Bachelor's Degrees

Special Education Needs You!

As of January 2017, the US Department of Education has identified teacher shortage areas in the U.S. There is a shortage of Special Education teachers in 48 states (excluding New Mexico and Vermont).

What can I do with a major in Special Education?

A bachelor's degree in special education (SPED) is typically sought by students who want to become special education teachers, although some graduates may work with individuals with disabilities in non-school (e.g., residential or vocational) settings.

Students majoring in SPED will learn about evidence-based strategies to work with individuals with disabilities in diverse settings and across systems of support. Coursework includes content specific to understanding the characteristics and development of students with disabilities, teaching and adapting academic content, assessment and the development of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), assistive technology, classroom and behavior management strategies, and family and professional collaboration.

Who will I work with?

Special educators (sometimes also referred to as Intervention Specialists) teach individuals with many kinds of disabilities including learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, ADHD/other health impairments, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, hearing impairments, and multiple disabilities.

Where will I work?

Most special educators teach in public elementary, middle and secondary schools, although they may also teach in other settings such as private and alternative schools, schools designed specifically for students with disabilities, students’ homes, residential and day-treatment centers, and juvenile detention centers. Depending on student needs, special educators may co-teach with general education teachers in academic classrooms, teach small groups of students in a resource room, or teach students individually in highly specialized classrooms or programs designed specifically to meet the needs of students with disabilities. SPED majors who do not want to become teachers will often work with adults with disabilities in residential and/or vocational programs.

What will I teach?

The needs of students with disabilities are diverse, meaning that special educators need to be prepared to teach across many different skill areas and levels. A main focus of the special educator will be in teaching academics, social and emotional skills, and adaptive, life and leisure skills.

What SPED concentration options are available at the undergraduate level?

Kent State University offers two SPED concentrations:

  1. Undergraduate Deaf Education concentration - teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing, preschool to grade 12 (ages 3-21)
  2. Undergraduate Mild to Intensive Dual License - teaching students with disabilities kindergarten to grade 12 (ages 5-21)