Special Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

— Nelson Mandela

This rewarding field allows you to help children with disabilities discover their many abilities. Relationships and collaboration are key to a special education teacher’s success. You’ll work with parents and colleagues to develop individual education plans (IEPs) for each student. And you’ll partner with other professionals, including other teachers, social workers, occupational therapists.

Alverno’s Education undergraduate majors can choose a five-year degree option that offers an accelerated path to becoming a licensed special education teacher. With just one extra year (including a summer session), you can complete the special education licensing requirements that typically require a two-year master’s degree. If you decide to keep going, you’ll have a head start on your master’s coursework. Alverno also is developing a minor for those who want to become licensed to teach English language learners.

A more in-depth approach
The most effective special education teacher needs a solid grounding in general education. It’s critical for general educators to know how to serve a variety of learners, and that’s why special education content is infused in courses across our Education curriculum. Our five-year undergraduate program will give you the flexibility to pursue a career as a general educator with additional training to help you succeed as a special education teacher.

Learn from the best
Decades ago, Alverno adopted its groundbreaking abilities-based curriculum, a revolutionary approach to learning and assessment that educators from around the world continue to study and emulate today. As more school districts adopt this model, you’ll have the advantage of experiencing it firsthand. You’ll learn from educators who are leaders in their field, who have years of experience teaching and who are on the forefront of the latest trends in education.

On-the-ground training
Alverno’s program gives you extensive experience in the classroom and community, with field experiences starting as early as your second semester. Field experiences are usually 2-3 hours a week and combine observation and teaching experience. You’ll complete more than 125 hours of classroom practice through your field experiences, which help ease you into the culmination of your major: full-time student teaching.

A reputation for quality
Alverno surveys area employers, and principals consistently tell us that Alverno grads often exceed expectations and perform at the level of more experienced teachers because of their ability to meet the diverse needs of their students.

Get involved
Looking for more experiences outside of the classroom? Join the Alverno chapter of Student WEA (Wisconsin Education Association) to practice your leadership skills and get involved in the field.

How you can use your degree
Most of our students have their heart set on the life of a classroom teacher, but your Education degree can provide a strong foundation for a variety of rewarding roles in the education field (some may require additional degrees or licensure). Job prospects are also strong for teachers in Wisconsin, where many districts have faced a teacher shortage. Teachers with dual-licensure for teaching special education and English language learners are especially in demand.


Have questions about studying Special Education at Alverno? We invite you to connect with faculty to learn more.

Pat Luebke, Dean, School of EducationPat Luebke
Dean, School of Education