The Utah SPED Program Guidebook is intended to assist potential special education teachers in determining which of the special education programs in the State of Utah best meets their goals and interests. The guidebook is composed of four tabs, one for each of the four special education programs: Utah State University, University of Utah, Weber State University, and Brigham Young University.
- Utah State University
- University of Utah
- Weber State University
- Brigham Young University
- Southern Utah University
Utah State University
Utah State’s Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation is consistently ranked among the top 20 education programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Students graduating from USU with a degree in special education are highly sought after by school districts across Utah and the United States. Utah State has a 100% job placement rate for special education graduates, with many students getting hired before they even graduate.
The department offers students the option to obtain a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in one of three special education areas:
(a) Birth to 5 Special Education, (b) Mild/Moderate Disabilities, and (c) Severe Disabilities. All three areas of emphasis are available on campus. The Mild/Moderate Disabilities emphasis is also offered through distance education. The Department of Education also offers multiple Master’s degree programs in Special Education.
Bachelor's Degree in Special Education
The department of Special Education at USU offers a number of unique educational and training opportunities for those interested in working with children and youth with disabilities. The program prepares students to work with individuals who have mild, moderate, and severe disabilities, as well as young children with disabilities. Students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with local school districts or on-campus programs.
The special education major is a popular choice for a dual major (meaning students graduate with two separate degrees) for students preparing to become secondary school teachers. Students in teaching majors are often required to choose a minor in a licensable area. Rather than choosing a minor, students can dual major in special education and their teaching major. If students choose this option, they must choose either the mild/moderate disabilities or the severe disabilities emphasis. Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.
Areas of Emphasis
Students must choose an emphasis:
(a) Birth to Age 5 Special Education: This emphasis prepares graduates to work with children ages birth to five years who have disabilities. Children ages birth to three years are typically served by early intervention programs in their homes. Children three to five years are taught in public preschool settings within local school districts. Students in this emphasis may choose to combine this emphasis with either the mild/moderate disabilities emphasis or the severe disabilities emphasis.
(b) Mild/Moderate Disabilities: This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have high-incidence disabilities, such as learning disabilities, mild/moderate intellectual disabilities, behavior and emotional disorders, or communication disorders. Educators work with children in grades K-12 in a resource-room setting or inclusive setting teaching academic skills.
(c) Severe Disabilities: This emphasis prepares graduates to work with students who have low-incidence disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, and multiple disabilities. Graduates typically teach academic and life skills in a K-12 classroom or in a post-secondary setting (students age 18-21).
Deaf or Hard of Hearing Endorsement:
Utah State University provides graduate level coursework and practicum training opportunities for currently licensed special educators and speech-language pathologists to earn the DHH endorsement. The program is designed to accommodate schedules of working professionals. All coursework is offered online and students receive mentoring from a USU supervisor within their current employment settings. This 20 credit hour program requires three semesters to complete, including attendance at a two-week summer workshop held on the USU campus. Some pre-requisites may apply. Tuition support is available to qualified applicants. Please click here for more information.
Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to the department as pre-majors.
Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions or from other USU majors will be admitted as pre-majors in good standing, with a GPA of at least 2.75.
Acceptance to the Program:
- In order to become a special education major, students must be accepted into the program, which includes the following:
- - Completion of at least 40 semester credits, including the ones you’re currently taking, with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher
- - Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
- - Complete a speech and hearing test
- - Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
- - Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before applying)
- - Passing score on the Special Education Math exam
- International students have additional admissions requirements.
Master's Degree in Special Education
The master's degree in special education at Utah State University is considered an advanced level of preparation for professionals who work with children, youth, and adults with disabilities. It is designed to develop and improve teaching skills in the classroom as well as to develop the skills of those who work with individuals with disabilities in community-based settings.
Rehabilitation: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Education or Science and concurrent education leadership emphasis. The three programs are designed to serve different populations with different career goals. Program design and course requirements are consistent with the general purposes of each degree option.
Follow the links below for specific program information and program requirements.
- - Master of Science
- - Master of Education
- - M.Ed. with Administrative Supervisory Licensure
- - M.S. with BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) Coursework
- - M.S./M.Ed. Transition Concentration
Scholarships and Grants
Scholarships, assistantships, grants-in-aid, loans, and work-study programs are available to students through the University's Financial Aid Office, through the College, and through the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation.
