A major in special education prepares you to be a professional who works with students with mild to moderate disabilities in grades pre-K through 12. Our program focuses on research-validated instructional and assessment practices. You’ll have field-based experiences from your first classes through your senior year. Field experiences will provide you with opportunities to work with children and adolescents who have learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorders and intellectual disabilities. These experiences occur across various placement settings, including both elementary and middle/high school levels, which allows you to apply your knowledge and skills in real-life situations. In the last year of the program, the practical experiences culminate in a two-semester sequence of field-based training under the mentorship of school and University supervisors.
- Our program is accredited by the NCATE and the International CEC.
- Our students exceed the state’s minimum requirement for field hours before student teaching.
- Our student teaching internship exceeds the state’s certification requirements.
- Our students meet requirements for highly qualified status as a special educator as defined under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
- By passing the PRAXIS tests for elementary education, students may add an endorsement to the special education certification to teach in elementary education.
WHAT YOU'LL STUDY
You’ll learn about formal and informal assessment strategies, IEP planning and implementation, and principles of effective lesson design and delivery across content areas. During the third year of the program, your courses will focus on characteristics/procedures for learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, intellectual disabilities and autism, as well as early intervention and educational assessment. You’ll also take general education methods courses in teaching reading, science and social studies.
During the final year of the program, your special education courses will focus on teaching reading and mathematics to students with disabilities, managing behavior and addressing the needs of students at the secondary level. Our program emphasizes carefully sequenced and supervised field experiences, which address students with disabilities at different ages and abilities and within numerous public school educational settings.
You’ll spend 10 hours in the field in early intervention as a sophomore and approximately 30 hours in conjunction with courses offered during the third year of the program. More than 160 hours are associated with the senior-year field experience. The spring semester of the final year in the program includes a full-time, 12-week student teaching placement in a public school. You’ll also present an electronic portfolio highlighting major performance assessments across the program and your accomplishments in clinical teaching during the field experiences and student teaching.
EXPERIENCES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
The College of Education is committed to providing all students with purposeful, challenging and diverse experiences. It is through a range of carefully constructed, challenging and classroom-based instruction and field-based experiences that students recognize the inherent dignity and value of all individuals, promote equity in education and advocate on behalf of children, families and communities.
Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.
WHERE OUR RECENT GRADUATES HAVE GONE
Fort Mill School District
Special Education Teacher
Richland One School District
Preschool Self-Contained Teacher
Liberty Elementary School
Self-Contained Learning Disabilities Special Education Teacher
Wren Middle School
Self-Contained Special Education Teacher
College Park Middle School
Special Education Teacher
Wake County Public School System
Self-Contained Classroom Teacher
Summerville High School
RECENT POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
M.Ed. Special Education
M.A. Counseling Program
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
COMMON CAREER AREAS
- Pre-K through 12th grade
- Special Services
- Title 1
- Guidance Counseling
- School Psychology
- School Social Work
- Occupational and Physical Therapy
- Audiology and Speech Pathology
- Library and Information Services
- Curriculum Supervision
- Subject Area Supervision
FIND OUT MORE
Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.
Alumni Distinguished Professor