Special Education (K–Age 21)

The Special Education (K–Age 21) specialization can help you become effective in teaching students with multiple disabilities and diverse needs to learn and achieve at their fullest potential.

Part of Walden’s Minnesota state-approved* Teacher Preparation Program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), this specialization emphasizes the strategies and skills needed to create positive, productive learning environments that focus on a broad range of exceptionalities, including autism spectrum disorders, developmental cognitive disorders, health disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, and other learning disabilities in the mild and moderate range.

In this specialization, you will:

  • Examine the unique characteristics and learning patterns relevant to different categories of exceptionalities.
  • Create adaptive behavioral, instructional, and literacy plans that complement the learning for students with special needs.
  • Explore effective assessment, monitoring, and intervention strategies that promote positive learning and remove barriers that inhibit learning.
  • Learn how to use Common Core Standards to guide your instruction methods and strategies.
  • Foster relationships with school colleagues, parents, and community organizations to support students’ learning and well-being.

The curriculum includes a variety of field experiences that provide opportunities to observe expert educators, receive mentoring, and apply what you learn in classroom environments.

Courses for this specialization incorporate standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) and are aligned with Minnesota state’s special education licensure standards.* Prior to completing this program, you will complete the Teacher Performance Assessment.

Gain a general understanding of the guidelines and requirements of the Special Education M.A.T. program with the Special Education Candidate Guidebook (abridged version). After you download the guidebook, please call 1-866-492-5336 to speak with your enrollment advisor for assistance in reviewing the information.

Completion Requirements

Estimated time to completion is 20 months. Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.


*Walden University’s teacher preparation program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching for licensure in Minnesota. Walden’s enrollment advisors can provide individuals with guidelines and other information about licensure. It remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with the out-of-state licensure requirements for the state in which he or she seeks to be licensed.

#Field experience includes a minimum of 75 hours of classroom-based and Virtual field Experience (VFE) in conjunction with coursework; 12–14 weeks of full-time demonstration teaching.

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