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How to Choose a Major: Special Education Edition

Deciding on a major is hard! It is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make here at BYU. With so many options out there it can be difficult to know which one is the right for you! This blog post highlights the special education major.


Overview of the Major

A bachelor's degree in special education prepares students to teach special education in public schools in Kindergarten-12th grade. Students applying to the special education program must choose one of the following emphases:


Mild/Moderate Disabilities

  • Serve students with learning disabilities, communication disorders, high function autism, and ADHD.

  • Teach remedial academic skills, targeted social behavior interventions, and self-advocacy.

  • Work in general education classrooms or resource rooms.

Severe Disabilities

  • Serve students with intellectual disabilities, autism, emotional/behavioral disorders, multiple disabilities, and other severe impairments.

  • Teach academics, functional life skills, social behavior, and occupational skills.

  • Work in separate classrooms with a team of school specialists with opportunities to collaborate with general educators.

Career Options

Did you know that a degree in special education doesn't limit you to only teaching? To name a few, with a special education degree you can work to become:

  • A K-12 teacher

  • An administrator (principal, superintendent, etc.)

  • A policy maker or advocate

  • A Behavior Analyst

  • A Direct Support Professional

  • A Transition Specialist


Start Here

Ready to take that next step? Check out these pre-requisite classes to learn more about special education:

  • CPSE 203: Introduction to Special Education

  • CPSE 410: Applied Behavior Analysis in Education

  • CPSE 480: Educational and Multicultural Issues in Special Education

    • This class fulfills both the university core and program requirements

  • MthEd 305: Basic Concepts of Mathematics

  • MthEd 306: Concepts of Mathematics

With this information, hopefully you feel more prepared to declare a major in the McKay School. Feel free to reach out to a student ambassador here if you are interested in learning more. We'd love to hear from you!

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