February 15, 2018

College of Education offers 3-year special education degree program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A new accelerated degree program in Purdue University’s College of Education is intended to help reverse a statewide shortage of special education teachers.

The new Fast-Track degree program begins in fall semester 2018, offering students majoring in special education the opportunity to graduate with a degree in three years.

It is the first accelerated special education degree program in Indiana.

Once licensed, a special education graduate is qualified to teach children who experience mild emotional, learning, or intellectual disabilities in preschool through 12th grade, including children with autism.

Jasmine Begeske, a clinical instructor in special education, said the Fast-Track program is for highly motivated students willing to work year-round to earn a degree.

“The students will save on tuition, have opportunities to study abroad and engage in field experiences in local classrooms each semester,” she said. “They will complete about 200 hours of field work before student teaching, preparing them to work with a diverse range of student needs.”

Begeske said Indiana and other states are reporting the need for more special education teachers in the classroom nationwide.

“Special education is a high need area across the nation and this three-year program will allow the student to enter the workforce sooner,” she said. “Special education is the category of teacher that’s most in demand, with many states are reporting severe shortages.”

Work on the Fast-Track has been ongoing since Begeske proposed the degree program to College of Education faculty during the fall semester.

Under the accelerated program, students experience includes all of the same coursework and classroom experiences as the traditional, four-year program

Students learn to develop essential pedagogical skills for teaching youth with various disabilities. Focuses include using use assistive technology as well as developing instructional material and environmental modifications.

The College of Education will continue to offer a four-year option as well as an option to be a special education teacher for students with intense needs. 

For more information, go to http://www.education.purdue.edu/fasttracksped.

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu 

Sources: Jasmine Begeske, 765-494-7335, begeske@purdue.edu

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