Special Education and Elementary Education (BAE)

The BAE program in special education and elementary education leads to the following teaching certificates: Mild-Moderate Disabilities Special Education, K-12 and Elementary Education, grades K-8. The certification program prepares students to work with both typical children and youths and those with mild to moderate disabilities in inclusive settings. This program also provides extensive experiences in integrating technology into teaching.

The bachelor's degree program is designed to give preservice teachers foundational knowledge in evidence-based practices for children with special learning needs, with a firm grounding in general education content and evidence-based practices in literacy, math, sciences, health and social studies; integration of technology into all areas; and real-world experience in classrooms.

The special education and elementary education teacher certification program is clinically embedded during the junior and senior years. The primary goal of all clinical experiences is to provide interns and student teachers with multiple opportunities to apply knowledge learned in coursework to practice in PreK-12 classrooms. Students in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College complete internships during the junior year that require one day per week in grade K-8 classrooms serving students with special needs, and student teaching, which is a full-time, year-long apprenticeship known as the senior year residency. Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College faculty and highly qualified mentor teachers from partner school districts and charter schools collaboratively coach interns and student teachers during required clinical experiences. The clinical experience provided by the program, known as MLFTC Professional Pathways, provides students with an opportunity to work directly with children and make an immediate impact on classroom achievement. This intensive, hands-on clinical experience model of teacher preparation creates highly sought-after graduates.

Because the general education classroom is a viable placement option for many students with mild and moderate learning and behavioral disabilities, training special education teachers to collaborate is emphasized throughout the professional preparation sequence. Students receive additional training in interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills. They also learn adaptive techniques and assistive technologies that facilitate the successful integration of students with diverse learning needs into general education classrooms.

Graduates of the program desiring to teach in a public school must pass the appropriate Arizona educator exams (either the National Evaluation Series or Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments) to be certified to teach in the state of Arizona. Graduates receive mild to moderate certification in special education for K-12 students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, emotional disorders, specific learning disabilities, orthopedic impairments and other health impairments. They also receive an elementary certificate for teaching grades K-8.

Degree Offered

Special Education and Elementary Education (BAE)

Polytechnic, Tempe, West, Pendergast Elementary School District

Major Map

A major map outlines the degree’s requirements for graduation.

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Application Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Paying for College

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Career Outlook

National and state studies report the projected need in the next five to 10 years will be high for special education teachers. Graduates of the program will be eligible to teach in elementary education grades 1-8 and K-12 for the spectrum of high-incidence disabilities:

  • emotional disorders
  • intellectual disabilities (mild or moderate)
  • orthopedic impairments
  • other health impairments
  • specific learning disabilities

Graduates can teach in a variety of inclusive educational settings, including public, charter and private schools, as well as nontraditional settings (juvenile system, children's hospital, etc.).

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