Special Education

Teacher working with a young student in a classrooom

Do you believe everyone should live happy, healthy and productive lives?

Then you would be an excellent candidate for a career in special education. Deciding to become a special educator, you will have an important impact on the lives of those you serve. Special education programs focus on preparing thoughtful, reflective, and responsive teachers who provide diverse learning experiences. You will have opportunities to learn from and work with knowledgeable, experienced professors committed to your academic and professional success. The special education faculty provide authentic learning experiences both in and out of the classroom through supervised clinical experiences and other activities.

The study of Special Education prepares students with the skills, knowledge, and expertise to become highly proficient and effective educators. All programs provide experiential applications for students throughout the program. If you are interested in working with persons who have exceptionalities or in improving your skills in these areas, you should discuss your plans with a member of the Special Education faculty.  

Help others achieve their goals.

You are passionate about helping those with exceptionalities to learn and achieve their goals. Our special education program​ will help you gain a foundational understanding of working with children and young adults. Our undergraduate and graduate-level programs offer many opportunities for hands-on experiences as well as research-based opportunities to grow and learn in your field. You'll put what you learn to the test. Refine it. Make it better. And test it again. If this sounds like something that interests you, then special education may be your calling.

About the Special Education Unit

The Special Education unit is home to two undergraduate programs and one graduate program. We offer undergraduate majors in cognitive impairment and emotional impairment, and a graduate program leading to initial and additional endorsements in autism spectrum disorder, cognitive impairment, and specific learning disability.

Undergraduates: Broaden your employment opportunities by pairing a special education major with the PK-3 or 3-6 majors.

Choose from:

Pairing the elementary major with the major in Cognitive Impairment will prepare educators to meet the diverse needs of students with intellectual disabilities. Many children with disabilities learn best alongside their same-age peers in the general education classroom and some learn best in classrooms designed specifically to meet their unique educational needs. The Cognitive Impairment major prepares elementary teachers with the knowledge and expertise to meet the needs of students ages birth to 26 with intellectual disabilities in a variety of educational contexts.

Pairing the elementary major with the major in Emotional Impairment will prepare educators to meet the diverse needs of students with social, emotional, or behavioral disabilities. Many children with disabilities learn best alongside their same-age peers in the general education classroom and some learn best in classrooms designed specifically to meet their unique educational needs. The Emotional Impairment major will equip educators with the knowledge and expertise to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students with emotional impairments in a variety of educational contexts and across a range of grade levels (preK-12). 

Highlights about the program

  • Become dually certified in both special education and regular education with an elementary or secondary focus.
  • Participate in CMU's disABILITY Awareness events, which offer resources and support to individuals with disabilities.
  • Make a difference by volunteering for Connections that Count, a program that allows CMU students to volunteer with individuals who have disabilities of all ages throughout the community. These opportunities include social interactions, recreational activities, academics, life skills, and much more!
  • ​Remain connected to the latest technology, not only in the college classroom, but to accommodations and modifications to eliminate or reduce barriers for all learners.