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 the licensed educator who desires to become an accomplished special education teacher as well as earn an Illinois* LBS1 endorsement. This program is designed to provide teachers interested in special education the knowledge and skills to work in a continuum of special education services (e.g., self-contained through inclusive). Graduates will be prepared to demonstrate competency and proficiency as a special education teacher regarding Individualized General Curriculum and Individualized Independence Curriculum (CEC, 2015). Emphasis on methods, assistive technology, and assessment for the following learners with disabilities' access needs includes: learning disabilities, social/emotional disabilities (internationally known as, and otherwise known as, emotional/behavioral disorders), intellectual disabilities (internationally known and formerly known as, mental retardation), physical disabilities, autism spectrum, multiple disabilities, other health impairment, and traumatic brain injury. This program provides an LBS1 endorsement that matches the grade level on the student’s existing Illinois* Professional Educator’s License (PEL).

*The LBS1 Endorsement requires Illinois licensure. Students with out-of-state licensure are welcome to enroll in the MA Special Education program, but are not eligible for the Illinois LBS1 Endorsement. Questions regarding reciprocity by state should be directed towards the student’s state of licensure, or (Illinois State Board of Education).

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 evidenced-based assessment methods, curriculum, instructional design and practice.
  • Examine issues of the continuum of special education services, 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 successfully meeting 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 Professional Teaching License (PEL)
  • Completion of 30 credit hours of course work 

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 their Regional Office 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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