May 28, 2023
In the B.S. Ed. in Special Education degree, candidates focus their studies in one emphasis: Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I), Visual Impairments, Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), or Special Populations. The LBS I cross-categorical emphasis prepares candidates to obtain an Illinois professional educator license (PEL) with entitlement as a Learning Behavior Specialist I (K-age 21). The emphasis in Visual Impairments prepares candidates to obtain a PEL with entitlement in the area of Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired (K-age 21). The VRT emphasis prepares students to obtain national licensure from the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. Candidates in the VRT emphasis prepare to teach independent living skills to individuals with visual impairments. The VRT program does not lead to a PEL in the State of Illinois. The Special Populations emphasis prepares students to work with individuals with a range of disabilities across the lifespan in settings such as group homes, private agencies, and community organizations. The Special Populations emphasis does not lead to a PEL in the State of Illinois.
The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.
Check departmental information for any additional requirements.
Entrance and Retention in the LBS I and Vision Impairments Program Emphases with Professional Educator Licensure
To advance to the first professional semester, candidates must have (a) achieved an NIU GPA of 2.50 or better, (b) received a grade of C or better in SESE 240 or an equivalent transfer course, and (c) completed the safety tutorial prior to the first clinical experience. Candidates in the LBSI emphasis must also complete SESE 260 or an equivalent course with an S (S/U grading). Advising staff verify completion of the safety tutorial, prerequisite course grades, and overall NIU GPA. All candidates who meet requirements are admitted to the Learning Behavior Specialist I or Visual Impairments teacher education program.
To remain a major in special education, candidates must (a) maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better, (b) receive a grade of C or better in professional courses and a grade of Satisfactory (S) in clinical courses, and (c) pass all state-mandated licensure tests the semester before enrolling in student teaching courses. Contact program advisors for information on mandated tests and deadlines for passing these before student teaching. For both the LBS I and the Visual Impairments emphases, candidates must pass all required courses in professional semesters with grades of C or better or, as appropriate, with a grade of S, before advancing to the next professional semester. Candidates must pass the first student teaching course with a grade of S before advancing to the second student teaching course. School districts providing early clinical and student teaching placements may have additional requirements such as TB testing that candidates must complete prior to working with students.
Candidates are expected to meet all university and College of Education standards for retention as well as the standards set forth in the Council for Exceptional Children Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Practice for Special Educators.
Individuals who have earned the Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) in Special Education may apply to transfer into the professional educator licensure program in either the Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I) or the Visual Impairments emphasis. Transfer students must (a) have a minimum transfer GPA of 2.50, and (b) have grades of C or better in A.A.T. professional special education courses. The LBS I emphasis requires that the A.A.T. program include courses in Language Development and Introduction to Foundations of Reading. Candidates transferring to NIU with an A.A.T. in Special Education, who intend to pursue the LBS I program, must contact the undergraduate academic advisor no later than one year prior to admission to NIU. Failure to do so may result in a delay of registration for the initial block sequence of courses leading to educator license with LBS I endorsement.
License and Endorsement Requirements
Candidates who major in special education in the Learning Behavior Specialist I emphasis or the Visual Impairments emphasis are required to meet the Illinois licensure requirements including 29-41 semester hours of general education classes which must include at least three semester hours of cultural diversity course work. Transfer students with an A.A. or A.S. degree also must meet these requirements for educator licensure. Some districts where candidates are placed for clinicals or student teaching may have additional requirements, such as a TB test. Candidates who successfully complete the program requirements and pass the state mandated tests including the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) during student teaching will have completed all ISBE and CAEP standards necessary for receiving university recommendation for licensure and special education endorsement in Visual Impairments or Learning Behavior Specialist I. Successful completion of the program without a passing score on the state mandated edTPA may result in the candidate receiving a degree without university recommendation for licensure.
Endorsement for Non-Special Education Majors
Special Education course work meets all Illinois State Board of Education standards for endorsement in Special Education. This endorsement consists of 16-21 semester hours and is open to candidates currently seeking a Professional Educator License from a department other than SEED. Contact the academic advisor for details.
Emphasis 1. Learning Behavior Specialist I with PEL
Emphasis 1 prepares candidates for Illinois educator licensure with endorsement as a learning behavior specialist I (K-age 21).
