B.S. Special Education Online

Develop the skills you need to connect to diverse learners, helping them thrive while learning online.
Degree Type Bachelor of Science
Careers & Salaries Career Outcomes
Delivery Online

Make a Difference. Teach Special Education.

UW-Stout's online Bachelor of Science in Special Education program prepares future teachers for a cross-categorical license to teach elementary, middle, and high school students with disabilities in the areas of learning, intellectual, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Our Special Education online, degree completion program is designed for working adults. If you're committed to living or working away from campus, our customized online instruction will prepare you to meet the needs of a diverse student population.

Enhanced Online Learning

  • Courses delivered 100% online by full-time faculty
  • Consistent Fall, Spring, and Summer program course offerings
  • Support from Adult Student Services Coordinators and Distance Librarians
  • Articulate your Associate's Degree or Technical Diploma to a Bachelor's Degree
  • Online Program Sequence Matrix

Our full-time faculty have worked to create an enhanced online learning environment. The program's cross-categorical versatility combined with qualification to teach ages 5 through 21 ensures maximum employability in school districts. Upon graduation, you will be ready to provide instruction, assessment and curriculum development for children with disabilities and their families.


100% of Our Graduates are Employed or Continuing Education

Career-Defining Curriculum

Your mission is to advocate for your students and their families while providing an appropriate level education for each student’s ability. To succeed, you’ll need to know how to assess the characteristics of the learners you serve, design effective teaching strategies, and develop the right attitude to practice within established standards. Our program graduates enjoy meaningful careers making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities special education teachers. As a graduate, you’ll be eligible to receive a Wisconsin teaching license in cross-categorical special education.


Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


Note: This program is designed to meet the requirements for licensure in the State of Wisconsin. The program also meets initial licensure requirements in all other states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. If you are located in another state, there may be additional requirements to complete after obtaining initial licensure. Visit our website for additional information.

Program Highlights

You’ll work with general education teachers to:

  • Develop lesson plans, materials, tests and access student learning
  • Adapt curriculum to be appropriate for each student
  • Teach specific learning strategies and study skills

The special education teacher responsibilities also include:

  • Assessment
  • Developing individual education and transition plans
  • Working with families and other support services

Increasingly, students with disabilities have been integrated into general education settings. Their education is usually supplemented by support services provided by a special education case manager. As a special education teacher, you must possess a working knowledge of all general education curriculum subjects and content.

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education.

Request Information

Value for Your Money

Online customized instruction at UW Stout can be described as programs that are designed with the adult learner in mind. If you're comparing UW-Stout's online degree customized instruction (CI) tuition to our competitors, keep in mind:

  • Customized instruction tuition rate includes the textbook rental fee.
  • There are no additional university-based semester or technology fees.
  • Students in customized instruction programs pay the same rate of tuition regardless if Wisconsin residents, out-of-state or international participants.

There’s more to value than just tuition. UW Stout also provides:

  • Program Director – faculty with discipline expertise.
  • Student Services adviser – one point of contact, providing support to students for each program.
  • Course sequences and matrices – know what courses are offered when so you can plan ahead.
  • Courses and programs may be stackable for use in another program.
  • Courses are flexible and convenient for working professionals.

Other universities will present costs and value differently - make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Note: This program is designed to meet the requirements for licensure in the State of Wisconsin. Students from other states will need to contact their state regarding licensure requirements. 

Admission Requirements

New Freshmen

Currently not accepting traditional freshmen into the online program.  High school students interested in the BS Special Education program should apply for the on-campus program.

Transfer Students

  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher from the last institution attended.

Students who meet this requirement will be admitted to the university in their chosen Education major. Subsequent acceptance into a teacher education major and enrollment in professional education coursework will require successful completion of Benchmark I requirements. Additional information can be found at the School of Education website.

Students whose cumulative GPA is lower than the 2.75 will be reviewed and considered on a case-by-case basis for admission consideration.

Application and Transfer Information


To apply for the online Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, you need to apply to UW-Stout.

