What is Special Education?
A major in Special Education prepares students to serve as special education teachers and consultants. Special Education professionals work with special learners ages pre-K through 21. These learners may be children with autism, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy. They may be deaf, blind, or have a learning disability. Often special educators work with children with psychological and/or behavioral issues.
As a student of Special Education, you will learn to teach, help, and communicate with a diverse group of learners. Some colleges divide the Special Education major into specific age groups, so students can major in Elementary Special Education, Middle School Special Education, High School Special Education, or Adult Special Education.
Is Special Education a Good Major / Degree for Me?
Are you compassionate and patient? Do you love working with people? Can you see yourself interacting with students and their entire families? Are you organized? Can you multitask? Are you comfortable with a job that requires lots of paperwork? Are you a strong communicator? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then a major in Special Education might be just for you!
High School Classes Needed for a Special Education Degree in College:
- 4 English Credits
- 4 Math Credits
- 3 Science Credits
- 3 Social Studies Credits
- 2 Foreign Language Credits
- If your high school offers any of the following courses, take advantage!
- AP English Language
- AP Psychology
- AP Statistics
- If your high school offers any of the following co-curricular activities, take advantage!
- Team Sports
- Debate Team
- Civil Rights Team
Common Special Education Courses in College:
- Assessment of Students with Disabilities
- Characteristics and Identification of Disabilities
- Cognitive Development and Disabilities
- Diversity and Disability Issues: Students, Families, Schools, and the Community
- How Schools Work
- Intervention Strategies for Problematic Behavior
- Math and Science Interventions
- Oral Language Development and Disorders
- Reading Disabilities Interventions
- Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Development
- Special Education Law
- Written Language Development and Disorders
Most, if not all, programs require a student teaching practicum.
Similar Degree Programs You Might Want to Explore:
- American Sign Language: the study of the official language of the deaf community in the U.S. and Canada
- Art Education: a major that combines an art program with an education program and prepares individuals for careers as art teachers
- Elementary Education: a course of study that prepares an individual to teach Kindergarten through 8th grade
- Middle School Education: a course of study that prepares an individual to teach 5th through 8th grade
- Occupational Therapy: the study of how to use specific activities to treat and rehabilitate injured, ill, or disabled people
- Social Work: a course of study that prepares students to help people in need via a variety of institutions such as prisons, hospitals, and schools
- Youth Ministries: a course of study that prepares students to serve and minister to young people
Special Education Careers:
Many Special Education majors go on to serve as teachers, and the demand for Special Education teachers is high in most areas of the U.S. Some students go on to graduate school and become Special Education Directors, Speech and Language Pathologists, Literacy Specialists, and Special Education Consultants. Special Educators don’t have to work in schools however, and some go to work in correctional facilities, residential facilities, community organizations, hospitals, or private institutions. A degree in Special Education can lead to many employment opportunities.