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Home » M.S. in Ed. Special Education K-12


Where this degree can take you:

  • Teaching K-12th grade
  • Preparation for administration or doctoral programs

Designed for:

Individuals who want to become teachers who work with students with mild or severe disabilities. Candidates who successfully complete this program fulfill the requirement of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and are eligible for initial teacher licensure in Oregon.

To start, you need:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Desire to become a special education teacher

Get the details on admission requirements, processes, and timelines

Finishing will take:

  • 2 years
  • Minimum 45 credits
    • Must meet with advisor to create a program contract
  • A professional portfolio

Begin your masters degree in special education:

Fall term 2020

Where you will take classes:

  • On campus

Technology you will need:

  • Computer with internet conenction
  • Video conferencing capability (e.g., Skype)

What you will learn:

The Special Educator initial endorsement program prepares special education teachers to work with students with mild disabilities and students with severe disabilities. The TSPC requires each student to be authorized to teach at one of two age-level authorizations: (1) early childhood/elementary or (2) middle school/high school. All endorsement course work taken at the 500 level can be included in the M.S. in Education: Special Education degree.

The Special Educator I program is designed for teachers who hold or are eligible to hold a valid initial teaching license. Six quarters of full-time training are required to complete the program.

The Special Educator II program is designed for students who do not hold a teaching license. Six quarters of full-time training are required to complete this program.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Effectively teach students who have a wide range of cognitive, physical, emotional, and learning disabilities.
  2. Understand current, credible research findings on disability, instruction, assessment and behavior management.
  3. Provide enriched learning opportunities for students with disabilities in self-contained classrooms, resource rooms or general education classrooms.


If you haven’t found the information you need or are still not sure where to direct your question, contact Olivia Flores at or 503-838-8675

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"Being a student in the M.S. in SpEd program at Western Oregon University gave me the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that equipped me to become an effective teacher. The professors in this program provide both challenge and motivation in the classroom setting through the support, knowledge, and enthusiasm that they exhibit in their teaching practices. Aside from establishing positive relationships with the professors, I also had the opportunity to build relationships with mentors in a nearby school district, while completing my field experience requirements. Receiving mentorship and guidance in the special education field before beginning my teaching career, helped me apply the knowledge that I had gained in my classes to support students in their academic and/or functional development. Overall, this program helped me grow so much as a person and a teacher, and I know it will do the same for you."

Nicolette Wise

M.S. in Ed. Special Education

"When I joined the Special Educator program at WOU, I could not have been more pleased with how well it prepared me for a professional career as a teacher. Everything in our preservice training was about high performance and gaining an honest familiarity with this discipline, and yet it was blended with a freedom to be connected to our own individualism. Every lecture, every teaching strategy presented, was ultimately about the goal of equipping us to transform the lives of students and meet their needs in profound ways. Western Oregon respects the diversity and autonomy of its students, but also equips each person to become an expert in their chosen field. Through exposure to cutting edge best practices, growth opportunities in student teaching, and guidance from some of the nation’s top professors, WOU has truly found a way to send out the best of the best."

Jake Dorr

M.S. in Ed. Special Education

"The journey to become a special education teacher is a demanding, rigorous path. WOU’s special education program requires its students to fully commit to the hard work it takes to become a great educator, but it’s a collaborative journey. The professors are there every step of the way to deliver the guidance and tools required for you to find success. Their backgrounds in education provide more than mere textbook learning. I gained knowledge through experiential learning, insight from cutting edge research, opportunities to hone my classroom skills, and a local community of professional K-12 teachers who are now my colleagues and mentors. Ultimately, you get out what you put in. So dive in, commit fully to the journey, and WOU’s program will guide you in creating a fulfilling career where you have the honor of helping students reach their own potential every day."

Josh Wolf

M.S. in Ed. Special Education

"The WOU SpEd program provided me the experience and knowledge to become the best teacher I could be. The program provided me with opportunities to grow and expand in my teaching skills. The support and encouragement from my professors, helped foster the strength and determination to grow in my leadership skills. The small cohort sizes helped create an environment of collaboration and diversity, to impact my future students for the better. Everyone within the SpEd program have a similar vision. This vision is: to provide students with opportunities to grow their minds, hearts and independence skills; in order for students to have a positive impact on the community and world in which they live."

Katelyn Coburn

M.S. in Ed. Special Education