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Special Education

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Program Description

If you want to help others grow and learn and be a positive force for change in your community, consider the University of Utah’s undergraduate Special Education Teacher Preparation program. This major provides broad preparation across many academic disciplines and direct professional training for teaching young children and students with disabilities. The program's curriculum consists of a Teacher Education Core that addresses a variety of topics, such as early childhood education, secondary classroom education, assessment and instruction principles, language development, legal and policy foundations, reading methods, writing instruction, math instruction, and classroom technology integration. In the final year of their program, students will complete courses and an assigned student teaching practicum relevant to one of the five emphases within Special Education. Upon successful completion of the program, and the submission of an application for licensure, including passing the Foundation of Reading for Utah and the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) licensing exams, students will be recommended to the Utah State Board of Education to receive their Utah Professional Teaching License.

The Department's major offers five areas of emphasis. Our Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Visual Impairments, Severe Disabilities, and Mild/Moderate Disabilities emphases lead to a K-12 Utah Professional Special Education license, while our Early Childhood SP ED emphasis leads to a Birth-Age 5 (preschool) Utah Professional Special Education license.  

The Minor in Special Education provides an opportunity for undergraduate students who are not pursuing a career in special education to better understand and support the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. The minor program is designed for students' cross multiple fields of study, who are likely to work with students with disabilities and their families in the context of their chosen career.

The Student Experience

Students who want to get involved on campus and in the community are encouraged to join the Education & Advocacy Bennion Center Student Group, the Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC), and/or the Special Education Student Advisory Committee. In addition, the Department of Special Education, and the Urban Institute for Teacher Education host community outreach events, which will give you the chance to professionally network and socialize with other students and faculty. If you want to enrich your studies, consider completing an undergraduate research project, connecting with the Utah Education Network and the Utah Education Policy Center and/or completing a learning abroad experience.

Career Opportunities

Once you have graduated, you will apply the skills gained from your coursework and student teaching experience to a career in special education as a preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school teacher. Remain in Utah and work in a school system here or move to another state to practice your special education skills in a new environment and community (your teaching license is transferrable). For students who complete graduate programs, careers as administrators, principals, professors, counselors, or advisors are also possible.

Last Updated: 7/15/24