Undergraduate

A Smart Career Choice

Special education teachers have excellent job prospects — especially in preschool, elementary and middle school settings, where employment is projected to grow 18 to 20% by the year 2018 (much faster than the national average).

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Words to Live By

Seven students share life lessons learned from faculty mentors. See what Special Education and General Education major Megan Rupenski learned.

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Special Education (EC–12)

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (EC–12) at St. Edward’s empowers you to improve the learning lives of students with disabilities — guiding them toward independence and positive learning outcomes. You’ll engage in field-based, hands-on learning experiences with children who have a broad range of moderate learning and behavioral challenges and facilitate their success in today’s inclusive, general education classrooms. Graduates with this degree are in high demand due to a shortage of qualified special education teachers and rising enrollments of students needing services.

St. Edward’s offers the flexibility of dual certifications with this degree. Graduates can test for certification in both Special Education (EC–12) and Elementary Education (EC–6), providing more career options.

As a Special Education major, you’ll learn how to apply evidenced-based instructional and assessment strategies to create the optimal learning environment for students with disabilities. You’ll explore a variety of instructional settings along with inclusive classrooms designed to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. And you’ll gain expertise in instructional and behavioral resources that include using the most up-to-date technological tools, such as assistive devices, interactive computer software and Apple® iPads.

Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (EC–12)

Overview:

As a BA in Special Education major, you’ll advocate for students who may be challenged by autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, mental disabilities or sensory impairments. And you’ll learn the latest special education “best practices” to help these children succeed in school and daily life — from positive behavior management to proven teaching methods that benefit struggling readers.

Today nearly 80% of students with disabilities spend the majority of their day in general education classrooms — an outcome of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As a Special Education major, you’ll study the practical implications of federal IDEA laws promoting inclusion. You’ll learn how to set and achieve personal goals for each student and collaborate effectively with general educators, parents, social workers and therapists.

Career options are diverse with this degree. Upon certification, graduates may teach Special Education in early childhood through twelfth grade, and also pursue certification as a generalist, teaching regular early childhood through sixth grade. Graduates may work as a self-contained Special Education teacher for students with more severe disabilities, or serve as an inclusion/team teacher. With an advanced degree in this field, career roles include a diagnostician who identifies special needs, a university professor of Special Education, or a district leader who oversees all special education services and compliance with state and federal education laws.

Close interaction with the faculty at St. Edward’s — and time spent in classes, advising sessions and teaching fieldwork — fully prepares you for your student teaching internship and certification exams.

Course Preview:

In addition to the general education courses required of all majors, BA in Special Education majors take courses from these groups:

CORE COURSES
Students who major in Special Education complete core courses, which include Introduction to Special Education, Teaching Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Special Education and the Law, Adapting Instruction for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities, and Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

SUPPORTING COURSES
BA in Special Education majors complete supporting courses, which include Mathematics for Elementary Teachers, Arts for Children, Teaching Science in the Elementary School and Children’s Literature.

REQUIRED MINOR
BA in Special Education majors complete required minor courses in Teacher Education, which include Foundations in Education, Learning Processes and Evaluation, and Educational Technology Integration.

FIELD EXPERIENCE
Coursework for the BA in Special Education is extensively field-based, with three years of clinical preparation experiences before teaching.

STUDENT TEACHING INTERNSHIP
After completing your field experience hours, you will serve a student teaching internship in a culturally diverse school in Central Texas. This practicum will have both an elementary and a secondary school placement, since the Special Education Certification encompasses grades K–12.

View the Degree Plan (PDF) for sample course information for the Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (EC–12).

Opportunities

In addition to an internship that may be required for your degree, St. Edward’s University offers numerous opportunities for optional internships, professional-level research and hands-on creative experiences (writing, art, music, theater and more). These activities enhance your résumé, build your confidence and skills — and give you a distinct advantage in your career and for graduate school.

STUDY ABROAD

BA in Special Education majors have the option to participate in a summer- or semester-long study abroad program or internship. The School of Education offers courses that are affiliated with the university’s Global Business and Social Justice Institute, which includes faculty-led trips to Latin America, Europe and Asia.

RESEARCH

BA in Special Education majors have opportunities to attend state and national education conferences and present research on both regular and special education topics. Capstone courses focus on action research that is implemented on a school campus.

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