Student teaching through the York College education program

Early Elementary Special Education

Earn your bachelor degree in special education and early elementary education — and become a teacher who helps young people flourish.

Students in today’s elementary schools have a wide range of needs. Their teachers must be prepared to help all children excel. 

In this dual program at York College, you’ll complete a double major in Early Elementary Education and Special Education. As you learn about educational theory and gain hands-on practice, you’ll develop an appreciation for the differences your future students may bring to the classroom. And you’ll build the skills needed to support each of them, including those with special needs and English language learners. 

With experience in these two complementary areas of education, you’ll be highly competitive in the job market upon graduation. The Early Elementary/Special Education program will also prepare you for professional teacher certification in both regular education (PreK-grade 4) and special education (PreK-grade 12).

A teacher works with a toddler who is playing with a stacking toy in rainbow shape and colors.

Majoring in Early Elementary/Special Education

  • Key Courses

    Early Elementary and Special Education Courses

    Prepare to teach young children in a variety of learning environments. A dual degree in early elementary and special education gives you the skills to teach students of all abilities. You’ll learn how to teach content areas like reading, math, and social studies, while best supporting students with learning disabilities like autism spectrum disorders, visual impairments, and other special needs.

    Early Elementary and Special Education classes include:

    • ECH 230: Early Childhood Theory and Practice
    • EDU 225: Instructional Needs of English Language Learners
    • ECH 304: Teaching Language Arts
    • SPE 304: Evidence Based Instruction for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities
    • ECH 320: Teaching Math
    • SPE 351: Transitions and Career Development in Special Education
    • SPE 370: Assistive and Augmentative Technology
    • SPE 375: Positive Behavior Support
    • SPE 495: Student Teaching
  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Careers in Special Education

    Early elementary/special education graduates have many areas of specialization. You can choose to teach in public schools, or provide other education services. You could also go on to earn your Master of Education (M.Ed.). Job titles may include: 

    • Special Education Teacher
    • Elementary School Teacher
    • Preschool Teacher
    • Behavioral Specialist
    • Learning Support Teacher
    • Special Education Advisor
    • Assistive Technology Specialist

    Our graduates have gone on to work for public and private schools across the region. These include Baltimore County Public Schools, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, and York City School District. 

    Special Education Salary

    How much do special education teachers make? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for special education teachers was $61,420 in May 2020. Teachers often work with children during school hours, full-time or part-time. Many do not work during the summer.

    Benefits of a Special Education Degree

    Early childhood special education is a good career path with lots of growth potential. BLS data says that demand for these jobs should rise as disabilities continue to be identified earlier and children are enrolled into special education programs. 

    As a teacher, you will have a meaningful career with direct impact on the lives of students and families. Working in a school district also allows for built-in opportunities to continue enhancing your skills.

    Elementary Education Salary

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn an average of $60,660 per year. These teachers generally work with children during school hours. Most do not work during the summer.

    Benefits of an Early Elementary Education Degree

    According to the BLS, demand for kindergarten and elementary teachers is expected to increase over the next decade as enrollment increases and many current teachers reach retirement age. In addition to job security and emotionally rewarding work, early childhood educators tend to enjoy a good work-life balance, with frequent holidays and summer breaks.

    No matter what you decide to do with your dual Elementary Education and Special Education degree, we’ll help you excel before, during, and after your job search. 

  • Internships & Work Experience

    Internships & Work Experience

    York College’s Early Elementary/Special Education program makes sure you spend plenty of time in the classroom as you earn your degree. Opportunities to interact with working educators and real students are woven throughout the program.  

    Near the beginning of your studies, the early field experience course allows you to observe and be mentored by educators in local schools. Then, in your final semester, you’ll complete a full-time clinical field experience. During this time, you will be placed in an area school district, in two separate classrooms (regular education and special education) within your certification areas. 

    This hands-on professional practice ensures that you will graduate well-prepared for your first classroom, and with a competitive skill set for the job market. 

  • Mentorship & Community

    Mentorship & Community

    On-campus student organizations offer a variety of opportunities for education majors who want to get involved. Many Early Elementary/Special Education students take part in the Student Education Association (SEA) and/or the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society.

    Twice per semester, the Education Department also hosts children and families from the York Area Down Syndrome Association (YADSA) on campus. Students from several education classes get hands-on experience as they engage the children in learning activities and spend time getting to know these young members of our community.

  • High-Demand Skills

    Elementary Education and Special Education Skills

    Our bachelor of science in Early Elementary/Special Education helps future teachers:

    • Assess student skills and educational needs
    • Develop and implement Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • Plan activities that are specific to unique abilities
    • Adapt lesson plans to meet special needs
    • Teach as a class, in small groups, and one-on-one
    • Discuss students’ progress with parents and others
    • Help children with special needs thrive outside the classroom

    Early Elementary and Special Education Minors

    Students who pursue a dual degree in early elementary education and special education may choose a complementary minor. Options might include:

  • Accreditation & Professional Recognition

    An Accredited Early Elementary Education and Special Education Degree

    York College is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits schools and colleges in the Middle States region. This includes Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Accreditation by one of the six regional accrediting associations in the United States indicates that the school or college has been carefully evaluated and found to meet standards agreed upon by qualified educators.

    The College's bachelor of science (B.S.) program in Early Elementary/Special Education is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Contact Us
Education Department
Kimberly Sutton
Chair of Education Department
Appell Life Sciences, 135
Phone: 717.815.1424