Special Education and Childhood

Students who choose the special & childhood education program will be qualified to teach children in the elementary grades 1-6, as well as children receiving special education services (grades 1-6). This program is recommended for those who are interested in working with students with disabilities as a special education teacher, teaching in elementary education, or being highly prepared for inclusive classrooms at the childhood level (grades 1-6).  

Successful completion of the program leads to New York state initial certifications in BOTH special education (grades 1-6) & childhood education (grades 1-6).

Special education is considered a high-demand, teacher shortage area of certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13), the job projection for special education teachers is expected to rise by 17 percent (77,400 new jobs) by the year 2020.

Program Curriculum and Requirements

All programs include a  general education requirement,  major academic concentration in a selected area of study,  professional education requirement, and  comprehensive field experiences. The academic concentration is commensurate with a major in the content field and , in combination with general education coursework in liberal arts and sciences, ensures that students gain extensive knowledge of their subject matter. The Common Core standards and New York state learning standards are integrated into required coursework throughout the program and serve as the basis of performance assessment requirements.  

A focus on literacy and teaching students with diverse learning needs is embedded in coursework that is required of all education majors. Comprehensive field experiences begin in the first semester of study and continue each semester of the program, leading to a teaching assistantship and comprehensive student teaching experience. All programs include experience with English language learners and students receiving special education services, as well as a range of placements across various types of school districts.

Students in this program select one content area concentration from the following subjects: English language arts, mathematics, biology, chemistry, social studies, or the languages of Spanish or French. The distinctive liberal arts concentration allows students to take courses across three subjects of their choice, ensuring rich content knowledge.  

Students who wish to be certified to teach in Ontario will earn their New York state initial teacher certification and be assisted to apply through the Ontario College of Teachers for the letter of eligibility to teach in Ontario at the primary-junior level.