Dropout Prevention Specialist Certificate Program

Certificate Online1 year

Dropout Prevention Specialist


Through the Dropout Prevention Specialist (DPS) certificate program, you can learn to identify potential dropouts, understand the reasons students leave school, and gain the skills to implement prevention strategies in an effective and timely manner. You will learn how to involve all stakeholders (teachers, parents and students) to prevent students from leaving school prematurely.

This program is delivered entirely online.

The issues of dropping out and dropout prevention cannot be separated from issues affecting our total economic and social structure. These issues include poverty, unemployment, discrimination, the role of the family, social values, the welfare cycle, child abuse, and drug abuse. - Peck, Law, and Mills 1987, p. 3


Through the Dropout Prevention program, participants are able to:

  • become school-wide catalysts for school improvement efforts
  • increase their collaboration with school-based interagency services to improve success expectations for at-risk students
  • network with other dropout professionals
  • exchange best practices, ideas and methodologies with their peers
  • earn professional development units from Sacramento State
  • pursue career advancement


Ideal candidates include:

  • outreach consultants
  • teachers, principals and district administrators
  • counselors and classified school service personnel
  • probation officers, child welfare, attendance and social workers
  • others who work with at-risk students in schools


The program consists of four required courses for a total of 12 academic credit units. Successful completion of all four courses is required to earn the certificate.

Participants will receive a grade of Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) based upon their degree of participation, completion of assignments and quality of work submitted for all courses. Courses are online, with mandatory attendance required at specific times for credit.

Participants will have one week to complete online course assignments from the date they are posted by the instructor. Assignments will consist of guided online threaded discussions, assigned readings and fieldwork activities within each course. Clear criteria for successful completion of assignments will be provided with each task assigned.

This program is designed to be completed as a cohort and is not a self-paced program. Participants should be committed to completing the program within the scheduled time frame, and courses must be taken in order. There is no guarantee that participants will be able to make-up courses that are missed.

Technology Requirements

In order to participate effectively online, all participants must have access to a newer model computer and a strong Internet connection.


To participate and complete assignments, all students need to have access to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, a newer web browser (Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 1.2 or higher) and Acrobat Reader.


Registration for the Dropout Prevention Specialist program is competitive and enrollment is limited. Participants are accepted on a first come, first serve basis, and must apply to the program before registering.