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ATP Mild Moderate

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.

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.

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 disabilities.

Preparation includes academic coursework taken concurrently with supervised field-based experiences.


Frequently Asked Questions:


  1. What is the M/M ATP Program?
    Utah State University (USU)’s M/M ATP Program is a collaborative partnership among USU, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), and approved participating districts/charter schools across the Wasatch Front. The goal is to produce competent special educators who are eligible for licensure. The M/M ATP program differs from traditional programs because participants MUST have a bachelor’s degree and secure employment in a part-time or full-time special education teaching position. Participants in the M/M ATP program complete their USU coursework and fulfill the duties of their teaching position concurrently.

    Please Note: Individuals in paraeducator or general education positions are not eligible for the M/M ATP program. They must be placed in a part-time or full-time special education teaching position for the duration of the M/M ATP program.
  1. What is meant by “Mild/Moderate” licensure?
    Teachers in a mild/moderate special education setting teach students who may have learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders, mild cognitive impairments, or other disabilities which are mild to moderate in severity. The emphasis in a mild/moderate program is on providing instructional and behavioral services to meet individualized goals and provide access to the core curriculum for students in grades K-12.

    If you are interested in a severe disabilities or early childhood special education teaching license, please contact the program coordinators listed below:
    Severe ATP: Erin Horrocks (
    Early Childhood ATP: Barbara Fiechtl (
  1. How is M/M ATP different from other alternative paths to licensure?
    Currently, there are a few non-traditional options for earning a mild/moderate license in the state of Utah.  In addition to USU’s M/M ATP program, the USBE offers an Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) program and Weber State University offers the PRIME program. Please see the websites below for specific information about these programs. Also, be sure to check with your district or charter school special education director, as they may have a preference or requirement for which teacher preparation program you complete.

    Please Note: The M/M ATP program is not to be confused with the Academic Pathway to Teaching (APT). APT is available for general educators, not special educators, as explained on the USBE website:



  1. How long is the M/M ATP program?
    The M/M ATP coursework is designed to be completed in 1 ½ years. During the first year in the program, mandatory classes and trainings are held from late July until the end of June. During the second year, classes resume in August and end in mid-December.  After successful completion of all coursework, participants must pass an approved PRAXIS exam and are then eligible to apply for licensure with the USBE. 
  1. How are the M/M ATP courses sequenced?
    Courses in the M/M ATP program are designed to be taken in a specific order and build in complexity from one semester to the next. Therefore, classes are completed as a cohort in a specific sequence. Please see the M/M ATP Course Sequence for details.  
  1. Where are M/M ATP classes held?
    The Mild/Moderate ATP courses are offered face-to-face at the USU Salt Lake Center (920 West Levoy Drive in Taylorsville, Utah).
  1. When are classes held?
    Classes are held each week on Monday and Wednesday afternoons/evenings. Content classes are scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Once a week, individuals stay until about 9:10 p.m. for a teaching lab. (The M/M ATP instructors do their best to schedule lab based on participants’ personal preference for which night they stay late). 
  1. What is Running Start?
    Running Start is a mandatory 1-week summer training prior to starting the M/M ATP program. It is typically held the middle or end of July at the USU Salt Lake Center. Individuals who secure a special education teaching position after July, will be required to attend a make-up course in mid-September. Once this course has begun, no new individuals will be admitted to the M/M ATP program. 
  1. What is the approximate cost of the program?
    Exact costs vary year to year based on a number of factors, but the approximate cost for the entire program is $11,000-$12,000 for tuition and books.
  1. Is financial aid available?
    Yes, in most circumstances. Once you are in the M/M ATP program and have been officially admitted to USU, you may apply for financial aid. Our M/M ATP staff will provide guidance on starting this process, but you are responsible for completing all necessary paperwork
  1. Am I eligible for Federal Loan Forgiveness?
    Full-time special education teachers who complete 5 consecutive academic years of service and teach in a low-income school or educational agency, may be eligible for up to $17,000 of loan forgiveness. Please see the directory of eligible schools at:

    You may also visit the following websites to answer specific questions about loan forgiveness:
  1. How do I apply for the M/M ATP program?
    Please see the information in the Admissions section


Individuals interested in the M/M ATP program must follow the steps outlined below to be admitted (in order):

  1. Interview with local districts/charters and secure a special education position
    Once you are officially hired for a special education teaching position, a representative from the hiring district or charter school must email Dr. Melanie Dawson at to verify your employment and request the screening exams.
  1. Pass math and writing screening exams
    Exams will be provided by USU, but must be proctored by the hiring district or charter school. Please be in touch with the district or charter special education department to arrange these exams.

