Why Special Education

Special Education Needs YOU!

Every student should have access to outstanding, well-prepared, well-supported educators who reflect the diversity of the students they serve. Due to the pandemic, the economy lost 730,000 local public education jobs from Feb-May 2020, which accounts for 9% of all jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

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 three SPED concentrations:

  • The Deaf Education concentration prepares candidates to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students across inclusion, itinerant, resource room and self-contained public and residential classroom settings.
  • The Disability Services concentration prepares students to work with individuals with disabilities who have a wide variety of support needs in a broad array of settings (e.g., vocational, residential, community).
  • The Mild to Intensive Dual License concentration prepares candidates to work with individuals (kindergarten through age 21) who have a wide variety of support needs in a broad array of settings (e.g., general education classrooms, self-contained classrooms, alternative schools and community-based programs).

Professional Licensure Disclosure
This program (with the exception of the Disability Services concentration) is designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure or certification and contact information for state licensing boards at Kent State's website for professional licensure disclosure.

Kent State's website for professional licensure disclosure.