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Unlocking Your Path to Special Education: SNU’s Bootcamp Program!


Starting on a journey toward a career in Special Education can be both exciting and challenging. At Southern Nazarene University, in partnership with the Oklahoma State Dept of Education’s unique program, Special Education Bootcamp is designed to make this journey achievable and accessible.  Recently, we sat down with our Special Education Bootcamp team, including Program Director Dr. Lynette Thompson, to delve into the details and shed light on what makes this program stand out.

Dr. Lynette Thompson, Program Director, emphasizes: "Special Education Bootcamp is not just a course; it's a journey that equips aspiring educators with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in Special Education. Both the academic experience and practical experience provide a solid foundation for learners who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of students with special needs."

Q1: What is Special Education Bootcamp?

A: Special Education Bootcamp is an innovative program designed by OSDE to help meet the need for Special Education professionals in Oklahoma.  Offered at Southern Nazarene University, this program offers a direct pathway to a Special Education teaching certification from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). This 8-week course is designed for those with a bachelor's degree in any discipline, offering a pathway to obtain a provisional Special Education teaching certification.

Q2: How long is the Special Education Boot Camp at Southern Nazarene University?

A: The Boot Camp spans over 8 sessions, taking place once or twice per week. You'll be investing 4, 6, or 8 weeks to advance your career and education. During the summer months, we offer a 4-week, two-day-per-week option so that educators can complete their requirements more quickly while school is on break.  

Q3: How does SNU support participants in the Boot Camp?

A: At SNU, we understand the challenges of navigating the certification process. We provide assistance with placement for observation hours, a team of advisors, including an EdPlan Guru, to offer support, and experienced program directors and instructors to guide you through the program and through the certification process. 

LaToya J, a Bootcamp Student, shared her experience: "I learned a lot that has helped me in the field of special education. I now teach high school special education and apply the knowledge I gained from the boot camp program. A great program to jumpstart your career in the field of special education!"

Q4: What is the cost of enrolling in the Boot Camp, and can I use FAFSA to cover the expenses?

A: The cost for the Special Education Boot Camp is $600. While Boot Camp is not covered by FAFSA, we understand this is a financial commitment and offer several payment options to help make this program affordable to everyone.

Q5: Is the Boot Camp available for online participation?

A: While asynchronous participation is not an option, we offer a Zoom option for those who may find it challenging to attend in person.  These Zoom sessions must be attended live to complete the program.

Q6: What happens after completing the Boot Camp?

A: Once coursework and observation hours are completed and approved.  SNU will write a letter to the OSDE requesting they issue you a provisional certificate  You must submit an application and other items as required by the OSDE.  After all items have been sent in and approved, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will issue you a provisional special education teaching certificate. This certification opens the door for educators to begin working in Special Education while seeking their standard certification. Over the next three years, you'll need to complete 18 hours of Master's level SPED coursework and pass the OSAT and the PPAT to achieve standard certification.

Special Ed Career Trend Report

Q7: How does the 18-hour Master's level SPED coursework work?

A: The 18 hours align with our Master of Arts in Administration of Special Education degree program. Not only will these hours count towards your Masters, but if you enroll at SNU in 22 months, you could have the following: 

  • Masters in Special Ed Administration
  • Exempted from the OSAT in the Mild/Moderate Certification
  • If you take and pass your Principal's test, we will assist you with adding this to your certification. (with no further classes needed!)

This additional coursework is the next step in completing a standard certification after obtaining the provisional certificate through Boot Camp and does qualify for FAFSA.  Many of our students also qualify for the Teach Grant and/or Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Q8: When do the Boot Camp sessions start, and how can I fit them into my schedule?

A: We offer multiple start dates throughout the year, providing flexibility to suit your timeline. The sessions are conveniently scheduled for one night a week, every Tuesday evening, allowing you to balance your career, family, and education commitments. If you have a suggestion for a date/time we could offer Bootcamp, please let us know.

Q9: What can I expect from the Special Education Boot Camp curriculum?

A: The Boot Camp covers special education policies, legislative guidelines, research-based instructional/behavioral strategies, and more. With a 30-hour field component placement facilitated by SNU, you'll gain hands-on experience, enhancing your understanding of special education practices.

“I am grateful for the invaluable information and resources that Professor Furr has provided me over the past two months. As a novice in the field of special education, she went above and beyond in providing me with all the necessary information and preparing me to become a SPED teacher. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to her. Thank you!”

 - Min C., Bootcamp Student

Q10: How does SNU ensure a supportive learning environment during the Boot Camp?

A: Our Boot Camp courses are designed to allow you to focus on one 3 credit-hour course at a time, providing a concentrated and effective learning experience. You'll also have the opportunity to connect with other educators in similar stages of their careers, building your professional network and encouraging each other throughout this process.

Special Education Bootcamp at SNU is the first step towards a fulfilling career in Special Education! With a supportive learning environment, experienced instructors, and a curriculum designed for real-world application, this program sets the stage for success. Moreover, all Boot Camp coursework seamlessly applies to our Master of Arts in Administration of Special Education degree. Completing the graduate program in just 18 months after Boot Camp ensures ample time to achieve certification within the three-year period allotted by the state of Oklahoma. 

Ready to make a difference? Join us on this journey and kickstart your career with Special Education Bootcamp today.

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