M.Ed. or C.A.S. in Special Education
National Louis University’s graduate degree in special education is designed specifically for individuals who already have a teaching certificate. NLU’s special education graduate program prepares candidates for a variety of roles working with children and adolescents with exceptional learning needs. This program will lead you to your Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for LBS1 (pre-K to age 21) by entitlement.
Consider getting your master's degree in special education at NLU if you:
- Already hold a valid teaching license
- Are looking for LBS1 endorsement
- Would like to build a career in special education
- Want to study at a well-established teaching institution
Special Education Degree Options
Master of Education (M.Ed.): The Master's in Special Education degree is designed for licensed professional teachers seeking advanced preparation for higher levels of professional competence in the classroom.
Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.): The C.A.S. in Special Education is designed for those seeking to add a new career dimension to their current professional competencies. Applicants for the C.A.S. must have a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and, if required by the program, a valid teaching license. Click here to view program disclosure information.
The state of Illinois recently changed naming conventions for teaching certification types. To view the complete list of name changes, click here.
NLU also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Special Education, designed for students who have already earned their bachelor’s degree in another discipline and would like to build a career in special education.
Find out more about NLU's Master of Education degree programs >>
Why Earn a Special Education Degree at NLU?
NLU has a long-standing reputation for its education and teacher training programs, and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Since 1886, we’ve trained thousands of Chicago-area teachers, and continue to graduate the majority of Illinois’ Golden Apple Award winners — one of the most prestigious teacher honors in the state. NLU’s special education graduate program has an updated curriculum that aims to prepare teachers for the changing and increasingly complex professional roles of special education professionals in today’s schools. The combination of coursework and intensive clinical experience enables students to practice what they are learning in the field.
What You Will Learn
Based on the ISBE Special Education Certification Structure and Content Area Standards, our curriculum will prepare you to work in a variety of education settings and in different roles in a/an:
- Inclusive classroom as a co-teacher
- General Education classroom as a collaborative consultant
- Resource room or self-contained classroom as diagnostic teacher
- Alternative setting, such as a special public or private school
The number of students requiring special education services has grown steadily in recent years due to improvements that have allowed learning disabilities to be diagnosed at earlier ages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook, career opportunities for special education teachers are expected to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018 as many districts report problems finding adequate numbers of licensed special education teachers.
Special education teachers at the elementary and pre-school level have the best outlook, with projected growth of 20 percent. Middle school special education teachers are not far behind, at 18 percent. Expected growth for secondary school special education teachers is projected at 13 percent. Many openings will likely derive from turnover and retirements, as well as growth of the school-age population.
Prepare for the TAP at NLU
Want to enroll in an educator-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 three-week courses that feature a personalized learning plan and are designed to develop competencies necessary to pass the TAP. Register today!
Special Education Graduate Program Admission Requirements
All applicants must meet NLU's general admission requirements as well as additional requirements specific to this program. Refer to the appropriate application checklist available online at nl.edu/applyonline.
Get more information today about enrolling at NLU. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist 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.