Program Summary

Samford’s nationally recognized ESEC program is designed to prepare students to teach a wide age range of children in a variety of grades. Students are afforded varied and diverse opportunities in authentic settings to gain the necessary knowledge, practical skills and professional dispositions required of today’s teachers. Samford students pursuing this degree will earn Alabama teaching certificates in four areas:

  • Early Childhood Education (Preschool-3rd grade)
  • Early Childhood Special Education (Preschool-3rd grade)
  • Elementary Education (Kindergarten-6th grade)
  • Elementary Collaborative Special Education (Kindergarten-6th grade)
Emily Daniel
The one thing I am going to miss most about Orlean Beeson School of Education is the relationships I have built with each professor. The thing that makes them special is their dedication to life-long learning and developing us as intentional educators. They have established an environment of love and support that really allowed me to grow into a very well-prepared and confident first-year teacher.–-Emily Daniel ’21

Objectives & Goals

Students in the ESEC teacher education program will engage in coursework throughout the program to build a knowledge base in theoretical understanding of elementary education, early childhood education and special education. During a student’s time at Samford, practical teaching skills to promote student learning will be developed through extensive field experiences at schools and other learning settings. Professional dispositions encompassing values, commitments and ethics will be established and expanded while in the ESEC teacher education program.

View Curriculum

Educators have the responsibility of preparing every other profession. Teachers have an enormous responsibility to prepare the future professionals and leaders of the world. If we fail, society fails." - Mandy Jayne (Stanley) Antwine '14, ESEC, Kappa Delta Pi National Student Teacher of the Year.

What Makes Us Different?

The ESEC teacher education program is nationally recognized by each of the Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs) represented within the degree. The program holds national recognition status from the Association of Childhood Elementary International (ACEI), the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), a designation held only by Samford University among other teacher education programs in Alabama.

  • CAEP accredited
  • Offers 4 teaching certificates in 4 years
  • Near 100% employment rate 3 months after graduation
  • