Special Education

Special Education Licensure

Degree Type

Teacher Licensure


Education Department

Through Western’s Special Education Licensure program, you’ll develop the skills needed to meet the learning requirements of any student. Through incorporating a variety of philosophies on how to best teach and advocate for students with special needs, you’ll bring your natural sense of empathy and understanding to the classroom and create lasting change in students’ lives.

Program Overview

Bringing patience, compassion and understanding to all learners.

Being a special educator is one the most rewarding jobs in the field of education. They are a passionate, loyal group of education professionals who are always problem solving and finding what helps their students be successful. They focus on the whole student and the student’s family, while collaborating with teaching teams to provide a comprehensive and inclusive educational experience.

Western’s Special Education programs are grounded in the Colorado State Standards for Special Education and Teacher Quality. Each course includes the pedagogical and legal perspective of “the why” alongside the practical application of the primary roles and tasks of a special educator.

Meeting the needs of all students.

As a Special Education teacher, you’ll consider the unique needs of all students while honing your pedagogy skills to create effective understanding across a variety of subjects.


At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Code Title Credits Description
EDUC 611 Strategies for Exceptionalities 3 View
EDUC 612 Assessment and Programming 3 View
EDUC 614 Inclusivity with Collaboration 3 View
EDUC 615 Student Teaching Exceptionalities 3 View
EDUC 630 Inclusivity in the Content Areas 3 View
EDUC 631 Inclusive Methods and Strategies for Literacy 3 View
EDUC 632 Overview of Special Services 3 View
EDUC 633 Differential Literacy Assessment 3 View


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

How It Works

Gain hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge simultaneously

Western’s Special Education program requires a yearlong residency that consists of 24 to 27 graduate-level credits and can be completed in one to two years depending on whether students choose to complete their master’s degree. Students in the program have a support team of faculty, which typically includes a clinical coach, a mentor teacher and a regional coordinator.*
*Regional Coordinators are only for initial licensure students.

In the initial licensure program, candidates are either traditional residents working 24 hours per week in a special education classroom or alternative special educators working fulltime in their classroom. In the added-endorsement program, Western offers pathways for already-licensed teachers. Students pursuing this route are either alternative full-time special education teachers or are working toward adding their special education endorsement while maintaining their role as a general education teacher.

Education is not one size fits all

Special Education teachers examine all of their students’ circumstances to create individualized plans that help them meet their academic goals and excel in the classroom.

M.A. in Education: Special Education Generalist (ages 5-21)

Helping all students be the best learners they can be

Special Education teachers work provide an inclusive, compassionate and encouraging educational experience to all special-needs learners. Whether they are a part of the initial licensure program or the alternative licensure program, students working toward the Special Education Licensure will be equipped with the skills they need to confidently administer lessons to any student regardless of learning ability. Students interested in furthering their degree by earning their M.A. in Education can pursue either the M.A. in Education degree or the M.A. in Education, Educator Effectiveness degree depending on their teaching background.

Western is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This regional accrediting agency is responsible for accrediting degree-granting post-secondary institutions in a 19-state region.

Apply to the M.A. in Education

Breaking Down Learning Barriers

As a Special Education teacher, you’ll help students become confident in their learning abilities while accommodating different learning styles to provide maximum comprehension.

Department Information

Education Department

Department Chairperson

George Kamberelis, Ph.D.

Professor, Chairperson

Undergraduate Assistant

Barbara Woerner, B.Ed.

Placement Coordinator, Undergraduate Program Advisor

Graduate Assistant

Marilyn Krill

Department Support Coordinator

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Crawford Hall 101
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231