The T.H. Bell Loan is a fund set up within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. To be eligible for application to this loan, students must meet ALL of the following qualifications:
- - Currently enrolled at Utah State University
- - Two semesters of college course work completed as of February 1st
- - Admitted to the teacher education program (at the time of application)
- - Cumulative (career) GPA of 3.0 or above
- - Utah resident (at the time of application)
- - At least two semesters remaining before completion of program
NOTE: Part-time students; students who already hold a bachelor's degree, master's, 2nd bachelor's and other non-traditional students are now eligible to apply as long as you are majoring in an area of critical shortage. The minimum number of credits required per semester is 6 credits. To download the application click on the following link: http://www.coe.usu.edu/students/bellapplication.pdf.
There are several scholarships available through the department. Applications are due by Feb 1st of each year. All applications are available through the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Dean's Office.
- - Matthew David Hillyard Endowment Scholarship Fund: The Lyle Hillyard family established this scholarship for students in the Special Education Department.
- - Donald F. Kline Scholarship Endowment Fund: This scholarship is for an upper division or graduate student in the Department of Special Education who demonstrates superior academic achievement and has financial need.
- - Joseph Steven Meyrick Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is for a Special Education major, who has a disability or someone with a disability in his/her family and also has financial need. Students applying for this scholarship should address these criteria in their statement of need.
- - Leon G. and Faye Sonne Stucki Scholarship Endowment: Established by Leon G. and Faye Sonne Stucki; awards are made to students who have junior class standing with a declared major in Special Education and Rehabilitation and a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
- - Undergraduate Special Education Major Scholarship: Upper class Special Education majors are eligible, for this award.
USU Financial Aid Office
For more information about other financial options please visit the Financial Aid Office: http://www.usu.edu/finaid/
On Campus Advisor
Office: EDUC 371
Phone: (435) 797-3252
Distance Program Advisor
Office: HSRC 309
Phone: (435) 797-7575
University of Utah
The Department of Special Education at U of U prepares special education teacher candidates and general education teacher candidates to work with students with disabilities in the areas of mild/moderate disabilities, severe disabilities, early childhood special education, vision impairments, and hearing impairments. At the graduate level, the Department of Special Education prepares tomorrow's leaders in the field at both the masters and doctoral degree levels.
Students can receive a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and be eligible for a Utah Basic teaching license in any of the following specialties:
- - Mild/Moderate Disabilities
- - Severe Disabilities
- - Early Childhood Special Education
- - Visual Impairments
- - Hearing Impairments
All specialties can be completed on-campus. The severe specialty can also be completed through distance education in Southern Utah.
The Special Education major is a sequenced program that includes a professional CORE of courses to introduce important principles followed by SPECIALIZATION courses in a specific area of disability. The specialization sequence of the program includes extensive pre-student-teaching field experiences followed by a full semester of student teaching. Students must apply for admission to the program. Enrollment is limited and admission is competitive. The Department admits students twice a year.
Students must meet the following requirements:
- - Admission requires completion of 40 semester credit hours of university course work (including SpEd 3010Human Exceptionality, or it's equivalent)
- - Three letters of recommendation
- - A written (two-page) professional statement
- - Official college and university transcripts, and current PRAXIS_PPST scores
- * A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (from all colleges and universities attended) is highly recommended.
Applications for admission to the major can be obtained from the Department of Special Education (Milton Bennion Hall 221, 801-581-8121) or by mail at the University of Utah, Department of Special Education 1705 Campus Center Drive, Room 221, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.
The Live Interactive Broadcast Equalizing Rural Access to Teacher Education (LIBERATE) is designed to address the critical shortage of highly qualified special education teachers in rural and remote areas of Utah. Specifically, during the project period LIBERATE will deliver a comprehensive post-bachelor teacher licensure program in severe disabilities to two cohorts of 15 teacher candidates located in a minimum of three distance sites. The program will be delivered via synchronous internet based video conferencing, web-based support resources, and on-site supervision and supports of teacher candidates in their field experiences. Teacher candidates will receive support for the costs of tuition, books, a laptop computer to assure their ability to access course materials and project faculty, and a stipend. The program will be delivered collaboratively by the Department of Special Education at the University of Utah and school districts located in the central and southern regions of the state.
LIBERATE course work will be delivered to cooperating school districts via IVC by University of Utah faculty members. Field experience and student teaching supervision is provided by University of Utah clinical faculty members in conjunction with professionals in the cooperating school districts. Students admitted to the LIBERATE must agree to full-time study for four consecutive semesters in order to the complete the basic requirements of the program. Additional courses may be required depending on the student's educational background and experience.
