Special Education
Bachelor of Science in Education

Make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

People with learning, developmental and other disabilities benefit from teachers who understand them. Our program will prepare you to help individuals with disabilities from kindergarten through age 21 learn, grow and thrive. It’s a fulfilling and in-demand career that allows you to have a major impact on people’s lives.

My high school dance coach was also the special education teacher at the high school. I got to spend a lot of time with her students. They grew to become some of my friends and inspired me to take the path into special education.

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What Can I Do With an Special Education Degree From NIU?

Your path after graduation depends on the degree emphasis you pursue. Some include getting your professional educator license, preparing you to teach in Illinois schools. Other emphases prepare you to work with people in other settings, such as group homes and community organizations.

Top skills reported by alumni:

  • Curriculum development
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Educational technology
  • Lesson planning
  • Staff management

Top fields alumni work in:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Information technology
  • Non-profit
  • Services

Career Potential for NIU Special Education Majors

Average mid-career salary:


Top employers include:

  • Chicago Public Schools
  • DeKalb CUSD 428
  • Harlem High School
  • West Aurora School District 129
  • Autism Home Support Services, Inc.
  • Naperville Community Unit School District 203

Job titles include:

  • Special education teacher
  • Principal
  • Behavior specialist
  • Special education director
  • Special education coordinator
  • Substitute teacher

Source: Steppingblocks, 2023

What to Expect as an Special Education Major at NIU

Our program is highly interactive. You’ll receive extensive training in the use of assistive technology, as well as several clinical and student teaching experiences. Depending on your goals and interests, you’ll choose one of the following emphases:

  • Learning behavior specialist I with professional educator licensure
  • Special populations
  • Visual impairments with professional educator licensure
  • Vision rehabilitation therapy

Explore special education courses.

How We’ll Help You Succeed

Apply for free and we’ll automatically consider you for a renewable merit scholarship.

Earn your bachelor’s degree fast with our affordable tuition and fees. Any credit hours you take over 12 are free (per semester).

Prepare to thrive after graduation with personalized support from Career Services.

With our truth-in-tuition policy, you’ll get the same fixed tuition rate for four continuous years, whether you live in Illinois or another state.

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First-year Students

High School GPA

3.0 or higher?

You're guaranteed general NIU admission.


Not considered.

We think your high school GPA is a better predictor of your success.

First-Year Application

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First-Year Application

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Transfer Students


2.0 or higher?

You're guaranteed general NIU admission.


3.0 or higher?

You're guaranteed a
renewable merit scholarship

See how your credits transfer

Apply to NIU as a Transfer Student

See how your credits transfer

Apply to NIU as a Transfer Student

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