Math Screening:
The math screening tests your knowledge of basic math concepts up to a 6th grade level. There are approximately 60 questions. Please study the material at the following link, prior to taking the test: Additional study materials can be found at:
Passing Score: 90% or higher 

Writing Screening:
The writing screening assesses your ability to clearly write a 2-3 page essay. Writing samples are scored based on development, organization, clarity, and general mechanics (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting).
Passing Score: A score of 3 or higher out of 4 possible, based on a rubric   

Please Note:
Candidates have two attempts to pass each exam. If an additional attempt is needed, the candidate must write an appeal for a third attempt, and Dr. Melanie Dawson will present it to USU’s undergraduate committee for approval. If approved, the candidate will be given a third and final attempt to pass the screening test. Only those who pass both exams will be admitted into the program.

  1. Apply for USU Admissions and apply to the Mild/Moderate ATP program
    Details about the application procedures for USU Admissions for the Mild/Moderate ATP program will be provided by Dr. Melanie Dawson once she has verified special education employment in an approved participating district or charter school and passing scores on both screenings.


The USU Mild/Moderate ATP Program is made possible throughIDEA funds provided by the Utah State Board of Education

Mild/Moderate Alternative Teacher Preparation Program
Course Sequence

SPED 5300: Orientation to Teaching Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities
(2 CREDITS) Melanie Dawson

SPED 5310: Teaching Reading & Language Arts for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities  
(3 CREDITS) Ginny Eggen

SPED 5350:  Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Educators I: Alternative Preparation
 (3 CREDITS) Melanie Dawson

SPED 5430:   Field-Based Applications For Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities I
(2 CREDITS) Melanie Dawson

SPED 5570:  Instructional Skills and Behavior Management Lab I
(2 credits) Melanie Dawson, Lacia Ashton, Brooke Marsh, Natalie Thompson

Total: 12 Credits

SPED 5325: Teaching Content Areas & Math for Students with Mild/Moderate disabilities

(3 credits) Ginny Eggen

SPED 5360: Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Educators II: Alternative Preparation
(3 credits) Melanie Dawson

SPED 5440:   Field-Based Applications For Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities II
(2 CREDITS) Melanie Dawson

SPED 5580:  Instructional Skills and Behavior Management Lab II
(1 credit) Melanie Dawson, Lacia Ashton, Natalie Thompson

Total: 9 Credits
SPED 5560:  Improving School Systems Programs

(1 Conference CREDIT) Timothy Slocum

SPED 5790: Workshop in Transition to Adulthood for Secondary-Level Students with Mild/ Moderate Disabilities
(1 CREDIT) Jeff Sheen & tim Riesen

Total: 2 Credits
SPED 5330:  Eligibility Assessment for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities

(1 CREDIT) District/
Melanie Dawson

SPED 5070: Policies and Procedures in Special Education
(3 CREDITs) Steven Hirase

SPED 5530: Technology for Teaching Exceptional Learners
(2 CREDITs) Bradie Ormond

SPED 5230:  Student Teaching in Special Education: Alternative Teacher Preparation
(3 CREDITS) Melanie Dawson


Total: 9 Credits

USU Board of Education SealThe USU Mild/Moderate ATP Program is made possible through IDEA funds provided by the Utah State Board of Education 


Financial Aid:

Federal Student Aid

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
    • For Fall 2017/Spring 2018 complete the 2017-18 FAFSA and use your 2015 tax/wage information
    • You are considered a 5th year/other undergraduate student
  2. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) that Federal Student Aid will email you 3-5 days after you submit your FAFSA for any corrections you may need to make
  3. Check your email 2-3 days after you have received your SAR for an email from the USU Financial Aid Office. They will let you know your award amount or if you have any additional steps you may need to complete to be awarded
    • Please make sure your preferred email address is up to date on
  4. Students in this program are eligible for federal direct student loans only

Contact the USU Financial Aid Office for more information

For specific questions, please contact your Financial Aid Counselor:


Student’s Last Name

E-mail Address

Phone Number

Chelise Elwood



Sophara Tieng



Christina Ayres

F G Ha-Hi


Jennifer McGaughey

Hl-Hz I J K


Shannon Anderson

L Ma


Jacob Brazell

Mc-Mz N O


Amanda Alles



Brook Peacock



Cedra Jensen



USU scholarship and private scholarship information is available at Deadlines vary so pay attention to these.

Private Education Loan
If the federal student loans are not enough to cover your school-related expenses or you have excellent credit, you may want to apply for a private education loan/alternative loan

You can find out more information at

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