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Special Education

700 hours

of experience in the field


to uncover how students learn

Growing demand

for special educators



Multicategorical Program Provides Position Options

SXU's Special Education program is unique in that it's a master's level program approved by NCATE, as well as by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Our multicategorical approach prepares you to pursue positions as a K-12 special education teacher, special education coordinator or private practitioner, with students who have disabilities that range from mild to severe and profound.

The program also includes the basic foundations of the discipline and courses in diagnostic assessment, language, curriculum adaptations and modifications, behavior management, learning strategies and more. Completion of the degree leads to Illinois LBS-I teaching licensure.

Field experiences will prepare you for your future career through direct obversation and learning. Designated sites are provided by SXU's Education Department, though if you work at a school, you may use your school for a portion of your field experiences.

Students will obtain:

  • Knowledge of disabilities, law, and effective collaboration
  • Ways to differentiate instruction and help students meet learning standards
  • Diagnostic capacity to ascertain best practices based on individual differences among students
  • Instructional strategies for literacy, numeracy, social sciences, science, the arts
  • Skills for adapting learning activities, instruction and assessment to meet the needs of individual students

Special Education Challenges and Diversity

One of our faculty members states that special education is their passion because it's challenging, rewarding and diverse. They also note that "highly qualified educators, proficient in subject matter and pedagogy, may nonetheless be unable to reach a learner with reduced intellectual potential, emotional barriers, disorders of reading or math or sensory deficits.

"Special education is a problem-solving mission which is the educational equivalent of "CSI" investigation to identify the barriers to learning. Special educators not only "solve" the puzzle but also design lessons, implement strategies and evaluate the results."

READ: the Top Ten Reasons for Pursuing Special Education.

The SXU Difference

Learn from Meg Carroll, Ed.D., professor of education, who teaches courses in special education and instructional methods. Dr. Carroll is a frequent presenter at conferences and staff development days throughout the state of Illinois, with over 1,150 combined presentations. She has also published five books and over 35 articles on the topics of special education.

Dr. Carroll serves as president for the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois and has presented on topics such as "Diagnoses that Influence Behavior: What To Do," "Curriculum Planning for Students with Intellectual Disabilities" and "Adaptations and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities."

Special Education Curriculum

The Special Education graduate program takes 2 to 2.5 years to complete to complete, with 33 to 45 credit hours in total, depending on your experience. Please check out the program requirements in the SXU Academic Catalog for more information.

Field experiences accompany each course, leading eventually to practicum or student teaching. The weekly class format allows working adults to work on their degree programs while attending to their other responsibilities at home or in the workplace. The program is flexible and responds readily to any revised state or federal regulations.

Please view the admission requirements, as well as the program requirements and course descriptions in the SXU Academic Catalog for additional information. We also have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page available for immediate answers.

Apply Now!

Take the next step on your path to become a special education teacher. Please review the program's application requirements and apply online today!

With the federal government declaring special education to be an area of a teacher shortage, you may be eligible for TEACH grants. Minority teacher candidates may pursue Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) scholarships. If you have military experience, you may participate in the Troops to Teacher program.

Those who wish to serve their communities may pursue support through the Grow Your Own Teachers (GYO) program. Golden Apple Foundations awards are also available. Be sure to also complete your FAFSA and explore any tuition benefits that your district or school offers.

Program Highlights

Remote Learning
(Due to COVID-19)

2* - 2.5 years
*With Professional Educator License (PEL)


Two Start Terms
Next Start Term: August 24, 2020

Tuition Per Credit Hour: $575
Credit Hours to Complete: 33-45
Approximate Cost: $18,975 to $25,875

Contact Information

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Graduate Admission
Phone: 773-298-3053

Request Information