Make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities

The Bachelor of Arts in Special Education will prepare you to guide exceptional students toward positive learning outcomes and increased independence. From beneficial behavioral management to proven teaching methods for struggling learners, you'll discover special education best practices that help children succeed in school and daily life. 

As a Special Education major, you'll have the opportunity to:
  • Advocate for students who may be challenged by autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, mental disabilities or sensory impairments 
  • Enable student success in today’s inclusive, general education classrooms
  • Gain expertise in instructional and behavioral resources
  • Use the latest classroom technology such as assistive devices and interactive software
  • Study the practical implications of federal IDEA laws promoting inclusion
  • Collaborate effectively with general educators, parents, social workers and therapists

When you join the Special Education program, you become part of a community of like-minded people. We dedicate our work to serving our students and each other. Here you'll create close relationships that will become a built-in support system extending beyond your four years on campus. 

Learning Goals

Professors in the teacher education department place emphasis on instructional strategies that promote student learning and positive student behavior.

The Interstate New Teacher Assessment Consortium (InTASC) Standards serve as a foundation for our teaching methods. InTASC standards outline what teachers across all content and grade levels should know and be able to do to ensure every K-12 student is prepared to enter college or the workforce in today’s world.


The Special Education degree track comes with the flexibility of dual certification. Graduates will be prepared to test for teacher certification in both Special Education (EC–12) and Elementary Education (EC–6), providing more career options. 

Special education teachers have excellent job prospects. Graduates with this degree are in high demand due to a shortage of qualified special education teachers and rising enrollments of special needs students. Employment in preschool, elementary, and middle school settings is projected to grow 18 to 20% by the year 2018. — U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook

Graduates go on to pursue careers as:

  • Special education teachers
  • EC-12 teachers
  • Career and technical education teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Instructional coordinators
  • School and career counselors
  • Social workers

Outside the Classroom

Educational enrichment activities provide an opportunity to: 
  • Participate in field-based, hands-on learning
  • Design and apply assessment, planning, and instructional strategies
  • Explore a wide range of instructional settings
  • Work with children who have a broad range of moderate learning and behavioral challenges

School-Based Observations

You are required to complete five-ten hours of classroom observation. Observations take place in public, charter, private, and parochial school classrooms as directed by course instructors.

Clinical Field-Based Observation

Educational immersion is a hallmark of our curriculum. Field-based block courses give you hands-on experiences in community classrooms, exposing you to an environment in which you'll eventually teach. As a result, you will enter the classroom with realistic expectations and sound methods of behavioral management and teaching pedagogy.

The block-course program enables you to build strong relationships with mentor teachers and creates a pipeline to find work after graduation. Our students are highly sought after and top-of-mind candidates at partnering schools. Students have received job offers even before their student teaching requirements have been completed.  

Student Teaching

Student Teaching is designed to be a "capstone" experience for teacher education students. This six-hour education course locks in theory and practice in a classroom setting. Students learn to implement teaching theories and apply critical thinking skills associated with content courses in their major. 

Meet the Faculty

The rewards of teaching are innumerable and motivate us to our greatest potential every day. As teachers in the School of Education, we foster creativity, develop character, and make a tangible difference in the world by preparing new educators who will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others. 

"I can touch the lives of at-risk, special-needs children by preparing future teachers to advocate on behalf of, and support, these students. It is so rewarding when I see one of my college students help a young child who is struggling." — Leslie Loughmiller, EdD, Assistant Professor of Special Education

View the Faculty/Staff