CEC Initial and Advanced Preparation Standards

Special Education Professional Preparation Standards

CEC professional preparation standards define the specialized expertise educators must master for the safe and effective practice of special education. These standards are used to inform preparation programs, accreditation organizations, and credentialing agencies. They answer the question, “What are the essential factors that candidates must demonstrate that they know and are able to do to begin their practice?” The professional preparation standards listed below were revised in 2012 and follow the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) guidelines for program standards. The standards contained in this book are used by special education preparation programs seeking national recognition from CEC through its partnership with CAEP.

For guidance in selecting the appropriate standards, please see the Standards for Initial and Advanced Special Educator Preparation Flowchart.

Initial Preparation Standards
Initial Preparation Standards with Elaborations (NCATE approved 2012)

Advanced Preparation Standards
Advanced Preparation Standards with Elaborations (NCATE approved 2012)

Initial and Advanced Specialty Sets

While the seven initial and advanced CEC Preparation Standards with the major elements describe the specialized knowledge and skill to practice safely and effectively at initial and advanced levels, CEC uses the specialized content, issues, vocabulary, interventions, settings, etc. of specialty sets to inform the CEC Preparation Standards. All special education preparation programs will use either the initial or advanced CEC Preparation Standards as informed by the appropriate specialty set.

Gifted Education Professional Preparation Standards

For over a decade the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the CEC Association for the Gifted (TAG) have worked collaboratively to develop standards for the preparation of gifted education professionals at the initial and advanced levels. In 2012, NAGC and CEC revised and re-ordered the Gifted Standards to align with new Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Guidelines for Standards.

The standards writing group decided to maintain the 7 standard and 28 element format and did not revise the previous Specialty Set of knowledge and skill items for gifted educators. However, throughout the entire process, NAGC and CEC were careful to ensure that the realigned standards contained all of the substantive knowledge and skills that are relevant to effective practice in gifted education and continued to emphasize diversity. (Johnsen, et al, in press). The following preparation standards were approved by CAEP in 2013 and are intended to be used for national recognition of all initial and advanced gifted education programs seeking national recognition through the CAEP and NAGC program review process. There is not an additional Specialty Set for gifted and talented educator preparation.

Initial Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals
Initial Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals with Elaborations

Advanced Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals
Advanced Preparation Standards for Gifted Education Professionals with Elaborations

Field Experience and Clinical Practice Standard

All initial preparation programs must demonstrate that they meet the Field Experiences and Clinical Practice Standard. To meet this standard, field and clinical experiences for special education teacher candidates progress through a series of developmentally sequenced field experiences for the full range of ages, types and levels of abilities, and collaborative opportunities that are appropriate to the license or roles for which they are preparing—and students are supervised by qualified professionals throughout these experiences.