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Advanced Alternate Route Program for Special Education (AARC) is a program for certified teachers to earn a cross-endorsement in Comprehensive Special Education. 

AARC Benefits

  • Affordable tuition. 
  • Small cohorts and mentor support from current practitioners. 
  • Summer sessions, online learning, and Saturday classes allow candidates to complete the program and gain new skills while remaining employed. 
  • Job-embedded portfolio assignments. 
  • Opportunities to practice and apply competencies in educational settings. 
  • Builds the skills to affect the lives of students with disabilities positively.

Qualifications for Admission

  • Valid teaching certificate. 
  • A Master's degree encouraged, but not required. 
  • Three years of successful teaching experience in the past eight years (substitute teaching considered). 
  • Desire to teach students with disabilities as a special educator. 
  • Access to a computer and an e-mail address.

2021-2022 Class Information

Classes can be:

  • Virtual
  • In-classroom at CREC Central, Hartford,
    Rooms 101/102 (map)
  • or Hybrid, dependent on current circumstances.

Cohort meetings are held in locations arranged by your cohort mentor and may be held online or anywhere in the state based on logistics and feasibility of meeting locations. Districts and specialized cohorts and classes may meet at various locations.

Class Schedule

During the winter school months start dates are subject to change depending on inclement weather conditions.
The program is held in three phases:

Phase I

Starts Friday, June 25, 2021 and is held weekdays through July 7. There will be no class on July 5.
Additionally, candidates will complete 25 hours of clinical/field work experiences, 9 assignments, and attend a mentor and a cohort meeting.

See Full Class Schedule

June 25, 20218 – 2 p.m.
June 28, 20218 – 2
June 29, 20219 – 12
July 30, 20219 – 12
July 1, 20219 – 12
July 2, 20211 – 4
July 6, 20211 – 4
July 7, 20211 – 4

Phase II

Held from September 2021 until June 2022. Class meets for 8 hours on the 1st or 2nd Saturday of each month.
Additionally, quarterly evening sessions and some online class work sessions are required. Participants will need to complete 120 hours of clinical experiences (which can be flexible) throughout this phase and 30 portfolio assignments.

See Full Class Schedule

September 11, 20218 – 4 p.m.
October 2, 20218 – 4
November 6, 20218 – 4
December 4, 20218 – 4
January 8, 20228 – 4
February 5, 2022 8 – 4
March 5, 20228 – 4
April 2, 20228 – 4
May 7, 20228 – 4
June 4, 20228 – 4

Phase III

Will be held June 2022 – August 2022. This is comprised of 50 hours of clinical work along with 12 hours of classroom seminar.


Do I have to be certified to participate in this AARC?

Yes. An advanced ARC is one in which the applicant holds a valid current teaching certificate for 3 years or more in the state of CT. An example would be elementary education certification, or certification in a content area. If you have questions regarding the qualification of your certification, please contact us.

What certification would I be eligible for as an AARC candidate?

Special education K-12 endorsement number 165. It will be added on to your current certificate as a cross endorsement.

My certification has expired. Can I participate?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Your certification must be current and valid in the state of CT.

Is there financial aid available?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

I am certified K-8, but want to teach as a special education teacher at the high school level. Would I be able to do that with this cross endorsement?


Do I have to take the Praxis I or II?

You will have to take and pass the Praxis II in special education (#5543) in order to apply for this cross endorsement. The Praxis II can be taken at any time while you are enrolled in the program.

Do I have to take the Foundations of Reading?

Yes. You must take and pass the Foundations of Reading exam.

What qualifications do I need to apply to the AARC?

A Master’s degree is encouraged, but not required. You will also need at least 3 years professional teaching experience in the last 8 years.

Would substitute teaching count for the experience needed to be accepted into the program?

Yes, we would consider applicants with substitute teaching and tutoring experience. Candidates accepted under alternate conditions are subject to additional requirements. Contact us for more information.

Are there parameters for the clinical experiences?

Yes, you must complete some experiences at both the elementary and the secondary levels. Additionally, you must have opportunities to work in both inclusive and self-contained environments. Experiences must also include a total of 195 hours working with and exposure to students with a variety of disabilities.

How will a participant’s success be measured?

Participants will complete a series of assignments that will be collected and organized as a portfolio. Each assignment is aligned with a CT and Council for Exceptional Children National competency for special education teachers. By the end of the coursework, participants will demonstrate competency in each standard through portfolio evaluation. Additionally, participants will be measured on their clinical and field work experiences as evaluated by their mentor. Other requirements include: participating in classes; completing assignments; passing Praxis II, the Foundations of Reading exam, passing four summative assessments and completing a portfolio defense.

Who are the mentors?

All of the program instructors are current practitioners. Every participant is assigned to a cohort and a mentor. The mentor will meet with participants regularly during Phase II and the classroom portion of the program, as well as supervise field work and clinical placements. Additionally, the mentors will evaluate all portfolio submissions.

What is a cohort?

A cohort is a group of candidates assigned to work with a mentor in a 6:1 or smaller ratio. Outside of classroom time, candidates work with their mentors and cohort members to complete assignments. Groups may meet in person or virtually. Schoology© is also used as an online repository for classroom and cohort information exchange.

Where will the classes be held?

Classes are generally held in the Hartford area. Cohort meetings are held in locations arranged for by your cohort mentor and may be held anywhere in the state based on logistics and feasibility of meeting locations. Districts and specialized cohorts and classes may meet at various locations.

Where do I do my clinical and field work experiences?

You can complete your practicum at any number of sites across the state, including the school in which you currently work or in your district. Arrangements will be made with the AARC program director and your mentor. CREC and the other Regional Education Service Centers have a number of sites available for you to complete your experiences. You will have experiences working with students at the elementary and secondary levels. You will also work with a variety of disabilities and a continuum of service options.

What about credits towards a degree?

CREC does not award college credits or a degree for this program.

Can you help me find a job once I complete the program of studies?

CREC has many venues to help you locate job opportunities. You can visit our employment opportunities at; or work with your mentor to locate local and state-wide openings.

Contact Us

AARC Program


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111 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106   •  
(860) 247-CREC