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 general 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 general education K-12 classrooms.
Special education and inclusive practices majors also will have multiple opportunities to take their learning to the next level. Through cultural immersions, collaborative student-faculty research and service-learning experiences, you could participate in programming at the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas; conduct research and author a journal article or present at a local or national conference; 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 prepared to teach any child and any young adult in any learning environment — making you highly qualified and extremely in demand.
Real-world, professional experience. Unified 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 general and special education classrooms. This includes the opportunity to work with children in inclusive settings where general 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 grade level content as well as 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 Team Triumph 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. Aspiring Educators is an organization that is focused on future teachers who are active on campus and in the schools in the community, connecting you with other students in the education major and the campus. 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.
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.
- Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
- 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 (email@example.com).
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.
Graduates of the unified special education program will hold licenses in K-12 cross-categorical special education and K-9 general 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 an ongoing shortage of special education and early childhood 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 vocational and transitional learning, you will enter your own future classroom ready to meet the learning needs of all children within general education environments, as well as provide additional support through special education services.
What classes do special education, unified special education k-12 and elementary/middle majors take?
Your classes may cover topics like:
- Developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders
- Inclusive play and sensory exploration
- Integrated curriculum and inquiry
- Mild disabilities
- Communication development
- School experiences in special and inclusive education
Learn more about the special education, unified special education K-12 & elementary/middle comprehensive major in the UWEC course catalog.
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