What is Special Education?

Special Educators need to have extensive knowledge in four areas: they need to know about students and how they learn; they need to know about effective instruction; they need to know about the content of the lessons they will teach; and, they need to know about the context (social, legal, and political) in which they will work. Therefore, training to become a Special Educator will include work in each of these areas, as well as coursework and extensive supervised practicum experiences in the public schools.

Special Education Degrees

Early Childhood Special Education P-3 and Early Childhood Education P-3 (Dual Endorsement), BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

Combines studies in Early Childhood and Special Education and leads teaching certification with endorsements in Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Education (P-3).

Contact

Lindsay Foreman-Murray, Program Advisor
foremal@wwu.edu | 360-650-3875

Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education
TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu | 360-650-3313

Exceptionality & Disability, BAE

Completion of this major results in a BA in Education. Students who complete this major typically seek employment in non-school settings, such as health and human services and non-profit organizations; they do not qualify for a teaching certificate.

Contact

Jeff Hart, Program Advisor
Jeffery.Hart@wwu.edu | 360-650-3724

Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education
TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu | 360-650-3313

Special Education P-12 and Elementary Education (Dual Endorsement), BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

This dual endorsement program offered through the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership prepares aspiring special education teachers to work with students with disabilities from Preschool through age 21 as well as work as a general education teacher in a regular elementary classroom.

Contact

Aaron Perzigian, Director of SPEL
perziga@wwu.edu | 360-650-4349

Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education
TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu | 360-650-3313

Special Education—P-12 Plus Content Endorsement, BAE

Degree Type: Teaching Endorsement

The Department is proud to offer a dual endorsement program for students who are interested in becoming middle school and high school teachers. Graduates from this unique program will have a teaching credential, a Special Education Endorsement (Preschool through 21 years), and an endorsement in another qualified secondary school level content area.

Contact

Lindsay Foreman-Murray, Program Advisor
foremal@wwu.edu | 360-650-3875

Teacher Education Admission, Woodring College of Education
TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu | 360-650-3313

Special Education at Western

Western’s Woodring College of Education offers three options for degrees in special education. The Special Education P-12 and Elementary Education (Dual Endorsement) BAE prepares aspiring special education teachers to work with students with disabilities from Preschool through age 21 as well as work as a general education teacher in a regular elementary classroom. Graduates from the program receive a teaching license as well as endorsements in both Special Education and Elementary Education.

The Special Education P-12 Plus Content Endorsement BAE a dual endorsement program for students who are interested in becoming middle school and high school teachers. Graduates from this unique program will have a teaching credential, a Special Education Endorsement (Preschool through 21 years), and an endorsement in another qualified secondary school level content area. The majority of our graduates have earned the secondary content endorsement in English, Mathematics, or Science but other options are available.

The Early Childhood Special Education P-3 and Early Childhood Special Education P-3 (Dual Endorsement) BAE is designed to prepare personnel to work with children from birth through eight years who have been identified as at-risk for developmental delay or disability and with their families. The major combines studies in Early Childhood and Special Education and leads to recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate with endorsements in Early Childhood Special Education and an Early Childhood Education (P-3) endorsement.

Student Experiences

Practicum Placements

The college faculty coordinate a wide range of school and community-based practicum placements strategically placed throughout the program. This provides frequent opportunities to interact with young children while developing your teaching skills.

Professional Development

Candidates may opt to participate in professional development activities outside of the classroom setting. These activities are varied and may include events such as professional development alongside practicing teachers/professionals in the local schools/community or attendance as selected informational talks or workshops.

Compass 2 Campus

The State of Washington mentoring initiative at Western is designed to increase opportunities in higher education by providing mentoring for 5th–12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and diverse backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties. For more information on the program, visit this website.

Wooding’s small class sizes, dedicated professors, and diverse curriculum made me a better educator, while the student-centered approach means I’ve had a real voice in my education.

Quinn Reno
Education student

What can you do with?

Western's Special Education graduates are actively recruited from districts and agencies across the state for both special education and/or elementary education positions. There has been a national shortage of special education teachers since 1975 and districts in Washington state continually strive to find qualified teachers, often forced to look out of state. We, in the department, are particularly proud of our graduates and the work they do in school and communities supporting students who experience the most difficulty learning.

Our graduates are also actively sought by numerous graduate programs and have been allowed to transfer some of their coursework into the graduate school. So, whether you plan to continue in the classroom or move to the university setting, you will be well prepared and maintain a competitive edge.

Special Education careers

  • Special Education Resource Room Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Consultant
  • Inclusive Classroom Teacher
  • Transition Teacher
  • Specialized Program Teacher
  • Behavior Interventionist
  • Special Education Pre-School Teacher
  • Early Interventionist