Special education is a demanding and challenging career path — and it’s also one of the most rewarding, satisfying teaching roles you can find. Your work will have a profound, lasting impact on your students’ lives.
There’s also a growing need for special education teachers nationwide; in Indiana, it’s estimated that 13,900 new positions will be created through 2029. To become a special ed teacher, you’ll first need to complete your bachelor’s degree — including the coursework and student teaching — required to take the special education licensure exam for the state of Indiana.
Majoring in special education equips you with a highly specialized, marketable skill set, which can lead to a range of other special education jobs: leading community programs, working in curriculum development or providing support services to students and their families, to name a few.
Job placement rate for USF special education graduates
Median annual salary for special ed teachers in Indiana (BLS, 2019)
of field experience before graduation
With an academic mission rooted in values of respect and dignity for all, the University of Saint Francis is an incredibly fitting environment to prepare for purposeful work, such as a career in special education.
Expert instruction, a well-rounded curriculum and extensive field experience will prepare you to educate and inspire students of all abilities and learning styles, in grades Pre-K through12.
You will get into the field right from your first semester in the special education program:
Your 300+ hours engaging with students of all backgrounds will take you to public, private and religious schools, and in urban, suburban and rural settings.
You will spend a semester paired with a professional special education teacher. Under their mentorship, you will apply what you’ve learned in a classroom setting and build confidence in your professional skills.
All USF education majors also participate in professional development and networking events such as the Best Practices Showcase, which highlights educators who demonstrate outstanding teaching practices.
Class sizes are small at USF, so you will get personal attention from faculty mentors who are experts in their field. You’ll also have access to the Antoinette V. Murray Cougar Classroom, a learning lab filled with technology, resources and materials — everything you need to create lesson plans and get ready for student-teaching.
Leading and serving others through campus organizations will help prepare you to become a special ed teacher. Here are just a few that might interest you:
One summer I worked at an equine therapy camp for students with special needs. That experience fueled my interest in special education. When it was time to student-teach, my professor helped place me in a special education classroom in a Catholic school — another goal of mine!
Claire Manning ’20
Elementary education/special education
After you graduate and pass your licensure exam, you’ll be ready to become a special ed teacher, but that’s not all you can do with a bachelor’s in special education. There’s a wide range of special education jobs in schools, recreational facilities, community agencies and healthcare facilities:
With a master’s degree in special education you can pursue additional opportunities in teaching, counseling and school administration.
USF graduates teach and provide educational services in public and private school settings such as:
Teachers are life-long learners: You’re likely to return to the classroom to earn continuing education credits, graduate certificates or other credentials to help you advance your career.
USF offers graduate programs in education, special education, school psychology and school counseling. Our special education majors have also been accepted into programs at:
I was hired into a teaching position before I graduated. I was halfway through my student placement when I was offered the job. I credit the university and my professors — they prepared me better than I could have imagined!
Jordyn Rigler ’17
Special education teacher at Northside High School
The Department of Education is accredited by the Indiana Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which was previously known as the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
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An academic plan is a general blueprint showing how one might complete the degree, semester by semester. Get an idea on what each semester could look like.