Liberate Admissions Requirements:
The Program requires students to have a bachelors degree in anything, a 2.8 GPA and letter os support from district personel
For a complete admissions checklist, visit: http://liberate.ed.utah.edu/admissions-checklist.htm
For more information, visit: http://liberate.ed.utah.edu/
For more information on Master's degree option at the U of U visit: http://www.ed.utah.edu/sped/SPEDfuture_student.html
U of U also has an MEd that is based in the Graduate Center in St George, but has the capacity to be offered anywhere in Utah. They have focused on the Southern half of the state (we define as south of Nebo). The website for the graduate center is http://continue.utah.edu/dixie/index.php. It offers an MEd degree without licensure. The application requirements are the same as the on campus program. While the center is in St George it can accommodate delivery anywhere in the state over the UEN network.
College of Education Scholarships
Click on the links below to learn more about the College of Education Scholarships available at the U of U:
- - Scholarship Information Session
- - U of U Tuition Calculator
- - College of Education Scholarship Handbook
- - COE Scholarship Application
- - Steffensen Cannon Scholarship
- - Native American Scholarship Booklet
Terrel H. Bell TEaching INventive Loan Program
Special Education Advisor
Office: 227 Milton Bennion Hall (MBH)
J. Matt Jameson PhD
Severe Program Coordinator
Distance Education Program Coordinator
Weber State University
Special Education courses at Weber State University are offered through the Department of Teacher Education in the Jerry and Vickie Moyes College of Education.
WSU offers programs leading to licensure by the Utah State Office of Education in mild-to-moderate disabilities.
Undergraduates on-campus can complete the Special Education major or can add the necessary classes for Special Education licensure to their secondary teaching major
Project PRIME is a program specifically designed to accommodate non-traditional participants who are already working in local schools as paraprofessionals or on emergency Letter of Authorization.
WSU also offers a program for in-service teachers who wish to add a license to teach special education
Undergraduates may choose the Special Education Major. These individuals are eligible for licensure in Special Education Mild-Moderate (K - 12).
Undergraduates with a Secondary teaching major may choose to add Special Education licensure courses. Upon graduation they are eligible for licensure in their major field (grades 7-12) as well as in Special Education Mild-Moderate (K - 12).
Special Education Major Requirements:
- - Program Prerequisite:
Provisional admission to Teacher Education Program (see the admission requirements described under the Teacher Education Department: http://www.weber.edu/COE/tedappl.html)
- - Grade Requirements:
Special Education majors must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all college/university work. They must also achieve at least a "B-" grade in each course in the major to continue in the program.
- - Credit Hours Requirements:
minimum of 120 credit hours is required for graduation-a minimum of 45 semester hours is required within the major. A total of 40 upper division credit hours is required (courses numbered 3000 or above)
- - Admission Requirements:
Declare a program of study. Follow the provisional admission requirements outlined under the Teacher Education department.
- - Advisement:
All Special Education majors should meet with an advisor in the Teacher Education Advisement Center and also an assigned advisor from the Special Education faculty.
Special Education Licensure Courses
Meet with an advisor for more information
Project PRIME (Preparing Research-based Inclusive Multidisciplinary Educators) is an innovative, alternative program specifically designed to accommodate non-traditional participants who are already working in local schools as paraprofessionals or on emergency Letters of Authorization.
PRIME candidates are admitted to a specific cohort. This means that they must commit to taking and passing two courses per semester, including summer, for four consecutive semesters. The Department of Teacher Education requires all candidates to maintain a 3.0 GPA, with no grade below B-, and a satisfactory disposition rating. Candidates who do not meet these expectations may be dismissed from the PRIME program. Because this grant funds cohorts of students, individuals who repeat or delay a course must do so at their own expense.
Candidates must be first admitted to Weber State University, which can be completed through an online process at http://www.weber.edu/Admissions/StudentApplication.html. Upon admission to WSU, candidates will be assigned an official student number and a student email account. This email account must be used for all official correspondence.
Next, candidates must be admitted to the WSU PRIME Program.
