Online Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education (Birth – K), Graduate Endorsement | University of Nebraska

Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education (Birth – K), Graduate Endorsement

Graduate Endorsement

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

  • Course Delivery
    Fully Online
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Get the same diploma as on campus students

The online Special Education, Graduate Endorsement with specialization in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) (Birth K) program prepares students to support excellent outcomes for young children birth to age 5 with special needs and their families.

Students choose this program because:

  • The collaborative learning experience allows them to gain insight from colleagues across the country.
  • The flexible online format allows busy professionals to learn from dedicated faculty members, in their time.
  • Graduates of this program will be able to apply for teaching positions as preschool classroom teachers for children with and without disabilities or as a special educator in itinerant consultant or coach roles in homes, community childcare, preschool or public school settings.

The Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-K) endorsement is available to two types of candidates:

  • Candidates with a teaching certificate. The add-on endorsement is for the candidate with a valid teaching certificate in either Elementary (K-6), Early Childhood Education (Pre-3), Inclusive (Unified) Early Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 3) or Special Education (K-6).
  • Candidate without a current teaching certificate. Students without a current teaching certificate may combine these endorsement requirements with additional courses and field experiences to earn an Initial Teaching Certificate in Nebraska along with a masters degree. In this case, students must be admitted to the masters degree program in special education.

Note: The early childhood special education (ECSE) endorsement from the Nebraska Department of Education can be met through the ECSE graduate certificate or masters degree program. It is not a degree or graduate certificate option by itself.

Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for Special Education Teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions. Graduates of this program will be able to apply for teaching positions as a preschool classroom teacher for children with and without disabilities or as a special educator in itinerant consultant or coach roles in homes, community childcare, preschool or public school programs.

More about the University of NebraskaLincoln (UNL) Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders:

The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs, their families, schools, and communities.

The vision is that every individual with special needs will:

  • Achieve maximum potential for learning.
  • Communicate autonomously.
  • Enjoy optimum health and well-being throughout the lifespan.

Students have the ability to choose to:

  • Take one or a few classes of interest.
  • Pursue the teaching endorsement or graduate certificate.
  • Complete a graduate degree.

Johanna Taylor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Practice

Johanna Taylor has extensive experience in behavior analysis and early intervention. She served as the Behavioral Services Manager for BAYADA Behavioral Health in Kahului, Hawaii. In that role, she conducted functional behavior assessments of children with autism, created function-based treatment plans and trained and supervised registered behavior technicians to implement intervention techniques. Taylor also previously served as the Hilo Early Intervention Program Manager for Easter Seals Hawaii, managing team members that included speech-language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, special educators and care coordinators.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A license/certificate required

    Teaching certificate in K-6 Special Education. If you do not have a teaching certificate you will need an additional 21+ credit hours in College of Education and Human Sciences.

  2. Official transcripts from all previous schools

NOTE: If you reside in state(s) KY, please contact a program adviser before applying.

To apply to this program:

  • Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (select either 'Degree: Special Education, Specialization Early Childhood Special Education' or 'Non-Degree, Graduate Certificate Objective in Early Childhood Special Education' and indicate in the comments section you are interested in seeking the Early Childhood Special Education endorsement)
  • Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
  • Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
  • Apply and be admitted to the department
Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions. Application review will begin upon receipt of all required application materials.

If you already have a teaching certificate in Elementary Education or Early Childhood Education, you will need the following courses: SPED 800 Characteristics of Exceptional Children or equivalent (3 credit hours), SPED 412/812 Assessment Techniques for Diverse Learners or equivalent (3 credit hours) and SPED 454 Managing Challenging Behavior or equivalent (3 credit hours).

If you do not have a teaching certificate, you will need an additional 21+ credit hours in College of Education and Human Sciences.

In addition to the required courses listed here, students take six credit hours early childhood education/development electives.

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SPED 860Issues in Early Childhood Special Education3

Course Number: SPED 860

Introduction to the history, philosophy, and research related to early intervention practices with children 0-5 years of age. Discussion of issues related to legal mandates, model programs, family involvement, integration, transitions, service delivery systems, teamwork and assessment for young children.

SPED 861Infants with Disabilities and Home Visiting3

Course Number: SPED 861

Prereqs: SPED 960 and permission. SPED *861 requires a practicum in home visiting. Assessment and intervention strategies for developing appropriate early intervention programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Rationale and principles for conducting home-based, family-centered, and transdisciplinary services.

SPED 862Preschool Children with Disabilities in the Classroom3

Course Number: SPED 862

Prereqs: An assessment and behavior management course; and permission. SPED *862 requires an applied experience. Selection, design and implementation of developmentally appropriate, activity-based interventions for preschool-age children with disabilities. Ecological assessments. Instructional factors, such as classroom environments, activity planning, selection, use and modification of strategies, home-school communications, and consulting to staff in inclusive settings.

SPED 863Medically Fragile Infants3

Course Number: SPED 863

Prereqs: Major in Special Education, Speech-language Pathology or Child Youth and Family Studies. Senior status or permission of instructor. Unique needs, family-coping strategies, specialized medical staff and various health care settings for chronically ill infants, toddlers and preschool age children. Overview of etiology, characteristics and developmental implications of selected medical conditions related to developmental disabilities.

SPED 876Language Development for Teachers3

Course Number: SPED 876

Introduction to the foundations of normal speech and language development and potential difficulties in both early stages and in the classroom. Analysis of child language samples. Strategies for explaining language development to parents and professional colleagues.

SPED 882Specialized Instruction for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities3

Course Number: SPED 882

SPED *882 requires observations in schools and applied assignments. Selection, design, and implementation of best practice instruction for students with severe disabilities, multiple disabilities, or deaf-blindness.

SPED 896QPracticum: Infants and Preschool Children with Disabilities3

Course Number: SPED 896Q

SPED 960Family and School Collaboration in Special Education3

Course Number: SPED 960

Prereqs: Professional experience or completion of one practicum and/or field experience with young children (birth to age 5) or other individuals ages 5 to 21 years who have disabilities Functions and interactions of both family and education systems. Impact of having a child with a disability on the normal and stressed family system. Promote family-professional partnerships in assessment and intervention for the child and/or student with an IFSP/IEP. Communication skills are reviewed and practiced for effective teaming among educators and for interviewing, consulting, collaborating and coaching with family members and other community team members.

TEAC 810Kindergarten Teaching3

Course Number: TEAC 810

Recent developments in education of children and their bearing on the selection and guidance of appropriate activities and materials for the kindergarten. Related functions of home, school, and other educational agencies.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $356.50
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $408.75
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1069.50
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1226.25

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $652.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $704.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1956.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $2112.75

Questions about tuition? We can help.

What's it like to take a program online?

  • Quality learning experience

    The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.

  • Flexibility

    Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.

  • Service you expect from a leading University

    Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.

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