Candidates in the LBS I with PEL program emphasis must earn a grade of C or better in SESE 240, SESE 370, SESE 415, SESE 416, SESE 417, SESE 444, SESE 446, SESE 447, SESE 448, SESE 459, SESE 460, SESE 461, as well as, EPFE 201, EPFE 321 or EPFE 410, EPS 405, ETR 434, ETT 402, LTCY 300, LTIC 301 or LTIC 420, and POLS 100 or POLS 150, and any course used to satisfy the NIU quantitative literacy requirement. In addition, candidates must earn a grade of S in SESE 419 and all early field experience and student teaching courses (SESE 260, SESE 418, SESE 449, SESE 463, SESE 464, SESE 491, and SESE 492). Candidates who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s). Teacher candidates transferring to NIU with an A.A.T. degree in special education are encouraged to consult departmental advisors for guidance.
Requirements in Department (60)
Requirements outside Department (31)
Total Hours for Emphasis 1, Learning Behavior Specialist I: 91
Emphasis 2. Visual Impairments with PEL
Emphasis 2 prepares candidates for Illinois educator licensure with endorsement in the area of Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. (K-age 21.)
Candidates in the Visual Impairments emphasis must earn a grade of C or better in SEVI 400, SEVI 410, SEVI 420, SEVI 421, SEVI 430, SEVI 440, SEVI 441, SEVI 450, SEVI 480, SEVI 484, SEVI 485, and SEVI 486. In addition, candidates must earn a grade of C or better in EPFE 201 EPFE 321 or EPFE 410, EPS 405, ETR 434, ETT 402, LTCY 300, LTIC 301 or LTIC 420, MATH 201, SESE 240, SESE 415, SESE 416, SESE 417, SESE 444, and SESE 447, and in courses meeting the Nature and Technology requirement. In addition, candidates must earn a grade of S in SESE 418 and SESE 449. Candidates who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s).
Requirements in Department (65)
Requirements outside Department (28-31)
Total Hours for Emphasis 2, Visual Impairments: 93-96
Emphasis 3. Vision Rehabilitation Therapy
This program prepares students to teach independent living skills to individuals with visual impairments. Program requirements allow students to obtain national licensure from the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals. This program does not qualify students for professional educator licensure in the State of Illinois.
Students in the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy major must maintain an NIU GPA of 2.50 and earn a grade of C or better in ENGL 103, ENGL 203, all knowledge domain coursework, and all SESE and SEVI courses; including SESE 240, SEVI 410, 420, 430, 440, 441, 443, 445, 447, 450, 451, and 460. Students must earn a grade of S in all courses with S/U grading including including SEVI 481 and 489. Students who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s). Transfer students must meet all NIU requirements for admission to the university.
Requirements in Department (51)
Other course requirements (33)
Students are encouraged to pursue a minor in a related field to attain sufficient credit hours for NIU graduation.
Total Hours for Vision Rehabilitation Therapy: (84)
Emphasis 4. Special Populations
This emphasis prepares candidates to work with individuals with a range of disabilities in private organizations, community settings, agencies, and other settings outside of public schools. Candidates are prepared to work with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. This program does not entitle candidates for professional educator licensure in the State of Illinois.
Candidates in the special populations emphasis must have an NIU GPA of at least 2.50 by the start of their junior year and maintain an NIU GPA of 2.50 or better to remain in the program. Candidates must also earn a C or better in all Special and Early Education courses, or a grade of S in courses with S/U grading. Candidates who do not meet these requirements must retake the course(s). Candidates must fulfill NIU requirements for general education, human diversity, and writing infused course work. Transfer students must meet all NIU requirements for admission to the university.
Requirements in Department (41-49)
Requirements outside Department (28-33)
Focus area requirements (18 - 21)
Candidates must complete a course sequence leading to one of the listed minors or the certificate of undergraduate studies in Young Children with Disabilities:
- Communicative Disorders (18)
- Deafness (21)
- Nonprofit and NNGO Studies (18)
- Rehabilitation Counseling (18)
- Social Change Leadership (18)
- Special Education Foundations (18)
- Young Children with Disabilities (15) and SEEC 282 - Educational Participation in Clinical Experiences: Early Childhood Education (3)
Total Number of Hours for Emphasis 4, Special Populations (95-103)
Transfer students and native NIU candidates must complete general education course requirements within the Knowledge Domains, as well as requirements for human diversity and writing infused course work.