Department of Special Education and Education Leadership, Woodring College of Education
109 credits (major and professional program)
(plus 20-98 credits depending on content endorsement)
Special Educators need to have extensive knowledge in four areas: they need to know about students and how they learn; they need to know about effective instruction; they need to know about the content of the lessons they will teach; and, they need to know about the context (social, legal, and political) in which they will work. Therefore, training to become a Special Educator will include work in each of these areas. The program includes coursework and extensive supervised practicum experiences in the public schools. The program is rigorous and the expectations are high. However, the rewards are also high. This program will prepare you to be an excellent teacher in whatever position you eventually choose. Our graduates are actively recruited by school districts to work in a variety of rewarding special education settings.
Effective September 1, 2016, teacher candidates who are earning an endorsement in Special Education are required by Washington State to earn a second endorsement in an area other than Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Bilingual Education, or English Language Learner.
Students seeking a bachelor’s degree with recommendation for a Washington State teacher certificate and an endorsement in Special Education must complete the Special Education (P-12) major, the Professional Studies Core, the internship, and a content area endorsement under advisement. Graduates may not provide direct instruction in core academic subjects for which they do not hold a content endorsement unless they provide evidence of meeting federal Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements to teach that subject. They may, however, serve as a consultant to the teacher of record.
Why Consider a Special Education P-12 Plus Content Endorsement Major?
There are two definitions of Special Education. One is the education of students with disabilities. The other is the application of exceptional teaching. We in the Special Education Program at Western Washington University believe very strongly in the second definition. We think that it is our mission to prepare exceptional teachers and, while students who have disabilities often require the services of such teachers, we also believe that there are many other students who can benefit from high quality instruction. We also think that there is much satisfaction to be gained from the acquisition of the highest levels of teaching skill and that the teachers trained in our program benefit professionally and personally from the acquisition of these skills. That is why the word “Special” in our title is a source of pride to us and to our graduates.
| Sample Careers
Special Education Resource Room Teacher | Special Education Teacher | Consultant | Inclusive Classroom Teacher
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
Admission to Western Washington University and admission to the Department of Special Education are required before a student may begin taking courses in education. Requirements include:
- completion of a minimum of 45 credits (see list of recommended GUR courses),
- cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher for the last 45 credits,
- completion of an English composition course, with grade of B- or higher,
- Meet the Washington Education Skills Test-Basic (WEST-B) requirement. This may be met by a) passing the West-B exam, b) SAT minimum scores, c) ACT minimum scores. See the WEST-B Requirement website for more information, wce.wwu.edu/admissions/west-b-requirement. Passing scores must be on file by the application due date.
Enrollment restrictions apply in all teacher education programs. Meeting the above criteria makes the applicant eligible for admission, but does not guarantee admission. Students who meet all criteria are further evaluated by the Department to determine the most qualified applicants. For more information on the application process, contact Teacher Education Admissions in Miller Hall 150, call 360.650.3313, or visit the website at wce.wwu.edu/admissions/teacher-education.
Retention in the program requires continuous demonstration of competence in standard oral and written English in all coursework. Retention also requires maintenance of a 2.75 quarterly GPA including the quarter in which the application was reviewed by the Department of Special Education. The State of Washington requires students to earn a “C” or better in all major endorsement and education courses.
See the Special Education and Education Leadership section of this catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.
Each student will be assigned an adviser when admitted to the Department of Special Education. Students will be assisted and monitored by their adviser on a regular basis throughout their program.
Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in the special education professional program and in all courses required for the endorsement.