In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and must be currently working with students with mild-moderate disabilities. Candidates are nominated by their school district or charter school, and names are forwarded to the Project Director, Dr Fran Butler. Selection criteria include prior post-secondary experience, submission of a brief essay outlining reasons for wishing to become a special educator, and an oral interview. Meeting these requirements qualifies an applicant to be considered for provisional admission. Full admission is dependent upon quality of work and timely progress through the program. Each participant's progress and performance will be monitored regularly by the Project staff. PRIME also recognizes specific program and diversity needs of professional educators as well as students with disabilities, and it reserves the right to consider such factors in the admission of candidates.
Complete and attach the following before an admission interview can be scheduled:
- - Prime Application Form.
- - A copy of your current Utah Educator License, of it not licensed, a letter from you district stating that you are employed working with students with mild-moderate disabilities
- - Unofficial (student copy) transcripts for all post-secondary work.
- - Letter of nomination from your district/school.
- - At least one letter of recommendation from a person who has observed you in a teaching or work capacity.
- - A short essay addressing the following questions:
- - Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why are you interested in obaining a license to teach Special Education?
- - Tell us about your college experiences. What were your major and minor? How has your coursework prepared you for teaching?
- - What is your present position? What do you enjoy most and least about your present situation?
- - What experience do you have in teaching children with special needs? What techniques do you use in teaching these students?
- - What are your thoughts about which types of educational environment is best for students with special needs? (Teaching styles, leangin atmosphere, curriculum, behavior management)
- - What do you expect to be doing in five years? In ten years?
Click here for a downloadable application for the PRIME Program
WSU provides more than $50 million in financial aid and scholarships each year. WSU is already among the most affordable universities in the West, and with many scholarship and financial aid options available WSU can make sure a college education is within you reach.
Check out their website at:
T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Payment
- - For students already admitted into the Department of Teacher Education
- - Loan is repaid by teaching one year in Utah's public schools for each year the loan is received
T.H. Bell Teaching Incentive application form
For further information, contact the WSU Teacher Education Advisement Center in Room ED 230 or visit http://departments.weber.edu/TeacherEducation.
Dr. Fran Butler
Weber State University Department of Teacher Education
Brigham Young University
Special education courses at BYU are offered through the David O. McKay School of Education in the Counseling Psychology and Special Education Department (CPSE).
Students can complete a BS degree on-campus with an emphasis in one of two special education areas:
- - Mild/Moderate
- - Severe
A Master of Science Special Education Program is also offered at BYU.
Areas of Emphasis
- - Certification to teach students with learning or behavior difficulties, which impede normal or expected academic achievement
- - Elementary teachers work primarily with beginning or remedial skills in reading, written language, math, and social behaviors.
- - Secondary teachers address these skills in addition to preparing students to transition to vocations or to post-secondary education.
- - Students with mild/moderate disabilities spend most of their time in a normal classroom setting, sometimes receiving special education depending on the individual. Teachers will work with students who may have learning disabilities, communication disorders, or emotional and behavioral disorders. Some students may have intellectual disabilities, high-functioning autism, or difficulties that result from traumatic brain injury.
- - Certification to teach students with disabilities that require functional academics and life skills instruction (e.g., communication, social behavior, and daily living activities).
- - Students may have autism, intellectual disabilities, health impairments and other mental disabilities.
- - Students with severe disabilities may be taught in a self-contained classroom with occasional exposure to a general classroom setting.
B.S. Program: Admission Information
- - CPSE 403
- - CPSE 425 for Mild/Moderate or PETE 461 for Severe
- - These courses must be completed prior to applying to the special education program, along with 20 hours of volunteer work--10 hours each in a mild/moderate and a severe disabilities setting.
- - Preference will be given to applicants with 60 or more general education credit hours completed before beginning the program, experience working with individuals with disabilities (special education exploratory experience), commitment to the profession of special education, or a declared pre-special education major.
- - Students who are accepted must enter the program the semester for which they applied. Those who are planning on serving a mission at the time they apply should specify the first semester they will return back to BYU.
- - Each applicant may apply twice.
- - Applicants must commit to taking all coursework in sequence as listed, including Spring/Summer terms. This is a program in which each student is assigned to a cohort that takes all courses together in the outlined sequence. Deviation from this sequence is not permitted.
- The program starts every Fall Semester.
Special Education Master of Science Program
The Special Education MS Program prepares special educators to provide collaborative leadership to foster moral development and improve learning and social competence of children with exceptionalities and/or challenging behaviors.
The program prepares special educators to work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams in their schools, modeling cooperative teaming and teaching with professionals in related disciplines.
