B.A. in Special Education
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-area campus locations.
Choose NLU's teaching degree in special education 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
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- 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
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.
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
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.
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 includesthree-week intensive courses that feature a personalized learning plan and are designed to develop competencies necessary to pass the TAP. Register today!
Learn more about NLU’s TAP preparation options
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.
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.
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.