Make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities.
Prepare to enter a field that’s growing as increasing numbers of special-needs students enter the classroom. Become a teacher, counselor or social worker who combines kindness and patience with proven instructional techniques and the latest technology.
Become an advocate for students who may be challenged by autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, mental disabilities or sensory impairments. You’ll learn best practices to help students learn, manage their behavior, and prepare for a productive life.
You’ll forge close bonds with your fellow students and create a built-in support system as you enter your career. And your education will take you into the community, to observe experienced instructors and practice teaching before you lead your own classroom. The strong relationships you build with your mentor teachers will expand your professional network, and you may even be offered a job before graduation.
As of Fall 2020, Special Education will no longer accept new majors or offer pathways to elementary (EC-6) or Grade 4-8 teacher certification. While we are unable to accept incoming first-year students considering a career as an elementary school teacher, the university is committed to providing needed coursework for current students in the EC-6 or 4-8 pipeline to graduation.
New students interested in teaching as a discipline can add a minor in Teacher Education or Special Education.
What do our graduates do?
Special Education majors go on to teach in a variety of school districts in Texas and beyond. Here’s a sample.
- Autistic support teacher for Universal Companies
- Special education teacher and case manager at KIPP Texas Public Schools
- Middle-school SCORES teacher, who works with students with high-functioning autism, in Austin Independent School District
- Life skills teacher in Pearland Independent School District
- 7th-grade English language arts and inclusion teacher at Fulmore Middle School in Austin
- Special education teacher at the American International School in Bucharest
Professors in the teacher education department place emphasis on instructional strategies that promote student learning and positive student behavior.
The Interstate New Teacher Assessment Consortium (InTASC) Standards serve as a foundation for our teaching methods. InTASC standards outline what teachers across all content and grade levels should know and be able to do to ensure every K-12 student is prepared to enter college or the workforce in today’s world.
Outside the Classroom
Educational enrichment activities provide an opportunity to:
- Participate in field-based, hands-on learning
- Design and apply assessment, planning, and instructional strategies
- Explore a wide range of instructional settings
- Work with children who have a broad range of moderate learning and behavioral challenges
You are required to complete five-ten hours of classroom observation. Observations take place in public, charter, private, and parochial school classrooms as directed by course instructors.
Clinical Field-Based Observation
Educational immersion is a hallmark of our curriculum. Field-based block courses give you hands-on experiences in community classrooms, exposing you to an environment in which you'll eventually teach. As a result, you will enter the classroom with realistic expectations and sound methods of behavioral management and teaching pedagogy.
The block-course program enables you to build strong relationships with mentor teachers and creates a pipeline to find work after graduation. Our students are highly sought after and top-of-mind candidates at partnering schools. Students have received job offers even before their student teaching requirements have been completed.
Student Teaching is designed to be a "capstone" experience for teacher education students. This six-hour education course locks in theory and practice in a classroom setting. Students learn to implement teaching theories and apply critical thinking skills associated with content courses in their major.
Meet the Faculty
The rewards of teaching are innumerable and motivate us to our greatest potential every day. As teachers in the School of Education, we foster creativity, develop character, and make a tangible difference in the world by preparing new educators who will have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others.
"I can touch the lives of at-risk, special-needs children by preparing future teachers to advocate on behalf of, and support, these students. It is so rewarding when I see one of my college students help a young child who is struggling." — Leslie Loughmiller, EdD, Assistant Professor of Special Education