Developing Dedicated Teachers that Celebrate Diversity

The Special Education Department at St. Cloud State prepares dedicated, compassionate teachers who are ready to meet the unique needs and learning requirements of learners with disabilities. Our students commit themselves to the rewarding path of teaching special education students who are all too often left behind in a traditional classroom.  

Programs in the Special Education Department are thoughtfully designed in partnership with local Minnesota schools to grant future special educators the most comprehensive experience possible. Coursework is frequently reviewed and refreshed to incorporate best practices for educating students with disabilities, including adaptive learning technology, safe learning environments, behavioral assessments, and Individualized Education Plans. Students will graduate with hours of experience under their belts, having put theory into practice through St. Cloud State’s ample student teaching opportunities. 

Our department prepares compassionate, knowledgeable special educators to teach individuals with a variety of specific disabilities, including: 

  • Autism 
  • Development disabilities 
  • Learning disabilities 
  • Emotional disabilities 
  • Behavioral disabilities  


Make an Impact on the Next Generation of Students

Special Education classes at St. Cloud State University celebrate human diversity and strive to create classrooms where learners of every ability can further their education. Many department programs are individually developed to address specific needs and disabilities in classrooms  

As a student in the Special Education Program, you’ll learn how to work with students with diverse learning needs, create inclusive settings, and work collaboratively with other professionals.  These innovative programs appeal to students who are life-long learners and want to make a lasting difference. Our students are flexible, patient, and advocates for people with disabilities. 

6.7 million

students ages 3-21

The Need for Special Education

In 2015, the number of students ages 3-21 receiving special education services was 6.7 million, or 13 percent of all public school students. (source)

Your Education in Special Education

Record teacher shortages are creating a high demand for teachers and related professionals, both in Minnesota and across the United States. While the teacher shortage affects most grade levels and subjects, it's especially evident in the field of special education, where many school districts are partnering with universities to recruit teachers for their programs. 

Teacher Prep 

Special Education graduates learn general education classroom skills for K-12 students, as well as the necessary aptitude to work in special education classrooms. Our students complete a common sequence of coursework with complementing field experiences and student teaching opportunities.   

Teaching licensure programs are approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Boards (PELSB).  Undergraduates will obtain the Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) Licensure in the state of Minnesota for Kindergarten through age 21. After obtaining the ABS licensure, students will have completed most of the coursework for additional licenses offered at the graduate level. Our department also offers several graduate degree and licensure programs, as well as a master’s degree path. 

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