College of Education

Special Education


Education School

in Kentucky (US News & World Report)




hours field experience

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Do you have a heart for teaching students who are struggling to learn?

As a special education teacher, you can experience the reward of helping students to acquire new skills and make a lasting difference in the life of a child.


There is a national and state shortage for special education teachers. More than six million children in the United States qualify for Special Education services. These students require specialized, evidence-based instruction.


The UK Special Education program will prepare you to teach students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities in pre-school through 12th grade, or ages 5 to 21.  This program prepares teachers to meet the needs of many classrooms in which these students are taught together.  This may include students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, emotional/behavioral disabilities, moderate to severe intellectual disability, severe autism, or significant physical and sensory disabilities that impair functioning.


Students who graduate from this program will be eligible for dual certification in both Learning and Behavior Disorders and Moderate and Severe Disabilities.


What makes our program stand out:

  • You will be taught by research leaders in the field who were all classroom teachers.
  • You will be out in schools and in classrooms working with teachers and students from day one.
  • We have strong relationships with local schools that provide unique teaching and externship experiences.



Grow Your Future

  • Learning and Behavior Disorders Resource Teacher
  • Learning and Behavior Disorders Co-teacher
  • Moderate and Severe Disabilities Special Education Teacher


Schedule a visit with the College of Education

Meredith, an undergrad studying Special Education
"The College of Education and the University of Kentucky have thoroughly prepared me not only to be a Special Education teacher, but also to always fight for my student's rights and use education to change lives."

Meredith Davis

Special Education Graduate

Admission and Certification

You should complete an undergraduate admissions application and declare interest in Special Education. Be sure to keep your grades on track. After completing 45 credit hours, you will need a minimum 2.75 college GPA to apply to the Teacher Education Program.


You will be eligible to apply for certification in Kentucky upon graduation.


Interested in teaching outside of Kentucky? See our list of teacher certifications by state


Graduation Requirements

The B.S. in Education program in Special Education requires completion of: (1) the UK Core requirements; (2) specified course work in Related Studies and Professional Education; and (3) specified course work in the special education.

Apply for College of Education Scholarships

In addition to automatic and competitive scholarships from the University of Kentucky, our students are also eligible for a variety of scholarship awards from the College of Education.

For incoming freshmen the scholarship application deadline is February 1. 

For transfer and current students the scholarship application deadline is April 5.

Student Organizations

Students can find many opportunities to join organizations. Many of our Special Education students are involved in:


Student Council for Exceptional Children Student Organization

‚ÄčThe purpose of this organization includes being advocates for children with disabilities, advancing the professional development of its member, and providing charitable and other services to persons with disabilities. 


Learn more about student organizations in our college.

Imagine Your Future

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2021

Number of Jobs


in 2021

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Most special education teachers work in public schools, teaching students from preschool to high school. Many work the traditional 10-month school year, but some work year round.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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