Master's in Special Education

Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education (iPad Enhanced)

National Louis University’s Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education program is for students who have already earned their bachelor’s degree in another discipline and are interested in a career in this specialized area of education. If you’d like to obtain a special educator role, this degree program will lead you to your Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed for LBS1 (pre-K to age 21) through a focused 47 semester hour course sequence.

What Is Different About This Program

Something is changing in today’s schools that is unprecedented and moving fast — it is the use of technology as a way to improve the way teachers teach and the way students learn. All over our country, instructional technology is being used to increase student understanding and excite students about school. This newly designed program at NLU builds a bridge from the traditional classroom to the classroom of tomorrow. In this program, you will be introduced to new technologies and many research-based teaching approaches designed to make you the best teacher possible. With the new iPad, you will see how to integrate into your classroom amazing new techniques, such as teaching astronomy during the day; creating multimedia presentations using photos, videos, text and sound, or designing lessons for students with special needs. In this program, our faculty will walk you through how to use the equipment and demonstrate effective teaching strategies. No previous iPad experience required.

Besides the immense impact on computing that the iPad has had on daily lives of millions of users, the field of special education is similarly affected. Students with special needs who felt different than other students for carrying foreign assistive devices now can carry this socially accepted device. This important educational tool provide students with an array of apps that allow them to communicate and demonstrate their learning in a friendly, encouraging and intuitive environment.

Teaching and learning with hand held devices opens an all new world of experiences. Come and join us as you prepare to enter a classroom in the 21st century ready to teach and learn with the iPad.

Consider getting your Master’s in Special Education at NLU if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline
  • Would like to build a career in special education
  • Want to study at a well-established teaching institution

Learn more about teacher preparation programs offered at NLU >>

Why NLU for Teaching Special Education

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 winners of Illinois’ Golden Apple Award — one of the most prestigious teacher honors in the state. NLU’s updated curriculum aims to prepare teachers for the changing and increasingly complex professional roles of special educator in today’s schools. The combination and scheduling of coursework and intensive clinical experience enable students to practice what they are learning in the field.

What You Will Learn

Based on the IBSE Special Education Licensure 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
  • Classroom as a collaborative consultant
  • Resource room or self-contained classroom as diagnostic teacher
  • Alternative setting, such as a special public or private school

Additional Considerations

All students are required to bring an iPad 2 or higher to each class.

Students are encouraged to purchase a competitively priced iPad from NLU, including the AppleCare Protection Plan for iPads, and pre-selected productivity apps (for example, PAGES, Keynote, iMovie, Creative Book Builder, Inspiration, Comic Life) to be used with assignments. Upon payment this iPad will become the property of the student. Students applying for financial aid can include this cost as part of their financial aid package. iPad 4 (32GB) is equipped with 2 years of AppleCare protection, a VGA adaptor for connecting to a projector (for teaching a large group of students) and a Smart Cover.

If you already own an iPad it must be an iPad 2 or higher and have sufficient space to store all classroom required apps that you will need to be purchased independently. If the student’s iPad is lost, stolen or damaged the participant will need to replace it.


Orientation will provide you with hands-on instruction and an overview of how to get started. This will include setting up email, App Store accounts, maintenance tips, and other basic instructions. The iPad will be provided during this session. All students must attend this orientation.

Career Outlook

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 is expected to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018 as many districts report problems finding adequate numbers of certified 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. An 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 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 three-week intensive courses that feature a personalized learning plan and are designed to develop competencies necessary to pass the TAP. Register today!

Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education (iPad Enhanced) 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

Get more information today about enrolling at NLU. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist.

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.


    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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    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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