MA, Special Education, LBS1

Study Format Online, On Campus
Program Length 30 credits*, 12 or 24 months


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The master of arts degree in special education is designed for certified educators who desire to become an accomplished special education teacher as well as receive an LBS1 endorsement. This program is designed to provide teachers interested in transferring into a special education classroom or bringing special education skills to their current teaching area of expertise. Graduates will be prepared to demonstrate competency and proficiency as a special education teacher in any of the following areas: learning disabilities, social/emotional disorders, mental retardation (EMH or TMH) (currently referred to as intellectual disability), physical handicaps, autism, or traumatic brain injury. This program provides an LBS1 endorsement that matches the grade level on the student’s existing Professional Educator’s License (PEL).

Learning Objectives

This program will enable candidates to:

  • Build and strengthen a theoretical understanding of the foundations of special education.
  • Increase knowledge and skills in research-based assessment methods, curriculum, and instructional design and practice.
  • Examine issues of inclusion and least restrictive environment, special education educational systems, and special education policy and law.
  • Apply strategies and skills developed in coursework through practicum experiences.
  • Conduct research to answer questions related to special education practices and to successfully meet the needs of all learners.

Program Requirements

  • Two years of teaching acquired prior to completion of the graduate program.
  • Hold a valid initial or existing Type 03, 09, 10, or 29 certificate license.
  • Complete 30 credit hours of coursework.

Endorsement Process

Students must pass the Illinois Content Area Test for Special Education (Learning Behavior Specialist 1 Test 155).

Students apply for endorsement through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) via the Regional Offices of Education. ISBE Form 73-52, official transcripts, and any fees must be submitted to the state before the endorsement is given. This endorsement allows the endorsement holder to teach Special Education students within the age and grade limits of the new ISBE grade level regulations established in 2014.  It is recommended that students take and pass the LBS1 test prior to beginning Practicum 1.  

Note:  successful completion of the MA in Special Education provides an LBS1 endorsement which matches the grade level on the student’s existing Professional Educator’s License (PEL).


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