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Special Education Bachelor's Degree

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 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

Learn more about teaching degrees offered at NLU >>

  • 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 130-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 Foundation award winners than any other institution in Illinois.

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

Get more information today about enrolling in one of NLU's degree programs. Connect with an Enrollment Specialist or call 888.NLU.TODAY (888-658-8632).


    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 Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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