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Education – Special Education

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Education and Human Ecology

Special education is a profession focused on evaluating and meeting the learning needs of exceptional children and adults. At a more practical level, special education is individually planned, systematically implemented and carefully evaluated instruction to help learners with disabilities achieve the greatest possible personal self-sufficiency and success. 

The Bachelor of Science in special education is an undergraduate teacher licensure program that prepares students for professional careers servicing the educational needs of individuals with disabilities. The program emphasizes the design, implementation and evaluation of direct instruction to help learners with special needs acquire and use the knowledge and skills necessary to function successfully in school, home, work or community settings.

Upon admission to the university, newly-admitted students may be directly admitted to the special education program. Transfer students must apply to the special education major during the fall of their sophomore year. For addtional information, visit

This program is designed to prepare students to sit for applicable licensure or certification in Ohio. If you plan to pursue licensure or certification in a state other than Ohio, please review state educational requirements for licensure and certification and state licensing board contact information at

After being admitted to the special education major, students may select from three distinct licensure curricula:

  • Mild/moderate intervention specialist (K–12 license)
  • Moderate/intensive intervention specialist (K–12 license)
  • Primary intervention specialist (pre-K–5 license)

Major course work includes the following:

  • Assessment and Instruction for Struggling Readers    
  • Classroom and Behavior Management for Students with Disabilities  
  • Delivering Efficient Services to Enhance Inclusion   
  • Educational Assessment in Early Childhood Special Education 
  • Education Intervention for Young Children with Disabilities    
  • Introduction to Child Development
  • Languge and Communication Skills for Children with Mild/Intensive Disabilities   
  • Methods of Instruction for Elementary Children with Mild/Moderate Disabilities    
  • Music for Special Education Teachers   
  • Philosophy of Education  
  • Reading Instruction for Children with Disabilities   
  • Understanding Phonics and Its Role in Instruction    

In addition to completing course requirements, students must maintain a minimum 2.75 cumulative grade point average in the teaching content area and successfully fulfill field-based and clinical-experience responsibilities. The student’s academic achievement is periodically reviewed, and performance in clinical and field-based experiences for integrating teaching and learning theories is monitored by faculty. Students who intend to pursue teacher licensure in the area of special education must pass Ohio Assessments for Educators and complete a background check.

Teaching credentials

Graduates of the special education program will receive licensure as a primary intervention specialist, mild to moderate intervention specialist, or moderate to intensive intervention specialist upon successful completion of program and state requirements.

The Global Option in Education and Human Ecology is an option for students in good academic standing on any Ohio State campus. In this program, students develop their ability to communicate with and work alongside individuals from other cultures through education abroad programs and globally themed course work. 

The First Education Experience Program is an open option service-learning general education course that allows undergraduate students to explore education as a possible career path through real-world experiences and seminars. As a Special Education student you will learn first-hand about the education field by spending time in local PreK-12 schools or other education settings. As a service-learning course, FEEP will allow you to gain and apply academic knowledge through civic engagement with communities and require you to complete a service-learning project. This course is a required prerequisite for several undergraduate licensure programs in education and is open for students who want to explore non-classroom education settings.

The College of Education and Human Ecology Honors Program offers students rigorous course work and opportunities to work closely with faculty to design and complete a research project. Students in this program also have access to smaller classes, priority scheduling and unique housing opportunities. A significant outcome of the Honors Program is the high level of understanding gained in designing and conducting research studies and/or using and analyzing research findings and developing an understanding of the role of research in the expansion of knowledge in fields within human ecology.

Special education majors can pursue advanced curricular enrichment through independent studies with faculty and a senior Honors thesis.

The Ohio State chapter of the Student Council for Exceptional Children is very active. Affiliated with the largest professional association in special education, SCEC is a student-run organization that conducts community service activities for individuals with disabilities and arranges seminars and events to help its members learn more about special education. 

Kappa Phi Kappa is a national professional co-ed fraternity in education. Kappa Phi Kappa connects members with development and career opportunities in education, informs members about education programs at Ohio State, introduces members to possible future colleagues, and helps support the Columbus community through service activities.

Special education graduates may seek careers in child and family services and residential and vocation services for adults with disabilities. Students seeking careers as intervention specialists in public schools will find a robust job market immediately after graduating.

Beginning salaries for recent Special Education graduates vary greatly depending on the school district and state of employment. On average, new teachers with no previous teaching experience can expect starting salaries of $36,000-$42,000 per year.