial; however, if they do not plan to pursue such a career path, then it may not be necessary.

Related: Special Education Aide Resume Examples

FAQs About Special Education Aide Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become a special education aide?

A: Generally, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an approved training program. Depending on the state in which you are working, additional certifications may also be required.

2. How do I become certified as a special education aide?

A: To become certified as a special education aide, you will need to complete an approved training program and pass an exam administered by your state’s department of education.

3. Do I need to renew my special education aide certification?

A: Yes, most states require that special education aides renew their certification every few years in order to remain current with best practices and standards of care.

4. How much does it cost to become certified as a special education aide?

A: The cost of becoming certified as a special education aide may vary depending on the state in which you are seeking certification and the type of program you choose to participate in. Generally, fees range from $100 - $500.

5. Is there financial assistance available for those pursuing certification as a special education aide?

A: Yes, some states offer financial assistance for those seeking certification as a special education aide through grants or scholarships for low-income individuals or those who demonstrate academic excellence in their studies related to the field of special education.