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Undergraduate degree in Special Education - What to expect?

Hey, I'm really drawn towards special education as a possible career path after high school. Can anyone here fill me in on what to expect when pursuing an undergrad degree in special education? What kinds of courses and internships are usually part of it? Thanks!

6 months ago

Hi there! It's great that you're interested in pursuing a career in special education. An undergraduate degree in special education will prepare you for a fulfilling and impactful career working with students with diverse learning needs. While program specifics may vary depending on the institution, here's a general overview of what you can expect.

Courses: You'll take a mix of foundational education courses and specialized special education courses. In general, you can expect to study topics like child development, learning theories, assessment and evaluation, instructional strategies, behavior management, and inclusive education. Some programs may also require courses in subject areas like math, science, and language arts. You'll learn about various disabilities, legal aspects of special education, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and strategies to collaborate with families and professionals.

Field Experiences: Most special education programs require field experiences from early on in your program, which involve observing and working with students in a variety of classroom settings, including general education and special education environments. These field experiences are designed to help you apply your classroom knowledge to real-world situations and gain valuable insight into working with students who have special needs.

Internships/Student Teaching: In the final stages of your program, you'll typically complete a student teaching internship. This is a more extensive and time-consuming experience than the field experiences. You'll be placed in a special education classroom and work under the guidance of a mentor teacher to design and implement IEPs, plan and assess instruction, manage behavior, and develop your professional skills. Your student teaching experience is usually the final step before graduating and becoming eligible for state licensure as a special education teacher.

Extra Certification: Depending on your program and state requirements, you may also have the option to pursue additional certifications in areas like assistive technology, autism spectrum disorder, or specific disability categories. These certifications can make you more marketable and enhance your skills in working with specific student populations.

Overall, pursuing an undergraduate degree in special education may be both challenging and rewarding. As you gain knowledge and experiences throughout your program, you'll be well-prepared to positively impact the lives of students with special needs. Good luck on your journey!

6 months ago

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