Financial Aid

Students who are attending another institution, but are planning to receive their degree from UW-Stout, may be eligible to receive aid from UW‐Stout. In these cases, UW‐Stout is considered the Home Institution and the other campus is considered the Visiting Institution.

Transfer Students

Note: When filling out the application form, be sure to make a note in the student comment section that you intend to apply to the "online program." 

Preparing for Special Education

college preparatory background is recommended if you are interested in the special education program. English, science, mathematics, social studies, art and music are important as these areas are all included in teaching children and young adults.

Starting Out

Your coursework is arranged so that special education courses can be taken at the same time as general education requirements. General education courses include English composition, speech, psychology, history, biology and math. Faculty members are highly qualified and eager to help you with course and career choices. Help also is available through the Advisement and Career Centers, the Counseling Center and Career Services.

As You Progress

The curriculum includes courses in:

  • Educational psychology
  • Multiculturalism
  • Classroom management
  • Vocational evaluation
  • Behavioral intervention in schools
  • School, family and community collaboration

You’ll also develop techniques used to teach across categories of disabilities, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. Completing a variety of field experiences – from your sophomore year through to a full semester of student teaching – will give you the experience you need to succeed. Special education faculty and students also regularly engage in outreach service and collaboration within the region and state.

Career Opportunities

According to the 2014–15 Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Employment of special education teachers is projected to grow six percent from 2012 to 2022. … Employment growth will be driven by continued demand for special education services. Many job opportunities will stem from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation."

With the exception of teachers who work with students with profound and multiple disabilities in self-contained classrooms, the vast majority of special education teachers now work in regular education settings with students who have learning, cognitive, and emotional/behavioral disabilities, thus the needs for cross-categorical certification.

When students with disabilities are served outside of regular education classrooms it is typically in a "resource room" where students with various disabilities are provided specialized instruction, either individually or in small groups. The teacher may spend some time with a student or small group working on such things as study skills, preparing for a test, organization and test-taking strategies, and other strategies that help them learn more effectively and efficiently.

The individual education and placement plans developed for students with special needs are increasingly driven by the student’s instructional and behavioral needs rather than by category of disability diagnosis. Similarly, special education teachers are assigned a caseload of students with special needs based on their education plans rather than disability. Cross-categorical certification allows teachers to effectively plan curriculum for and successfully teach a wide variety of students.

Program Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee Members

Sharon BeckerProgram Director/Assistant ProfessorUW-Stout
Tonya BoudreauxSpecial Education Teacher, Eau Claire 
Debbie BrennanSpecial Education-Family Engagement CoordinatorCESA #11
Debra DelyeaDistrict Director of Special EducationCESA #10
Tracy DeRushaCoordinator of Field Experiences, School of EducationUW-Stout
Vicki DowellInstructor, Special EducationUW-Stout
Sharon FoxSpecial Education TeacherSpring Valley School District
NickGrunsethTECAP Student  
Madison HansonStudent Ambassador 
KarenIdsoAssociate Lecturer in SCOPEUW-Stout
HeatherKlandermanStudent Status Examiner, School of EducationUW-Stout
ElizabethKleinPeer Mentor 
Tonia Kowieski Menomonie School District
Becky MarineSpecial Education Advisor and InstructorUW-Stout
Meg MarmittSpecial Education TeacherElk Mound School District
Christine McMastersExecutive Director of Student ServicesChippewa Falls School District
Dan PaulsonAutism Spectrum Disorder InstructorUW-Stout
ChrisPetersonSCOPE Department Chair 
HeatherSandDirector of Special EducationElmwood School District
AndrewThiel (Ret.)Principal, Robbins Elementary SchoolEau Claire School District
RachelTraynorSpecial Education StudentUW-Stout
SueVan AmberLife Skills TeacherChippewa Falls School District
MandyVan VleetDirector, Special Education DirectorEau Claire School District
SandyWhiteOnline Outreach Program ManagerUW-Stout

B.S. Special Education

You can make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities. Become a Special Education teacher.
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