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Character Education Specialist Certificate

Be a Changemaker in Your Students' Lives: Make Social and Emotional Learning a Part of Your Classroom - A Fully Online Program

Enhance your professional development skills in the field of character education/development and earn a Character Education Development Certificate. The Division of Professional and Continuing Education has collaborated with the School of Leadership and Education Sciences - Character Development Center to offer you professional training in character behaviors and relationships. You will learn to apply best practices to plan, deliver and assess character education.

Get started and register for a course today!

Learner Outcomes

  • Help students develop good character habits and good citizenship
  • Enhance instructional strategies for teaching character
  • Strengthen student social and emotional skills and behaviors within Common Core standards
  • Plan, organize, implement and evaluate character education initiatives, curricula offerings, and intervention programs in districts, schools, sports and community intervention programs
  • Become a local Development and resource for your school and district
  • Build a character-based discipline plan and use effective classroom management techniques
  • Explore new and specialized topics in the field of Character Education

Who Should Attend

K-12 teachers and administrators interested in learning how to plan and implement character development education in the classroom, school or district.

Course Format

All four courses are delivered in the Online Fixed-Date format. Technical Requirements for online courses.


Edward DeRoche , Ph.D., is the Director of the University of San Diego's Character Development Center.  He is a former elementary and junior high school teacher and principal.  Ed is a national consultant on character education.  He has co-authored four books on the topic of character education in schools and classrooms.  He has written several journal and newspaper articles on the topic.  Ed has been teaching online character education courses for the past 10 years.

Patricia Meacham, M.B.A., works in the USD Character Development Center (CDC).  Her work at the CDC includes implementing her Development Certification in Character Education to coordinate character matters summer conferences for students, teachers, and administrators, character matters essay contest for students in the San Diego Unified School District and the Imperial County School District, and instructing undergraduate and graduate students in character education special topics. She is a guest teacher for the Santee School District and holds a single subject teaching credential in mathematics, economics, and business.  She is dedicated to advancing character education for professional development and student social emotional development.

Patricia McGinty, MS, PPS, is a Transitional Kindergarten teacher for the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She has taught this, kindergarten, and first grade for the past 15 years. She has also been a special education school counselor and social skills instructor in San Diego County. Patricia received her Development Certificate in Character Education from USD in 2008. Patricia uses her experience teaching 4-5 year olds a social-emotional developmentally appropriate curriculum. She also has a background in behavior modification, behavior management, as well as being the leader of the No Place for Hate committee at her school.

CJ Moloney , M.Ed., has over 30 years experience as a character educator. She received a Development Certificate in Character Development and a Masters of Education from the University of San Diego. She is the program coordinator for the USD Character Development Center, where she and program director, Ed DeRoche, host conferences, workshops, an annual essay contest, and teach character education courses. She co-authored a character education curriculum book for middle school students and a guide for middle school teachers, and is committed to promoting character and social emotional learning in schools. As an online educator, CJ has over 10 years experience facilitating discussions with educators across the country and around the world that are committed to educating both the hearts and minds of their students.


Enroll in individual courses of your choice, and start with any course in any semester to earn graduate level extension credits.  Courses are seven weeks long and are typically offered each semester, Fall, Spring and Summer. 

Certificate Requirements

Complete the requirements below to earn a professional certificate in Character Education. The certificate can be completed in as few as two semesters. Read Certificate Benefits and Policy.

  • Complete 4 core courses (8 units)

by Mail

Schedule & Fees

Schedule for Character Education Specialist Certificate

  Core Courses (8 units) To Enroll and Learn More Click the Course Below 
Minimum Required:  4  Course(s)
    EDU-X731A   Instructional Strategies in Character Education (prev #: EDU-521CL)
    EDU-X722J   Character Education: Curriculum & Programs (prev #: EDU-522CL)
    EDU-X723J   Character-based Classroom Management: Strategies & Practices (prev #: EDU-523CL)
    EDU-X724J   Evaluation of Character Education Initiatives in Your School and Classroom (prev #: EDU-520CL)
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