Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate for Healthcare Professionals

The post-graduate and post-credentialed online certification program in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will prepare the licensed healthcare professionals (including but not limited to occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, speech and language pathologists, nurses and dental practitioners) to work with clients diagnosed with ASD.

This certification program will provide students with current evidence-based practices, advanced knowledge in the area of ASD, and further their career in their respective fields.

Key Benefits and Highlights

  • Predominantly online; easy access to program
  • Coursework sequence can be completed at your own pace; allowing you to take as little as one and as many as 3 courses per semester.
  • Qualify to sit for the Autism Competency Exam to earn an Autism Certificate or become a Certified Autism Specialist through the International Board of Credentialing and continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).
  • According to EAB Strategic Research, the need for professionals evaluating and treating individuals diagnosed with ASD increased 74% in PA and 24% nationwide from July, 2013 to December, 2015.
  • Demand for evidence-based care for individuals diagnosed with ASD continues to grow.
  • Misericordia's location and relationships with the surrounding community allows for various opportunities for complimentary work experience while completing coursework if desired.

Apply online


This certificate program was approved to partner with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). Coursework was also designed to align with the 10 areas of competency outlined by the IBCCES for the Autism Competency Exam. The 10 areas of competency are as follows:

  1. Autism Overview
  2. Behavior Competency
  3. Communication Competency
  4. Social Skills Competency
  5. Environmental Competency
  6. Emotional Awareness & Bullying Competency
  7. Sensory Awareness Competency
  8. Program Development Competency
  9. Motor Skills Competency
  10. Medical & Health Considerations


The following courses (9 credits) are pre-requisites for the remaining 3 courses (9 credits) to complete the certificate. These courses may be taken in any sequence but must be completed prior to enrollment in the remaining 3 classes (9 credits) to complete the certificate.

HP 680 - Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Lifespan 3 credits
HP 681 - Basic Principles of Behavior3 credits
HP 682 - Medical & Health Issues Experiences Across
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
3 credits

The 3 courses (9 credits) listed below may be taken any time after the introductory pre-requisite courses are complete. Courses below may be taken in any sequence:

HP 683 - Program Development for Individuals Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder3 credits
Elective:3 credits
HP 684 - Augmentative & Alternative Communication & Socialization
HP 685 - Enhancing Mobility and Health Across ASD
HP 686 - Feeding Issues
HP 687 - Sensory Integration3 credits
Total Credits:18


Misericordia University's Autism Certificate Program provides a multifaceted curriculum for healthcare professionals to enhance the quality of services provided throughout the lifespan for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. The goal of the certificate program is to help those in the healthcare industry specialize in optimal care for individuals on the autism spectrum.

The Autism Certificate embodies the institutional mission of "intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and respect for persons in an environment for students and post-credentialed professionals to augment their knowledge and skills for an underrepresented and in some circumstances underserved community. The certificate focuses on serving individuals with special needs with respect and dignity, further representing the mission of Misericordia University.

Program Goals

  1. Create professionals who are culturally sensitive and respect individuals of varying demographics. (Mercy and Hospitality)
  2. Create professionals who engage in evidenced based research and practice to effectively evaluate and treat individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families (Justice)
  3. Create professionals who work as part of an interdisciplinary team to advocate and meet the needs of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Justice & Interdisciplinary goal of College of Health Sciences)
  4. Create professionals who advocate and develop necessary programs to meet the individual needs and population needs of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Service & Justice)

Admissions Requirements

Students may submit a free online application at

Prospective students for the Autism Certificate program must submit the following:

  • Official college transcript reflecting the conferral of a bachelor’s degree
  • Resume or other documentation evidencing professional experience in a healthcare-related field preferably having worked with clients diagnosed with ASD
Please note the above listed requirements are general, and that each application is looked at thoroughly, taking into account individual grades, academic rigor, and other factors.
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