Special Education

Special Education

BA in Special EducationAre you interested in helping others? Are you analytical and think creatively? Do you like to work with others towards a common goal?

Consider majoring in Special Education at Converse and you will be part of our legacy of passionate, award-winning teachers. You will have ample opportunities to participate in clinical experiences with a variety of students with disabilities at all school levels, observe instruction in local schools, and implement new skills learned in related coursework.

Degrees Offered  

  • BA in Comprehensive Special Education
  • BA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities
  • BA in Special Education: Intellectual Disabilities
  • Minor in Emotional Disabilities

About Special Education

Our Special Education program is renowned for comprehensively preparing teacher candidates to become skillful instructors who can teach PK–12 students who have learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or emotional disabilities. Our professors are all veteran educators with a passion for teaching. At Converse you’ll develop the knowledge and skills needed to adapt readily to constant changes in the field of special education.

As a Special Education major at Converse, you will follow in the footsteps of award-winning teachers and school administrators. You will observe class instruction in nearby schools, participate in clinical experiences, implement skills learned in related coursework, and assist teachers with their roles.

Converse’s teacher preparation programs comprise a wide diversity of field and clinical experiences in public schools. Our faculty continually challenge students to integrate theory with practice.

More reasons to choose Converse:

  • Our popular Comprehensive Special Education degree prepares you to become certified in both elementary education and special education. The career flexibility of dual certification sets our major apart from similar majors at other schools
  • Our programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP), approved by the South Carolina Department of Education and enjoy certification reciprocity with many other states
  • With our low student-to-faculty ratio you will receive individual attention from faculty and advisors; we help you balance your educational goals with your individual needs
  • You will participate in student teaching opportunities giving you first-hand experience with students of various ages and challenges
  • The majority of Special Education students have a job within six months of graduation; many students have secured positions prior to graduation
  • Converse Education majors consistently score above the state and national average on the Praxis subject assessments
  • You will observe and assist teachers in local schools

Clinical Experiences

You will participate in clinical experiences at the elementary, middle, and high school levels during assignments in conjunction with your major courses. This practicum experience allows you to work with children and youth in grades PK–12, who have various interests, skills and abilities.These clinical experiences allow you to develop skills, explore curriculum specific to the area in which you plan to teach and prepare you for the culmination of the program: student teaching.

Student Teaching

During your last term at Converse you’ll complete a 60-day student teaching requirement. Once you successfully complete the Praxis subject assessments in your particular area of specialty, as well as the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam you will be eligible for placement in student teaching.

You will work closely with your cooperating teacher throughout your student teaching and will receive visits and guidance from your college supervising teacher. Our goal is for you to be confident and fully prepared to teach in your own classroom after graduation.

Our curriculum is aligned with professional standards and meets all the requirements for national approval by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Upon completion of the degree you will be eligible for South Carolina certification in not just one or more disability areas but also elementary education.

BA in Comprehensive Special Education

Our comprehensive special education major prepares special education teacher candidates to teach grades PK–12. Coursework includes 69 hours of instruction in intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and elementary education. You will be prepared to work with and develop teaching strategies for students who have a wide range of learning, intellectual and emotional disabilities. You can earn additional certification in Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities or and Elementary Education by completing specified courses and obtaining passing scores on the Praxis subject assessments in those licensure areas.

BA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities

This major focuses on coursework in special education, elementary education, and psychology, giving you a strong foundation for work with learning disabilities in grades PK– 12. Earning a BA in Special Education: Learning Disabilities will give you the skills to provide meaningful and challenging learning experiences for students with Learning Disabilities. You will create individualized instructional strategies for students who struggle with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math.

BA in Special Education: Intellectual Disabilities

Our curriculum will guide you to work with students who have limitations in both intellectual functioning as well as adaptive behavior. Our BA in Special Education: Intellectual Disabilities program also develops your collaborative skills, preparing you to work with a multidisciplinary team of educators and related service providers including parents, therapists, school administration, and advocates, to develop individual educational goals for your students.

Minor in Emotional Disabilities

The emotional disabilities minor* consists of 18 hours of course work in special education and psychology. Students wishing to pursue this minor need to consult the program director about course schedules, course sequence, and clinicals. Special Education majors (other than Deaf and Hard of Hearing majors) may not choose this minor.

*This minor does not lead to certification for majors outside of the initial teacher education programs.

Emotional Disabilities Worksheet

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

What are Special Education alumni doing?

Converse-trained Special Education teachers are in public and private schools throughout South Carolina and beyond. Our program is the proven standard for supplying classroom-ready, fully certified special education teachers with experience in current classroom issues, methods and technology.


  • South Carolina Autism Specialist of the Year
  • 2015 Teacher of the Year for Union County School District


Lainie Sowell Spotlight

Lainie Sowell ’13, Special Education: Intellectual Disabilities

“My leadership experiences in Honor Board and SGA Executive Committee, as well as clinical experiences and student teaching opportunities outside the classroom still drive my career. At 25, I was running a special education program and was hired by two alternative teacher certification programs (TFA and LRCE) to provide professional development to special education teachers throughout the state. I would not have the voice or confidence to do these things if it weren’t for the empowerment I feel as a Converse graduate.”

Special Education Stories

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