Special Education
School of Education & Health Sciences

Special Education

Why pursue a degree in Special Education at North Central College?

A degree in special education will prepare you to impact students, classrooms and your community. Our program is designed to equip you with the skills needed to educate and support students with a range of disabilities and learning needs. You will learn how to assess the characteristics of the learners you teach, craft effective teaching strategies and collaborate with families and other support services.

You will explore the history of disability and Special Education along with the policies and laws that led to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You’ll come to understand the legal requirements that are fundamental to the protocols and provisions implemented through the IEP and the discipline.

You’ll graduate ready to connect with diverse learners, provide the appropriate level of education for each student’s ability and improve learner-centered outcomes.


  • Helping students with disabilities achieve great things

  • Creating a learner-centered approach to education

  • Cultivating effective teaching and learning environments for diverse learners

then a degree in SPECIAL EDUCATION might be for you.

Special Education majors:

  • Explore how neurology impacts disability and learning

  • Survey assistive technology and assistive devices that can aid learning

  • Examine the educational and societal barriers experienced by disabled children and adults

  • Plan, implement, and evaluate educational programs


Why Study Special Education at North Central College?

In the Classroom

Coursework topics:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Collaboration with Families, Caregivers, Professionals & the Community
  • Diagnosis & Assessment
  • Disability Law & Policy
  • Equity & Access in Systems of Education
  • Foundations of Teaching & Learning
  • Psychology
  • Social Emotional Learning Interventions
  • Teaching to Exceptionally Diverse Learners:
    • Communication, Reading & Writing
    • Math

Beyond the Classroom

Students will enhance their studies through:

  • Special Education Field Experience: Special Education teacher candidates will have three different field experiences at three different levels of education. These experiences will help teacher candidates determine where their skills are best utilized. The three field experiences include:
    • Elementary School
    • Middle or High School
    • Transition School/Center (18-22-year-old students)
    • Student Teaching Residency: Based on their field experience, teacher candidates will choose which level of education to focus on for their Student Teaching Residency.

Opportunities & Outcomes

Graduates who complete our program will be prepared to teach at all levels from kindergarten to transition programs that service students up to age 22.

  • Career Outcomes: Expected placement rate: 100%
    • There is a nationwide shortage of Special Education teachers
    • Some districts offer a sign-on bonuses of $10,000.
    • In Chicago Public Schools, the 2022-2023 starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $60,000. 
    • Graduates will find positions in public and private schools in Illinois and across the United States.
  • Graduate school opportunities include:
    • Master’s or doctorate degree programs in Special Education
    • Master’s degree program in related services: Speech Language Pathology, School Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Educational Psychology, or Physical Therapy.

Special Education, B.A.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a major Special Education introduces students to the history of disability and Special Education along with the policies and laws that led to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Students explore the legal requirements that are fundamental to the protocols and provisions implemented through the IEP and the discipline. Within the context of how neurology impacts disability and learning, students examine the peer-reviewed evidence-based practices that inform how we manage behavior and implement academic protocols to teach and assess exceptional diverse learners. With a curriculum that is constructed through the lens of Critical Disability Theory, candidates apply conscious cultural responsiveness to remove learning and societal barriers that diverse populations of exceptional learners and their families confront. Accordingly, collaboration with families and all stakeholders is a focus to improve learner-centered outcomes through their entire IDEA-mandated academic life and beyond matriculation through transition to postsecondary outcomes.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Education.

Education Core and Content Preparation Courses

One of the following:

Special Education Courses

Special Education Field Experiences

Education Residency

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

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