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 (MAT), 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. You will complete a minimum of 105 hours of classroom-based and Virtual field experiences (VFE) in conjunction with coursework, plus 12 weeks of full-time demonstration teaching.

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 MAT 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

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will 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.

Course Sequence

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code EDUC 6605 Course Teacher as Lifelong Learner and Professional Educator Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6606 Course Today's Classroom and the Diverse Learner Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6607 Course Effective Practices: Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6608 Course Classroom Management Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6209 Course Collaboration to Support All Learners Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6626 Course Foundations of Special Education Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6627 Course Foundations of Literacy Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6628 Course Individualizing Education Programs for Learners With Exceptionalities Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6636 Course Characteristics of Learners With Exceptionalities Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6637 Course Literacy Assessment and Intervention to Support Student Learning Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6638 Course Behavior Management to Support Learners With Exceptionalities Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6639 Course Instructional Strategies for Learners With Exceptionalities Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6648 Course Demonstration Teaching Credits (4 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6649 Course Seminar for Professional Educators Credits (3 sem. cr.)
Course Code EDUC 6688 Course Action Research Credits (3 sem. cr.)

*Walden is approved by the Minnesota Professional Educator and Licensing Standards Board to offer a program leading to initial licensure in Special Education: Academic and Behavioral Strategist. Candidates must pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs) before Walden can recommend candidates to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the license. Candidates are responsible for completing any other Minnesota requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program and MDE is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.

Individuals interested in a special education licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved teacher preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers. The standards for an academic and behavioral strategist cover a wide spectrum of disabilities including, autism spectrum disorders, developmental cognitive disability, emotional or behavioral disorders, other health disorders, and specific learning disabilities; at the moderate level. Other states may refer to this as a cross-categorical, generalist, or mild/moderate license. Additionally, prospective students are advised if they choose to relocate to carefully review, evaluate and understand the requirements of the applicable licensure board in the state in which they intend to relocate.

Eligibility for initial educator certification in Washington is based on completion of a state approved educator preparation program. This program is approved in Minnesota and is authorized for field placements in Washington by the Professional Educators Standards Board. Even though you may be residing in Washington while in this program, your application for educator certification in Washington will be processed as an out-of-state application.

Go to for more information. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for teacher advancement.

Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.

Prospective Alabama students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at

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Questions about our Master of Arts in Teaching?
Questions about our Master of Arts in Teaching?
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