Special Education Degree

B.A. in Special Education


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National Louis University's Bachelor of Arts in Special Education equips graduates to teach children with special education needs and includes all preparation for attainment of an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for LBS1 (pre-K to age 21), which is required for work as a special education teacher. This degree is available at our Chicago campus locations.

Consider getting your special education degree at NLU if you:

  • Want to make a difference in the lives of children with learning challenges
  • Are dedicated to the idea that children with disabilities both gain from and contribute to mainstream classrooms
  • Seek to understand and improve the social, policy, and educational systems in which children with disabilities participate
  • Want to graduate ready to hit the ground running as a teacher of special education

Why NLU for Special Education

National Louis has a 125-year old reputation for its teacher training programs, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NLU has trained thousands of Chicago-area teachers, and graduated more prestigious Golden Apple award winners than any other institution in Illinois.

NLU's special education faculty bring deep experience teaching special education students in classrooms, schools, and communities and have crafted an updated curriculum to prepare teachers for the changing and increasingly complex professional roles of special educators today. Because experience matters so deeply in this field, NLU's special education degree program includes three practica. The first practicum focuses on the role of the special education teacher in inclusive education and occurs after admission to the undergraduate special education degree program. This, plus an advanced practicum and a student teaching practicum, give candidates broad and deep training experiences that are a distinct advantage in competing in the hiring environment. NLU's professional portfolio assessment process documents student learning experiences and practices so that graduates present a substantive body of work to potential employers.

What You Will Learn

  • How to understand and address student needs in the context of complex disability and social systems
  • How to work within the official standards for the field including the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards, the Council for Exceptional Children Standards, and the LBS1 Endorsement Standards, and the Illinois Learning Standards, including the Illinois Social Emotional Learning Standards
  • How to best educate students with disabilities in accordance with federal and state policies and regulations
  • How to collaborate and consult with general educators, families, and other educational providers serving students with disabilities
  • How to develop and apply instructional and assistive technology to meet special education needs

Career Outlook

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment for special education teachers is projected to grow 17 percent between 2008 and 2018 — even higher than that for general teachers, and notably higher than average employment growth for other occupations. Moreover, the BLS notes that job prospects should be excellent because many districts report problems finding adequate numbers of licensed special education teachers.[1]

Graduates can assume a variety of roles including:

  • General Education classroom as a collaborative consultant
  • Resource room or self-contained classroom as diagnostic teacher
  • Teaching and consulting in special public, charter, or private schools

Special Education Degree Program Requirements

Total quarter hours for the B.A. in Special Education degree is 180. The program requires a minimum of 71 quarter hours or the equivalent in General Education coursework. This includes demonstration of competence in all general education areas, as well as INTASC Standards and Illinois Professional Teaching Standards. The Special Education Program accepts the following types of equivalent work: transfer of courses with a 'C' or higher from approved and accredited institutions, appropriate scores on advanced placement tests, and passing scores on CLEP and DANTES examinations. Contact your Academic Advisor for information.

The state of Illinois recently changed naming conventions for teaching certification types. To view the complete list of name changes, click here

Prepare for the TAP at NLU

Want to enroll in a teacher-preparation program at NLU? If so, NLU offers various options to help you get ready for the ILTS Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). This includes NEW three-week courses that feature a personalized learning plan and are designed to develop competencies necessary to pass the TAP. These courses will be offered from January to March.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must meet NLU’s general admission requirements as well as the requirements specific to the B.A. in Special Education degree program. Refer to the appropriate Application Checklist available online at www.nl.edu/applyonline.

Get more information today about enrolling in NLU’s Bachelor of Arts in Special Education program. Talk to your Enrollment Advisor or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888.658.8632).


Please note: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may change the state licensure and endorsement requirements at any time and without prior notice. Teacher candidates will be bound by the requirements in place when applying for licensure, not by the licensure requirements in place when beginning their program. That is, the state may specify that a new regulation is immediately applicable to all candidates with no provisions made for candidates who began their work on licensure under different regulations.

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603

    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123

    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632

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    Campus Location
  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632

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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

     

     

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard
    Suite 102
    Tampa, Florida 33634
    800.366.6581 | www.nl.edu/florida

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  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    414.577.2658

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