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Director of Special Education and Pupil Services (DSEPS)

If you’re passionate about special education and want to take the next step in your career, this online Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Certificate program will prepare you to be successful.

Key Program Information
Next Session Summer

*Application start date –THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022
*Application priority deadline when student’s file must be complete -- THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2023
*CBC order and completion deadline –WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2023
*Admitted student online orientation –WEDNESDAY, May 17, 2023 from 4:30 p.m.– 6 p.m.
*DSEPS courses begin –MONDAY, June 12, 2023 

Become a leader in Special Education

This 15-credit online certificate program is for individuals who are ready to step into the important leadership role as directors of special education and pupil services. The UW-Eau Claire DSEPS program has a long-standing reputation for excellence; our graduates are well prepared and ready to lead.

Throughout this year-long program, you will be challenged to think from a big picture, systemic point of view by licensed, experienced directors of special education and pupil services. After successful completion of the program, you will be ready to apply for the Wisconsin DPI License #80, and you will earn a UW-Eau Claire Graduate Certificate.

Course topics and approximate dates:

  • SPED 786.681 Systemic Leadership & Ethics (3 credits)
    • June 13 - July 8, 2023
  • SPED 787.681 Leadership in Special Education & Pupil Services (3 credits)
    • July 11 - August 5, 2023
  • SPED 782.681 Special Education Law (3 credits)
    • September 6 - October 21, 2023
  • SPED 788.681 Special Education & Pupil Services Budget and Finance (3 credits)
    • October 24 - December 16, 2023
  • SPED 789.681 Practicum: Leadership in Special Education & Pupil Services (3 credits)
    • January 30 - May 19, 2024

Why Should I Choose this Program?

  • Admitted candidates can complete the program in only one year.
  • All instructors are currently or were recently working as DSEPS in K-12 schools -- you'll learn from their practical experience.
  • All of the classes are online-asynchronous, except for the practicum experience.
  • With successful completion of the program, you'll be eligible to apply for Wisconsin DPI License # 80.
  • Earn a graduate certificate from UW-Eau Claire, transcribed on your permanent academic record.

Licensure Requirements:

(1) Master's degree. The applicant has a master's degree.

(2) Approved DSEPS program. 

(3) Professional education. Except as provided under ss. PI 34.071 and 34.072, the applicant meets one of the following requirements:

(A) The applicant holds or is eligible to hold a tier II, III, or IV teacher license in kindergarten through grade 12 (i.e., Special Education and Speech Language Pathologist license), or the applicant completed an approved program which leads to a license to teach in kindergarten through grade 12.

(B) The applicant holds or is eligible to hold a tier II, III, or IV license as a school counselor, a school psychologist, or a school social worker, or has completed an approved program which leads to one of these licenses.

(4) Experience. The applicant meets one of the following requirements:

(A) The applicant has 6 semesters of successful classroom experience teaching in any grade.

(B) The applicant has 6 semesters of successful experience as a school counselor, school psychologist, or a school social worker, and the applicant has at least *540 hours of successful classroom teaching experience.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

-Tuition is at the reduced rate of $475 per credit

-Federal financial aid is not available for this program, but some students have been able to obtain private educational loans or have been subsidized by their districts


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How to Apply for Admission to the DSEPS Program

Admission to the program is conditional until the candidate has passed a Criminal Background Check (CBC) with no concerns. The applicant is responsible for the cost of approximately $40 for the CBC. The CBC is required of all students admitted to the DPI licensure programs, even if the applicant has recently passed the CBC at their place of employment.

*Go to the UW-System E-App found here: UW System Admissions Application (

*Please note that to apply for the certificate, you will be applying as a master’s degree-seeker.  Much of the UW-System E-App will be self-explanatory and pertain directly to your personal/academic background.  However, guidance is provided for you on some questions (below) that might not be intuitive:




-WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? Select: UW-Eau Claire & Save/Continue

-CHOOSE YOUR PROGRAM Select: Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Graduate Certificate, Graduate

*When prompted to do so during your application, you will be required to write an essay.  Use the following prompt:

Please provide a statement of up to 600 words of personal intent describing your decision to pursue this Certification and what you believe you will bring to the Director of Special Education & Pupil Services role.

*Request official transcripts from the institution that conferred your undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Your transcripts should be sent electronically directly from the college/university through their secured vendor (i.e. National Student Clearinghouse, Credential Solutions, Docufide, Parchment, etc.) or mailed to this address:

Admissions Office
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Flesch Family Welcome Center
127 Roosevelt Ave
PO Box 4004
Eau Claire, WI  54702-4004

Email Admissions with questions at:

*When prompted to do so during your application, you will be required to upload your resume 

*Pay the required application fee, as instructed

Necessary Forms

*The 540 Verification Form documents the teaching of academic content to children with special needs. The form must be submitted when you turn in your other application materials. Examples may include providing academic interventions within the MTSS of their district or co-teaching.

*The Mentor Agreement Form must be submitted before the end of the first class.

Online Program Applicants: State of Residency

Wisconsin is a SARA state (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a SARA-approved institution. "The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state." ( Although CA and MA are not SARA-approved states at this time, UW-Eau Claire may currently accept students from these states as well.

Female teacher outside of classroom
Disability Accommodations

UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education encourages children and adults with disabilities or other special needs to participate in our programs whenever possible. If you require a reasonable accommodation, please notify us at least two weeks in advance of the program so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Contact Continuing Education at 715-836-3636 / toll-free 866-893-2423, or use the Wisconsin Relay System (711). All requests are kept confidential.

An EEO/Affirmative Action employer, University of Wisconsin provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and ADA requirements.

Cancellation Policy

Refund of credit fees due to withdrawal from class will follow the UW-Eau Claire refund policy. Please refer to Refund Policy. Contact UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education for assistance.

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Additional Information

Online registration opens September 1, 2022.

Application deadline is May 11, 2023.