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Special Education Certification (SPARC)

Graduate Certificates

University of Maine at Farmington

Special Ed Alternate Route to Certification (SPARC)

School districts throughout Maine continue to cope with a severe shortage of special educators. The SPARC program is designed to help individuals and districts meet this challenge in effective and efficient ways: on-line courses taught by experienced special education faculty and professionals.

SPARC courses are open to all practicing special ed educators holding a baccalaureate degree. There is no need to apply for admission to UMF. 

Maine requires 24 credits of coursework for special education 282 certification. Leaders in the special education field have designed this SPARC program to address the specific skills and knowledge they believe a special educator needs to thrive and flourish. Interested individuals may take eight courses or only selected ones, depending on how many credits they need to reach the required 24 credits.  Interested candidates should also check with the Maine Department of Education Certification Office for additional requirements for Special Education 282 certification beyond coursework. Or click on Part II of Chapter 115 found at the following link to access Requirements for Specific Certificates and Endorsements for additional requirements.

There are twelve online graduate courses that are offered on a rotating schedule. Most courses are appropriate for Pre-K through grade 12 educators; all but SED 503 and SED 508 are also appropriate for Birth to School Age 5 teachers; modifications of assignments will be made based on the grade level each participant teaches.

The SPARC program’s foundation is rooted in one major principle: The credits need to be focused on specific sets of skills and bodies of knowledge.


SPARC courses are open to in-service educators, including those working in Birth to Age 5 intervention settings and Ed Techs holding a baccalaureate degree. Participants must have access to students with special needs in order to complete assignments for courses.

For more information, contact Program Coordinator:

Sandra MacArthur

Visit Program Webpage:

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