Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence
Teacher Certification

A major goal of the Exceptional Education Department at UWM is to prepare teachers with a commitment to the diverse group of students with disabilities who are served in schools and community settings. Our intent is to prepare teachers who are versed in both the practical and the visionary. Our certification program leads to a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) teaching license of Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence (MCEA) for ages 6-13.

The program is a post-baccalaureate program leading to the Wisconsin Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence Special Education certification. The program offers two options, depending on the student's educational background and experience:

1 Year (PDF): for individuals with prior teaching experience
2 Year (PDF): for individuals with a Bachelor's Degree NOT in Education
5th Year (PDF): collaborative program: for individuals applying from the UWM Department of Curriculum and Instruction MCEA Regular Education program

Can lead to a Master's Degree in Exceptional Education with certification in Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence Special Education or a master's degree with an individually designed program of study without certification.


The MCEA program is a cohort model program that begins in the summer. Individuals are encouraged to apply in the fall, or early in spring, for admission consideration. There are specific application deadlines which can be found on our Post-Baccalaureate Admissions page. The admissions page contains the program application packet, application deadlines, information session dates, and additional application information!


The Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification is a part of the UWM/MPS Internship Program. The UWM/MPS Special Education Internship Program is an innovative program that prepares teachers to provide special education services at the early childhood, middle, or high school level.

Special Education Dual Certificate Program (5th year)

In partnership with Department of Curriculum and Instruction, this 5th year program is geared toward undergraduates who are interested in becoming special educators. Upon successful completion of the regular education Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence program, students are admitted into the 5th year special education option. Many students receive their bachelor's degrees upon completion of UWM's collaborative regular education program. Many students complete the 5th year special education option as part of a master's degree program.

Redesign Initiatives Project

We are excited to work with many partners in redesigning elements of our program. Through a five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education (2011-16), we are working to ensure that our graduates experience a highly effective, alternative program that positions them to make a difference in the lives of their students. To learn more about the project initiatives, visit our Redesign Initiatives Project for Urban Special Education Teacher Preparation website.


Please contact us with any questions!

Exceptional Education
Advisor, Enderis Hall 610
E-Mail: exed@uwm.edu
Phone: 414-229-5251

Dr. Alison Ford
MCEA Faculty Coordinator
E-Mail: alison@uwm.edu