B.S. Special Education

Are you interested in helping students with disabilities achieve great things?
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Careers and Salary Annual Employment Report
Delivery On Campus or Online

UW-Stout's Bachelor of Science in Special Education program prepares future teachers to educate students with learning, cognitive, emotional and behavioral disabilities. This cross-categorical versatility combined with qualification to teach ages 5 through 21 ensures maximum employability in school districts. 

Program Highlights

  • Personal faculty support and advisement
  • Early and varied field placements
  • Cross-categorical licensure
  • Instruct kindergarten through adolescence, including ages 5 through 21

Additional Program-related Offerings

  • Post-Baccalaureate Certification
  • Autism Certificate

Graduate Q&A: Kayla Steinmetz

Following is a Q&A with one of the 1,375 students who received a diploma May 6 at UW-Stout.
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As a special educator, your mission is to both advocate for your students and their families while providing an appropriate level education for each student’s ability. To succeed, you’ll need to know how to assess the characteristics of the learners you serve, design effective teaching strategies, and develop the right attitude to practice within established standards.

You’ll work with general education teachers to:

  • Develop lesson plans, materials, tests and access student learning
  • Adapt curriculum to be appropriate for each student
  • Teach specific learning strategies and study skills

The special education teacher responsibilities also include:

  • Assessment
  • Developing individual education and transition plans
  • Working with families and other support services

Increasingly, students with disabilities have been integrated into general education settings. Their education is usually supplemented by support services provided by a special education case manager. As a special education teacher, you must possess a working knowledge of all general education curriculum subjects and content.


100% of Our Graduates are Employed or Continuing Education

Many program graduates become special education teachers and enjoy meaningful careers making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities.

As a graduate of UW-Stout's Special Education program, you’ll be eligible to receive a Wisconsin teaching license in cross-categorical special education. 

Preparing for Special Education

A college preparatory background is recommended if you are interested in the special education program. English, science, mathematics, social studies, art and music are important as these areas are all included in teaching children and young adults.

Starting Out

Your coursework is arranged so that special education courses can be taken at the same time as general education requirements. General education courses include English composition, speech, psychology, history, biology and math. Faculty members are highly qualified and eager to help you with course and career choices. Help also is available through the Advisement and Career Centers, the Counseling Center and Career Services.

As You Progress

The curriculum includes courses in:

  • Educational psychology
  • Multiculturalism
  • Classroom management
  • Vocational evaluation
  • Behavioral intervention in schools
  • School, family and community collaboration

You’ll also develop techniques used to teach across categories of disabilities, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. Completing a variety of field experiences – from your sophomore year through to a full semester of student teaching – will give you the experience you need to succeed. Special education faculty and students also regularly engage in outreach service and collaboration within the region and state.

Admission Requirements

New Freshmen

  • There are no additional requirements for new freshmen.

Transfer Students

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher from the last institution attended.

Students who meet this requirement will be admitted to the university as a Pre-Education major. Subsequent acceptance into a teacher education major and enrollment in professional education coursework will require successful completion of Benchmark I requirements. Additional information can be found at the School of Education website.

Career Opportunities

According to the 2014–15 Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of special education teachers is projected to grow six percent from 2012 to 2022. … Employment growth will be driven by continued demand for special education services. Many job opportunities will stem from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation."

With the exception of teachers who work with students with profound and multiple disabilities in self-contained classrooms, the vast majority of special education teachers now work in regular education settings with students who have learning, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral disabilities, thus the needs for cross-categorical certification.

When students with disabilities are served outside of regular education classrooms it is typically in a "resource room" where students with various disabilities are provided specialized instruction, either individually or in small groups. The teacher may spend some time with a student or small group working on such things as study skills, preparing for a test, organization and test-taking strategies, and other strategies that help them learn more effectively and efficiently.

The individual education and placement plans developed for students with special needs are increasingly driven by the student’s instructional and behavioral needs rather than by category of disability diagnosis. Similarly, special education teachers are assigned a caseload of students with special needs based on their education plans rather than disability. Cross-categorical certification allows teachers to effectively plan curriculum for and successfully teach a wide variety of students.

SE Advisory Board

2018 SE Advisory Board

  • Tony Beardsley, Program Director
  • Melissa Caine, President, SCEC
  • Nikki Deli, Alumni - Spooner School District
  • Anthony Hartung, Alumni - Woodbury, MN
  • Stephanie Hotujec, Alumni and Graduate Student, Special Education Teacher, Durand High School
  • Dana Maney, Director of Special Education, CESA 11
  • Kevin McDonald, College of Technology, Engineering, and Management
  • Bobby Nyland, Student Ambassador for Special Education
  • Laura Schmidt, Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • Cory Wahl, Director of Special Education, MNCS
  • Sandy White, UW-Stout Online

Get Your Special Education Degree Online

Our Special Education online, degree completion program is designed for working adults. 

Online Program Highlights

  • Courses delivered 100% online by full-time faculty
  • Consistent Fall, Spring, and Summer program course offerings
  • Support from Adult Student Services Coordinators and Distance Librarians
  • Articulate your Associate's Degree or Technical Diploma to a Bachelor's Degree

Online Program Sequence Matrix

Our full-time tenured or tenure-track program faculty have worked to create an enhanced online learning environment. Upon graduation, you will be ready to provide instruction, assessment and curriculum development for children with disabilities and their families.

Online Costs, Application and Transfer Information

UW-Stout's online Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education prepares you for a rewarding career with children and their families.


  •  $334 per undergraduate credit — customized instruction rate.

Financial Aid

Students who are attending another institution, but are planning to receive their degree from UW-Stout, may be eligible to receive aid from UW‐Stout. In these cases, UW‐Stout is considered the Home Institution and the other campus is considered the Visiting Institution.


To apply for the online Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, you need to apply to UW-Stout.

Transfer Students

Note: When filling out the application form, be sure to make a note in the student comment section that you intend to apply to the "online program." 


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