New York Advanced Certificate in Special Education

Relay New York offers a one-year Advanced Certificate in Special Education program for experienced teachers who already hold general education certification. Upon completion of the program, you will receive an Advanced Certificate from Relay and be eligible for state certification in special education.

In addition to the Advanced Certificate in Special Education program, Relay New York also offers a dual-certification program through which teachers enrolled in the MAT program can earn their general education certification, master’s degree, and special education certification in two years. Visit the MAT program page to learn more about the dual-certification program.



Students may qualify for additional institutional aid and federal aid toward total out of pocket tuition expense. Payment Plans also available. Please contact Student Financial Services with any questions or for more information.

Available Majors

Childhood (SPED) (Grades 1-6)
Adolescent (SPED) (Grades 7-12)


The New York Advanced Certificate in Special Education is a 21 credit hour program. Relay’s academic calendar and program structure are conducive to and designed to support the demanding schedule of a full-time educator and a part-time student. We deliver about 40 percent of the program’s content online, so that teachers have flexibility to complete coursework when it is most convenient for their schedule.

In addition to online coursework, teachers will attend regular in-person sessions, including:

  • A two-week summer session at the beginning of the program;
  • Regular weeknight sessions;
  • Occasional Saturday sessions; and
  • Graduate students will also be required to work one-on-one with a student in their school one time every week.

Relay has three terms each year (summer, fall, and spring). 


In addition to the standard Special Education Certification admissions and certification requirements, participants in the New York Advanced Certificate in Special Education program must meet the following campus-specific admissions and certification requirements.


Applicants must provide an official, degree-conferred graduate transcript from an accredited institution of higher education that shows proof of a master's degree in a core content area of general education. Applicants who are currently enrolled in a master's program but have not yet graduated must submit a current transcript at the time of application. Relay cannot recommend a student for special education certification in New York without proof of a completed master's degree.


Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) immunization records and meningitis history (Upload MMR form and answer questions about your meningitis history to Relay GSE by October 1.);


An official proof of a higher-level (e.g., initial or professional) New York State certificate in general education is required. Applicants who have not yet been issued a higher-level certificate must hold Initial or Professional Certificate before New York State will issue the special education certification.


Applicants must adhere to New York State Education Department’s credit requirements for certification: 

  • All students must demonstrate a distribution of liberal arts requirements in order for Relay to recommend you to New York State for your certification. For Teachers in grades 7-12, this includes 6 credits in each of the following: English, Math, Science, and Social Sciences).
  • By November 1, Relay will review transcripts submitted with the application process and notify students of deficiencies they must satisfy before graduating.
    • Students with credit deficiencies should reference Relay’s credit guide (here and also available to enrolled students on the Course Platform), which contains resources for satisfying credit.
    • Students submit proof of earning credit outside of their Relay program to Relay to graduate.

Upon completion of the program, graduate students are qualified to apply for the New York State special education certificate that aligns with the program of their general education master's degree, the program that they complete at Relay, and the program area of their current initial or professional certificate.

  • Candidates with master’s degrees in early childhood or elementary education, or kindergarten through sixth grade, should complete the advanced certification program for grades one through six, which leads to New York state certification in special education for children in that grade range.
  • Candidates with master’s degrees in middle-level education, or fifth through ninth grade, or related content specialties — or those with generalist master’s degrees in education — may choose an advanced certification program for either grades one through six or seven through 12, depending on which best aligns with their current placements. The program they choose leads to New York State certification in special education for children in the corresponding grade range.
  • Candidates with master’s degrees in high school education or related content specialties should complete the advanced certification program for grades nine through 12, which leads to New York state certification in special education for children in grades 7-12.

For Relay to recommend a student for certification in New York State, the student must first complete the following requirements:

  • 50 hours of fieldwork: By successfully completing the coursework in this program, students will also complete this requirement.
  • Certification examinations:
    • Exam 1: Multi-Subject Content Specialty Test
      • Teachers in grades 1-6 will take Multi-Subject: Teachers of Childhood (Grade 1–Grade 6); OR
      • Teachers in grades 7-12 will take Multi-Subject: Secondary Teachers (Grade 7–Grade 12)
    • Exam 2: Students with Disabilities Content Specialty Test
  • Demonstrate sufficient distribution of background credits. 

Application Tips

Need help completing the admissions application? See below for helpful tips.

The first section of the online admissions application will ask questions about your intended Relay program. It’s very important that you answer those questions accurately, as follows:


Q. Select the option below that BEST describes your intended academic and certification pathway.

A.  New York: 1-Year SPED Advanced Certification (for those with a master's degree)

Q.  Which Relay campus would you like to apply to?

A. New York

Q. Are you applying to pursue state certification through Relay?

A. Yes

Q. Are you applying to Relay's Teaching Residency program?

A. No

Q. Which one of these teacher prep programs applies to your status for the 2020-21 school year?

A. None


Q. Select your major at Relay

A. New York: Advanced Cert. (SPED): Childhood (Grades 1-6)
OR New York Advanced Cert. (SPED): Adolescent (Grades 7-12)

Contact Information


Relay New York
25 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10004

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View the Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, posted in accordance with Title IX of The Higher Education Amendments of 1972 and New York State Education Amendment Education Law, Article 129-B. (The Bill of Rights is found on page 17).

View the Relay New York Advanced Certificate in Special Education Gainful Employment Program Disclosure, posted in accordance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (required disclosures for non-degree programs).