Special Education Programs (K-12)

The mission of the Special Education Program is to prepare knowledgeable educators who understand child development and variations in student abilities, skills, and maturation; and who use that knowledge to plan, implement, and evaluate educational programs based on individual student needs, family input, and current research.

Alum calls Special Education a "Rewarding" Experience

We offer three degree program options for individuals interested in a career in special education:

  • Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) degree in Inclusive Education with initial North Carolina (NC) licensure in Special Education, General Curriculum Grades K-12 and Elementary Education Grades K-6. 
  • Students with undergraduate degrees in Special Education or other education areas can enter the Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) degree program and earn master’s level North Carolina licensure in one of three areas;  Gifted Creative and Innovative Education, Mild to Moderate Disabilities, or Severe/Profound Disabilities.
  • Students who have bachelor degrees in a field other than education can pursue the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree and earn both their initial (A) and master's (M) level licensures in either Special Education - Adapted or General Curriculum. 

We offer two add-on licensure options for individuals seeking to expand their special education expertise:

  • An add-on license in the Adapted Curriculum is available to students in the BSED in Inclusive Education. The AC add on prepares students to instruct learners with severe disabilities in grades K-12. Students take four courses exploring topics such as understanding students with severe disabilities, positive behavioral supports, teaching life skills and academics to learners with significant intellectual disabilities, using assistive technology, and assessing students with severe disabilities. The courses are offered in a face to face format on the WCU campus. The program requires 12 student credit hours of study (four courses), that can be completed in 4 consecutive semesters. Field experiences will be built into the coursework. The four courses required to add on the license are "Exceptional Learners in the Adapted Curriculum," "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports for Students with Severe Disabilities," "Assistive Technology," "Accessing the Adapted Curriculum."  
  • Undergraduates or graduate students can add on licensure in Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) education Grades K-12.  Teachers who hold or are eligible for a NC license in any area can participate in this online program.  Students in the AIG program learn techniques for screening, identifying and evaluating gifted learners; explore models and methods for differentiating instruction; learn how to promote creativity and problem solving; and learn how to advocate for gifted students regardless of issues of gender, disability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and language.

We offer an 18 hour minor in Special Education through which other majors can learn best practices for working with students with learning differences.

In addition to these options, the Special Education Graduate Program offers teachers a Professional Development Credential in three critical skill areas:

  • Creativity and Differentiation
  • Response to Intervention for Social and Emotional Behavior
  • Collaboration with Families and Professionals

This online professional development opportunity is highly interactive and will help address real issues teachers face in today's classrooms.

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