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Alternative Teacher Preparation

These programs are not currently accepting applicants. For information on program options, please contact:

For information on the Online Practical Teacher Training (OPTT) program in K-12 Mild/Moderate and K-12 Severe, please see  USU OPTT.

USU’s Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation offers three alternative teacher preparation (ATP) programs: Mild/Moderate, Severe, and Early Childhood Special Education. These programs offer courses required for licensure to work with students with mild/moderate in the greater Salt Lake City area,and severe disabilities or preschool-age children with disabilities in school districts throughout the state.

To be eligible for this program, participants must have a bachelor's degree (a teaching degree is NOT required) from an accredited college or university and be employed in an approved special education setting serving students with mild/moderate or severe disabilities, or in a preschool special education program.

Preparation includes academic coursework taken concurrently with supervised field-based experiences. Applications for Mild/Moderate and Severe are available in May for the following academic year.Early Childhood Special Education students may apply at any time throughout the academic year.

ATP Programs

Early Childhood

This licensure qualifies an individual to work with children with disabilities from birth to age five. These children may have disabilities in the areas of cognition, communication, motor, adaptive (self-help), and/or social/emotional. The emphasis in this program is to provide embedded instruction of children's learning goals when and where they are needed during typical classroom routines and activities.

Barbara J. Fiechtl, M.S., Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation,is the director of the Early Childhood Alternative Teacher Preparation Program.


This licensure qualifies individuals to work with students with mild to moderate disabilities. These students may have mild cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, or other disabilities requiring special education. The emphasis in the Mild/Moderate program is on identifying strategies and developing special education programs to address the educational demands needed for the student to meet the state core curriculum.

Mild/Moderate Coordinator:
Melanie Dawson Ph.D, Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, is the Coordinator of the Mild/Moderate Alternative Teacher Preparation Program.


This licensure qualifies individuals to work with students with severe disabilities in a functional skills classroom. This includes working with students who have low-incidence disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic and acquired brain injury, and multiple disabilities. Students in this program learn the following evidence based practices: creating daily schedules that maximizes instructional time for students, effective behavior management strategies, systematic reinforcement, individual and small group instruction, implementing an effective teaching cycle, assessment, and managing and supervising paraprofessionals.

Severe Coordinator:
Erin Horrocks Ph.D., Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, is the Coordinator of the Severe Alternative Teacher Preparation Program.