Early Childhood Option, Bachelor of Science in Education Degree
Special educators are highly trained professionals who provide specifically designed instruction and services to children and youth with disabilities. A small percentage of graduates work in private schools, residential facilities, hospitals, clinics and student homes. The majority, however, work in the public schools in:
Self-contained classrooms. Only 20 percent of students with disabilities spend most of their school day in a classroom specifically set aside for children with disabilities.
Resource rooms. Most special education teachers work in resource rooms, where they provide specialized instruction to students with disabilities who come in for part of the school day, either individually or in small groups.
General education classrooms. In an increasing number of schools, students with disabilities receive most, if not all, of their instruction in a general education classroom where special educators work closely with general education teachers.
Employment opportunities in special education teaching are expected to grow 21 to 35 percent through 2015, an increase of more than 150,000 positions. Typical salaries range between $26,000 to more than $65,000. A national shortage of well-trained, qualified professional special educators assures our graduates teaching positions in Missouri and across the nation.
Special Education Requirements
Central Missouri's special education programs are concentrated around the Professional Standards and Competencies established by the Council for Exceptional Children, the world's largest professional organization for special educators. Specialization options at UCM include early childhood special education, severe developmental disabilities, and mild/moderate cross-categorical disabilities. Although each area of specialization contains coursework specific to that categorical area, several fundamental courses are required of all special education majors as state certification requirements.
A special education program faculty adviser works closely with each student to ensure courses are taken in proper sequence and timely admissions to the program are made. Admission to the special education program entails completion of core foundation courses with at least a "C"; completion of 48 semester hours with at least six hours at UCM; an overall GPA of 2.5; portfolio check and approval by the faculty adviser; successful completion of the College Basic Academic Skills Exam (C-BASE); and recommendation from the faculty upon successful completion of the program qualifying examination.
UCM's Student Council for Exceptional Children chapter is one of the largest and most active student CEC chapters in Missouri. Opportunities for involvement, networking, socialization and leadership abound in this pre-professional group for aspiring special educators.
UCM's special education faculty includes five full-time teacher educators who have extensive backgrounds in the public schools as teachers and administrators. Actively engaged in research, scholarship and community service, these faculty members bring theory and practice together in classes that are small and interactive. Students get to know faculty from the very first course, and learn how technology and diversity are integral components of contemporary special education classrooms. All faculty members hold positions of leadership in state, regional and national professional organizations related to individuals with disabilities.
The special education programs at Central Missouri are fully accredited by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education programs (NCATE), the Council for Exceptional Children, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and the Higher Learning Commission (formerly North Central Association of Colleges and Schools).
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