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  • Writer's pictureEmily Reed

All You Need to Know About Special Education

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

If you enjoy working with individuals with special needs then you might want to learn more about the Special Education program. The Special Education program allows you to advocate for individuals with special needs that require different learning accommodations.

Did you know that Special Education majors have the unique ability to work with students at any grade level?! This degree certifies you for K-12! In whatever capacity you choose, you will have the chance to make a difference in the lives of individuals with special needs through your professional career. So, without further ado, we’d like to present a few fun facts about the special education major!

#1: Pick Your Emphasis

There are to different paths you can follow within the major: Mild/Moderate and Severe. Both focus on academics and social behavior, but there are some differences as well. Mild/Moderate focuses more on self-advocacy while Severe focuses more on occupational and functional life skills. It's okay if you don't know which you would prefer! You will get to volunteer in both types of classrooms and then decide.

#2: Service- Oriented

You will have opportunities to do service and have hands-on experiences in the classroom throughout your years studying here at BYU. Being in the classroom will allow you the opportunity to see if this is how you want to serve others! For more service opportunities with individuals with disabilities, check out programs through YServe.

Our Special Education student ambassador, Emily, shared the following with us: "I have always had a great desire to serve and I found that in my program! From the very first special education class I took, I was working hands on with students with disabilities. I was able to learn how to help them in the best way possible, which is true service in my eyes."

#3: Gain Knowledge w/ your Experience

Not only will you learn how to help those with disabilities, you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge about the ins and outs of the thirteen categories of disabilities for yourself! More information can be found here and in our introductory course, CPSE 203.

#4: Endorsement

Professors have started to encourage special education students to earn an endorsement in secondary mathematics for special educators. This will prepare teachers to help students improve their math skills. If you like math and want to increase STEM employment opportunities for people with special needs, consider earning this endorsement! Contact Cade Charlton for more information or click here.

#5 Internships and Student Teaching

During your last 1-2 semesters in your program, you will have the opportunity to teach for yourself! You can choose between a 1 year, half salaried, full-time teaching position (internship) or a 1 semester student teaching experience.

The following classes are prerequisite courses you need to take before you apply to the program. Check them out to see if Special Education is the program for you!

CPSE 203 Introduction to Special Education (take this class first)

CPSE 410 Applied Behavior Analysis in Education

CPSE 480 Educational and Multicultural Issues in Special Education

MTHED 305 Basic Concepts of Mathematics

MTHED 306 Concepts of Mathematics

In addition to these courses, the program requires you to complete the following before application:

1. Meet with an advisor in the Education Advisement Center (350) to declare pre-major

2. Complete a fingerprint background clearance

3. Volunteer 12 hours (This will be completed during the CPSE 203 course)

If you would like to learn more feel free to contact a student ambassador, they would love to tell you what it's like to be in the Special Education program, contact us here!

For more information:

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