The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's special education, unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle bachelor's degree certifies graduates to teach special education in K-12 classrooms; teach math, science, social studies and language arts in K-9 regular education classrooms; and co-teach with another educator in an inclusive classroom. Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to work with all learners, including those with communication disorders, autism, intellectual disabilities, sensory and physical disabilities, specific learning disabilities and emotional behavioral disabilities, as well as those who are gifted or learning English as a second language.
Curriculum throughout the major is designed to provide a unified approach in preparing teacher candidates for the diverse K-12 learning environment. Coursework will help you to develop specialized instruction and interventions; make data-based decisions; advocate for early numeracy, mathematics and literacy awareness; provide behavioral support; practice culturally responsive teaching and promote project-based learning and inquiry. In addition to a full semester of student teaching, more than 200 classroom hours will be spent observing and aiding in both special education and regular education K-12 classrooms.
Special education majors also will have multiple opportunities to take their learning to the next level. Through cultural immersions and service-learning experiences, you could participate in programming at the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas; volunteer in classrooms in the Washington, D.C., area; work as a teacher’s aide in Tucson, Arizona; or experience the Scottish special education system firsthand in Scotland. These experiences often lead to new ways of thinking and enhanced cultural competency.
As a graduate of the unified special education, K-12 and elementary/middle degree, you'll be trained to teach any child and any young adult in any learning environment — making you highly qualified and extremely in demand.
UW-Eau Claire has built a supportive community and alumni network that can help students pay for college. Currently, dozens of scholarships are available to students pursuing a career in special education. For example, the Arnold A. and Eleanor D. Lamberg Teacher Education Scholarship awards $1,900 to an education major who demonstrates the potential for a career in education as well as financial need. Another scholarship, the Cora and Louis Slock Scholarship, awards $2,000 to a future teacher who possesses outstanding academic credentials.
Learn more about additional scholarships and resources available to you by checking out our scholarships page.
Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire
Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible.
To get this process started, please contact our staff in Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on academics and your special education degree.
Learn more about our financial aid process at UW-Eau Claire.
Unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle program details
- Program length: four years
- Offered: in person
- Campus: Eau Claire
- This major does not require a minor.
- Best Buddies
- Aspiring Educators
- Blugold Beginnings
The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Please note:
- The licensure information assumes that a student has obtained a Wisconsin Teaching License PRIOR to applying for a teaching license in another state.
- "Meets requirements" means that a student is eligible for a license with stipulations, typically for 1-3 years, in that state. The stipulations are likely to be specific testing requirements and/or competency through a course or examination of the history, culture and/or constitution of the specific state. In some instances, additional stipulations might be added.
- State licensure requirements may change at any time. While the listing will be updated annually, a student must be aware that a program in any particular state could move from "does not meet" to "meets" to "undetermined" and back again over the course of a degree program.
- Licensure questions should be referred to the Teacher Education Program Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming, District of Columbia.
The requirements of this program do not meet licensure in the following states: Delaware, New Jersey, New York.
It has not been determined whether the requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Real-world, professional experience. Special education coursework is rooted in experiential learning. Through several school-based experiences, practicums and student-teaching opportunities, you will gain firsthand experience working in both regular and special education classrooms. This includes the opportunity to work with children in inclusive settings where regular education and special education teachers co-teach, as well as an opportunity to help high school students with special needs plan their transition from high school to post-high school.
Up-to-date practices. Expert faculty throughout the major will provide you with knowledge of special education procedures as outlined by current federal legislation. You'll learn best practices and the latest techniques in areas like behavior management, inclusive practices, co-teaching and intervention. You'll also become familiar with special education law, ethical behavior, and how best to consult and collaborate with parents, school personnel and agencies in designing high-quality learning for all children.
Relevant student organizations. Right on campus, you'll find the Best Buddies and the Aspiring Educators clubs, student groups that bring attention to the needs and rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These organizations are best known for bridging gaps and making connections that lead to positive, local change. Joining a student org is an excellent way to continue your learning and apply what you've learned in the classroom to the real world.
Study abroad opportunities. Explore how different societies educate their youth and gain new ideas about how teachers reach their students by studying abroad. Many UWEC students choose to immerse themselves in other schools and communities early on in their college careers to better understand the world around them. Being able to develop teaching techniques in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't want to miss.
Exceptional placement rates. Due to the nationwide shortage of special educators, early educators and early childhood special educators, our Blugold teachers are in high demand. In fact, many graduates are offered a job prior to graduation — many times at the same schools where they served as student teachers.
Graduates of the unified special education program will hold licenses in K-12 cross-categorical special education and K-9 regular education — including preschool (4K) and kindergarten — and will be well-prepared for a variety of specialized jobs. Our graduates go on to become special education and grade-level teachers in both public and private schools, institutions and agencies. Some grads choose to continue their study in other areas of special education, including child life specialist programs, educational leadership or administration. Alumni also are qualified to engage in research, develop curricular and instructional materials or lead in-service teacher training.
Because of a regular shortage of special education teachers — and UW-Eau Claire's long history of producing exceptional teachers — our graduates have no problem finding jobs in Wisconsin and beyond.
Curriculum within the unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle major will help you meet the needs of all your students in the least restrictive — and most inclusive — environment possible.
With a breadth of coursework that includes collaborative methods, inclusive practices and vocation and transitional learning, you will enter your own future classroom ready to meet the learning needs of all children within regular education environments, as well as provide additional support through special education services.
Classes for unified special education K-12 and elementary/middle majors may include:
- Facilitating Communication in Preschool Children
- Inclusive Play and Sensory Pedagogy
- Inclusive Numeracy and Math: 0-8
- Integrated Curriculum and Inquiry
- Normal Communication Development
- Inclusive PK-9 Reading
- Introduction to Mild Disabilities PK-12
- Reading, Writing & Remediation PK-12
- Inclusive Math Content., Instruc, & Interventions Grades 4-9
- Inclusive Science & Social Studies Methods and Assessment Gr. 4-9
Learn more about the special education, unified special education K-12 & elementary/middle comprehensive major in the UWEC course catalog.
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