Education - Early Childhood and Special Education

Children with special needs and learning differences are being identified earlier and more accurately than ever before. Between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts the demand for special education teachers in both elementary and secondary schools to grow by 17 percent. With more and more students requiring individualized attention, a major in special education prepares aspiring teachers for a fulfilling and important career.

Special education majors put their skills to use in a variety of ways, from working exclusively in special education classrooms structured for students with individualized education programs (IEP) to consulting with general education teachers to help adapt lessons for students with special needs. For special education teachers, this means each day is different, varied and challenging.

In the United States, special education has come to include students who have an assortment of mental, emotional, physical, sensory and learning disabilities. These can include learning difficulties like dyslexia, or social and life-skills diagnoses such as anxiety and autism spectrum disorders. Majoring in early childhood education and special education at Saint Joseph's prepares graduates for all aspects of teaching students with special needs through a curriculum that emphasizes assessment, intervention, social and behavioral disabilities and inclusive environments.

In addition, the Office of Student Teaching and Field Experiences helps students coordinate the required field experiences or labs, as well as their full-time, fourteen-week student teaching placement. Students who successfully complete the early childhood education and special education program, maintain a GPA of 3.0 and pass the required Praxis exams - knowledge and skill assessment exams required for certification - can apply for Pennsylvania Level 1 teacher certifications in both Special Education and PreK-4 teaching.