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

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


This dual endorsement program offered through the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership prepares aspiring teachers to work with families and children age Birth through Eight years. Particular attention is paid to working with children who have developmental disabilities or behavioral challenges. Early Childhood Special Educators have extensive knowledge in many areas including the following: 1) process of learning and development, 2) development of effective instructional programming, 3) effective use of assessment data to guide curricular planning, and 4) the social, legal, and political context in which they work. This rigorous program includes training in the use of evidence based practices as well as extensive supervised practicum experiences in the public schools as well as community agencies.

The major combines studies in Special Education with Early Childhood Education and leads to a recommendation for a Washington State teaching certificate with endorsements in both Early Childhood Special Education and Early Childhood Education from Preschool through Third Grade. Students may choose to complete additional coursework required to add the P-12 Special Education endorsement.

Interested in working with individuals with disabilities, but not quite sure? Please feel free to contact someone in the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership. You might even be interested in our GUR course, EDUC 205 Disability, Diversity and Media.

“I fell in love with the Dual Endorsement program my first year at Western, and I’m so glad I decided to pursue it! Each quarter in the program I am amazed by how much I learn and grow. I have built relationships with other Woodring students and love having so many people to look to for help.” –Talicia Miller-Poole

Beyond the Classroom

The College of Education values field experiences beyond the Western classroom. 

Practicum Placements and Internships

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. The final quarter internship (student teaching) experience is coordinated by the department and in conjunction with the Office of Field Experiences.

Professional Development

Teacher education candidates are expected 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 in the local schools, attendance at 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. Visit the Compass 2 Campus page for learn more about the program.

Reading Tutor

Woodring employs Western student to work as reading tutors in local elementary schools. Tutors read aloud to students, help students with their reading, and engage them in other activities that increase reading proficiencies. Reading tutors act as role models for the students they work with. Visit the Reading Tutors page to learn more about the program.


Careers and Graduate Studies

Our graduates are actively recruited from districts and agencies across the state. 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 move to the university setting, you will be well prepared and maintain a competitive edge.



Sample Jobs

  • Special Education Pre-School Teacher
  • Early Interventionist
  • Inclusive Classroom Teacher
  • Family Resource Coordinator
  • Behavior Interventions Specialist
  • Special Education Teacher, Preschool through Grade 3
  • Regular Education Teacher, Preschool through Grade 3

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.