Special Education

CUW’s Special Education program prepares teacher candidates to work with diverse groups of students with and without disabilities in a variety of school settings.

Why Study Special Education at CUW?

  • Special Education is a teacher shortage area in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Highly qualified Special Education teachers are needed in all parts of our country!
  • You will have numerous clinical experiences in local classrooms which will prepare you for a rewarding career
  • You will receive a strong liberal arts education in a Christian setting
  • Our program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • You will prepare for a career in which you can make a difference in lives of many children and their families!

Program Facts

  • Average class size: 18-20 students
  • Years to complete:  4-5 years 
  • Student Clubs: Best Buddies, Council for Exceptional Children, Education Club

Program Overview

CUW’s Special Education program includes a strong liberal arts foundation, a Christian emphasis, specialized coursework, and numerous field experiences working with children with disabilities.

Areas of emphasis:

  • Special Education has three different majors to choose from: a dual certification in Early Childhood Education (regular education and special education), a dual certification in Elementary/Middle Education (regular education and cross categorical special education) or a dual certification in Cross Categorical Special Education (middle childhood through early adolescence and early adolescence through adolescence)
  • All Special Education majors are dual major programs: no minor required! You can choose an education minor in another area if you want to expand your knowledge 

What You’ll Learn in the Special Education Program

Our program will teach you:

  • Assessment and Diagnosis of Students with Disabilities
  • Legal Requirements in Special Education
  • Assistive Technology for Individuals with Disabilities
  • Lesson and Unit Planning
  • Curriculum Adaptions for Learners with Disabilities
  • Progress Monitoring of All Learners
  • Classroom Management
  • Faith Development

Career Choices in Special Education

With a degree in Special Education you can find meaningful work in:

  • P-12 Schools- Private and Public
  • Profit and non-profit centers
  • Programs that serve students with special needs
  • Family childcare centers
  • After school programs


Students majoring in Cross Categorical Special Education will choose one of three concentrations:

  • Emotional Behavioral Disability (EBD)
  • Intellectual Disability (ID)
  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD)


Concordia’s Special Education program prepares you for Wisconsin teaching certification in one of three areas:

  • Dual certification in Early Childhood Education (regular and special education)
  • Dual certification in Elementary/Middle Education (regular education and cross-categorical special education), or
  • Dual certification in Cross-Categorical Special Education (middle childhood through early adolescence and early adolescence through adolescence)

These majors don’t require an additional minor.


Special Education students take core liberal arts courses, and education courses focusing on both regular and special education. See our course catalog for details.

Important Things You Should Know

  • GPA is a major factor in being licensed by the state: students must have a GPA of 2.75 to student teach and be eligible to be licensed.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction also requires teacher candidates to pass a battery of tests before becoming licensed. One of these tests is a performance assessment which you will complete during your student teaching semester.
  • Students must successfully pass a background check before working in schools and applying for their teacher license.
  • Upon successful completion of the Special Education program, students are eligible to apply for the Wisconsin Teachers License for their area of study. The program assumes no responsibility for the success of its students in obtaining professional certification or other types of professional licensure.

Year student teaching is completed

Senior year; typically your last semester


Our program is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 1-800-441-4563, www.dpi.state.wi.us 

High School Prep Courses

  • English
  • Math
  • Social studies
  • Sciences
  • Writing


Dr. Linda Hensel, Special Education Department Chair


Dr. Wanda Routier, Director of Graduate Special Education