For more information, visit: http://education.byu.edu/cpse/masters/
Scholarships Available Through Education Student Services (ESS)
- - TH Bell Teacher Incentive Loans (click link for more information)
- - Over 56 privately donated McKay School of Education (MSE) scholarship
- - Scholarships are offered to full-time undergraduate and graduate students officially admitted to a McKay School program (part-time undergraduates not eligible).
- - Other undergraduate students majoring in a teacher education program are also eligible.
- - Criteria vary by specific scholarships; the following may be considered: GPA, needs, hometown, major, and dependent children.
- - Scholarships are awarded based primarily on need. Students receiving full tuition via grants; other scholarships; financial support from family/friends; financial aid from federal, state, or local government agencies; or scholarships from BYU or any of its departments or organizations are discouraged from applying for an MSE scholarship.
- - Undergraduates must be enrolled in 14 or more credit hours, unless enrolled in a student teaching/internship class, which reduces the required credit load to 12.
- - Graduates must carry 2 or more credit hours; the scholarship amount awarded to graduate students will be commensurate with the credits carried.
- - Graduate / undergraduate students must be in good standing, and their accounts must be free of any holds.
- - Applicants must maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA. (Extenuating circumstances may be explained in the need essay.)
Program Director, Special Education
Office: 340-B MCKB Brigham Young University
Special Education Secretary
Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education
Office: 340 MCKB Brigham Young University
Southern Utah University
Special education courses at SUU are offered through the Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education and Human Development. SUU offers special education courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Undergraduate Degree Option:
Special Education (Mild/Moderate) Dual-Licensure (K-12) (BS or BA)
To facilitate inclusion with a collaboration emphasis, all students wishing to certify in Mild/Moderate Special Education at SUU must also be certified in elementary or secondary education.
Students planning to teach students with mild/moderate learning, behavioral, or intellectual disabilities must complete the major in mild/moderate special education in addition to either the Elementary Major or the Secondary Education Licensure.
Graduate Non-Degree Seeking Options:
Special Education (Mild/Moderate) License (K-12)
At the graduate level, SUU offers students a non-degree seeking Special Education (Mild/Moderate) License during the summer. The Summer Special Education Hybrid Licensure Program is an affordable practitioner oriented program offered during the summer months. Students will be required to only attend two weeks of face-to-face classes, one at the beginning of the semester and one at the end of the 10 week semester in Cedar City, located in the beautiful red rock high-desert mountains of Southern Utah. This license is primarily designed for secondary Math, Language Arts, or Science teachers, as well as Elementary Teachers, who wish to add this license to their existing license.
Please note: *12 hours of the graduate level Special Education courses can be counted towards elective courses required in the Master of Education program offered at SUU.
Master of Education Link: http://suu.edu/ed/graduate/masters.html
Undergraduate Admission Requirements:
Admission to the elementary or secondary education program is a separate process from Southern Utah University admission. Admission is competitive with a specific number of applicants being admitted each semester. Admission to the PTEP does not guarantee recommendation for license. The SUU Mild/Moderate Special Education program is a very carefully sequenced program. The program is limited to 35 students per group who start each sequence of classes. New sequences of classes start each fall semester.
Admission to the SUU Mild/Moderate Special Education program is contingent on the following:
- - Admission to the PTEP.
- - Completion of SPED 3030 with a grade of “B” or better.
Continued enrollment in the Mild/Moderate Special Education program is contingent on the maintenance of a “B” grade or better in all classes in the program. Application materials and further information regarding this program may be obtained by contacting the Teacher Education Department.
Admissions Link: http://suu.edu/ed/tehd/admission.html
Graduate Summer Hybrid Program Admission Requirements:
Students need to complete the online graduate school application (including payment of the appropriate fee), provide copies of official transcripts, current teaching license, and one letter of recommendation (LEA). Courses begin first week in June every summer as Series A and B. Series can be taken out of order.
Admissions Link: http://www.suu.edu/prostu/graduate-online.html
There are several opportunities available for scholarships and financial add at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Click on the following links for all the details:
Board of Trustees Scholarship, Eccles Scholarships, Beverley Taylor Sorensen Arts Education Scholarship, Terrel H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loans, AmeriCorps, Departmental Scholarships
- - Graduate Tuition & Fees
- - International Student Tuition & Fees
- - Funding & Financial Aid
- - Tuition Payment Plan
- - Scholarships, Tuition Waivers & Assistantships