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Special Education

Through application-based projects and practitioner-friendly assignments, you will learn to be an inclusive special educator who provides engaging and differentiated instruction to learners with diverse learning abilities. Upon completing the program, you will have enhanced knowledge and skills as a special educator ready to make a difference in the classroom for all students.

woman leaning on a table next to a small child with small colorful toys on the table in front of her

Choose a Concentration and Make a Difference

Special Education: General Curriculum K-12
This concentration leads to a master’s degree and eligibility for a license to teach special education in kindergarten through grade 12.

Special Education: Adapted Curriculum K-12
In this concentration, you will take up to 39 hours of coursework in education and adapted curriculum and 6 hours of internship to obtain initial licensure in special education, adapted curriculum. 

Early Childhood Special Education, 0-5 years old
This option prepares graduates to work with and advocate for infants and young children with developmental delays and disabilities birth to five and their families in a variety of early intervention, home and school settings.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Pre-K-12
This concentration prepares teachers to work with deaf and hard of hearing students of all ages. You are exposed to the various communication and instructional approaches.

Visual Impairment, Pre-K-12
This concentration is for individuals interested in a master's degree in special education with visual impairments. Only one additional course in educational research is required beyond the full licensure program.

Why Study Special Education at Radford?

  • All courses are offered online
  • Tuition assistance is available with grant funding for many eligible students seeking licensure
  • Our faculty are supportive of the academic and professional development of our students
  • We are the only university in Virginia to offer licensure coursework in all five (5)areas of special education endorsement

Careers and Internships

How do students from Radford do professionally post-graduation?

  • 100% employment rate
  • Graduates learn how to collaborate with elementary, middle and secondary school teachers
  • You will be able to help meet the needs of every child in the classroom
  • Graduates are highly recruited by school administrators

What’s the career outlook for Special Education?

  • Special education ranks at number 2 on the 2022-2023 Ten Critical Shortage Teaching Endorsement Areas in Virginia (Cline, 2022)
  • The demand for special educators is expected to increase by 4% from now through 2031 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, 2022)

Admissions Requirements

A combination of factors including GPA, personal essay, current resume, 3 professional references, official transcripts, and teaching experience will be used for determining acceptance to the graduate program in special education.

Specific concentration requirements

Deaf and Hard of Hearing
No specific application directions.

Early Childhood Special Education
If you are currently teaching preschool-aged children with disabilities and do not have the ECSE endorsement, send an email to  Sharon L. Gilbert.

Special Education: Adapted Curriculum K-12
You must also apply to the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Special Education Adapted Curriculum.
Please send this form to:
Annemarie Horn, Graduate Advisor and Grant Coordinator for Adapted Curriculum and Visual Impairment
School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Special Education: General Curriculum K-12
No specific application directions.

Visual Impairment
You must also apply to the Virginia Consortium for Teacher Preparation in Visual Impairment. Application to the Consortium involves submission of the application form for participation and three essays, your updated, detailed resume, and a telephone or face-to-face interview.  All individuals who wish to take one or more courses in visual impairment must apply to both the VI Consortium and Radford University. Please begin the application process as soon as possible. It often takes at least 4-6 weeks for the process and you must be accepted and have an ID number before you can be registered for classes.

Annemarie Horn, Graduate Advisor and Grant Coordinator for Adapted Curriculum and Visual Impairment
School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Opportunities for Special Education students at Radford

There are opportunities to conduct research in classrooms that can result in publishing peer-reviewed journal articles or books and presenting at professional conferences with faculty.

Courses You Might Take

The Certificate in Autism Studies is another option requiring 12 credit hours. The Masters Only program is available for those interested in a non-licensure route.

The Five-Year program is for full-time students who immediately want to get their master’s degree after completing their bachelor’s degree.

  • 99% acceptance rate

  • 5 special education concentration areas

  • 99% of students pass their comprehensive exam on the first try

We offer licensure and non-licensure program options, courses for adding another licensure area to an existing license, and a five-year program where undergraduates complete one more year as full-time students to end with a master’s degree.

“From the very beginning of my journey at Radford University, the staff in admissions, advisement, financial aid, professors, instructors, departmental chairs, deans, and even my peers all played a major role in my success in becoming a Special Educator. Radford University is a magnificent learning facility that refines a student by molding unique individuals like myself into awesome special educators that give 100%.”

Regina Baines '21

We want to get to know you better and we are excited that you are ready to take your next step and learn more about us. We are here to help you and look forward to working with you during your college search process.