School of Education & Counseling

Autism Specialist Endorsement Certificate  Post-Master's Certificate

This Autism Specialist Endorsement certificate prepares educators with the skills to support children on the autism spectrum as well as their families.

15 Credits
Starts September 3, 2024


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teacher and student

Autism Specialist Endorsement Certificate Program Overview

The Autism Specialist Endorsement certificate provides educators in special education with a contextual and practical understanding of the autism spectrum and how to support families and schools while meeting the needs of students.

As a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) endorsement, this post-master's program recognizes specialized study in autism by individuals with an initial or professional license and two years of teaching experience.

The endorsement is not required for licensure or employment in schools.

This certificate program is taught through a mix of remote classes via Zoom and self-paced, online classes.

Autism Specialist Endorsement Certificate Program Highlights

The Autism Specialist Endorsement certificate is a four-course, post-master's program with a 150-hour field-based experience. As a student in this program, you'll benefit from:

  • Applied learning: You'll complete field experience working with children with autism in a Massachusetts public school, approved private special education school or educational collaborative.
  • Flexible, hybrid class schedules: The Autism Specialist Endorsement courses are taught via a mix of scheduled remote (Zoom) sessions and self-paced online sessions to give you flexibility in balancing your career and life responsibilities. Remote sessions are held on nights and weekends.
  • Experienced faculty: At Cambridge College, you’ll learn from and work with top faculty who bring extensive research and professional experience to the program.
  • Diverse experiences: Cambridge College welcomes more than 300 students from 50+ countries and was recently ranked as one of the Most Ethnically Diverse Colleges in America by Best College Reviews.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Autism Specialist Endorsement certificate are able to:

  • Meet the unique and complex educational needs of students on the autism spectrum
  • Assist public schools in including students on the autism spectrum in developing and implementing individualized education programs (IEP) and participating in regular education settings
  • Assist families of students on the autism spectrum to participate meaningfully in their children’s education

Autism Specialist Endorsement Certificate Tuition Information

Cost Per Credit
Total Program Tuition
Cost Per Credit$200
Credits* 15 credits
Total Program Tuition $3,000

*See curriculum sheet for a breakdown of credits and credit ranges.

Prospective graduate degree students for programs in the School of Education & Counseling must satisfy the following requirements plus any program-specific requirements your program may have.

  1. Complete and sign the online application.
  2. Pay the application fee. Pay your $50 ($100 for international students) application fee by the term start date.
  3. Send official transcripts. Maildirectly to Cambridge College in a sealed, unopened envelope. Learn How to Send Transcripts. Required degrees must be from accredited colleges or universities.
    • Master's and most graduate certificate programs require an earned bachelor's degree.
    • Post-master's certificates and CAGS require an earned master's degree.
    • International transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an approved agency. See all international student requirements
  4. Send your résumé and work experience. Send your resume that details your education and work experience, including how they pertain to your career goals. If your SEC program has a work experience requirement, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  5. Submit your personal statement. Write a 500-word, typed, double-spaced essay describing your professional experience, goals and objectives for graduate study. How do you expect your graduate studies to enhance your future career?
  6. Include two professional recommendations (not required for fully online programs). These should address your professional character and ability to perform graduate work. Download Applicant Recommendation Form
  7. Interview (required for some programs). If your program requires an interview, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  8. Satisfy Health Insurance & Immunization requirements. (Massachusetts only). These are required only for graduate students taking six or more credits per term in Massachusetts through on-campus or hybrid classes. Health insurance may be waived.

Teacher Licensure Program Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, our Teacher Licensure Programs have these additional requirements:

  1. Earned bachelor's degree with 3.0 or higher GPA.
  2. MA Educator Documentation from the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website. Keep copies of all documents submitted and, upon admission, post in your electronic portfolio:
    1. Massachusetts Educator Personnel ID (MEPID number)
    2. MTEL Communication & Literacy Test, successfully completed.

Required if completed:

  • Massachusetts preliminary license, if held
  • Sheltered English Instruction requirement
  • Fingerprinting and Criminal Offender Record Information

Applicants who do not initially meet all requirements (e.g. GPA of 3.0 or MTEL) for admission into their chosen licensure program must enroll in the corresponding non-licensure degree option. Students who achieve a 3.0 GPA upon completion of the first three SEC courses, pass the MTELs, and now meet all requirements, may request a change of program.

Disclosures: For all Licensure Programs

  • Licensure requirements are subject to change per Massachusetts regulations. All Cambridge College licensure programs are based on current regulations.
  • All candidates admitted for licensure programs must successfully complete the program in its entirety.
  • All requirements at the time of program completion must be finalized prior to seeking Massachusetts endorsement for licensure purposes.
  • If you have any licensure questions, please speak to your program chair.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

Candidates are expected to enter the program based on prerequisite criteria to ensure that they have the prerequisite skills to be effective in the licensure role:

Valid Massachusetts initial or professional license as: Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with severe Disabilities, Teacher of Visually Impaired, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

*Program credits: Other educators interested in participating in these courses are welcome, but will not receive the DESE endorsement unless they meet the requirements listed above.

Careers for Autism Specialists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts is among the top-paying states for special education teachers. A special education teacher in Massachusetts makes an annual mean salary of $85,410.*


Annual mean salary for Massachusetts special education teachers*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, 25-2059 Special Education Teachers, All Other, (visited December 21, 2023).

Autism Specialist Jobs

The Autism Specialist Endorsement indicates that you have acquired specialized knowledge and skills in assisting students on the autism spectrum. Some school districts may require teachers working with students on the autism spectrum to hold or be eligible for this endorsement.

Depending on your original certificate, you'll be prepared to work in special education in an elementary, middle or high school.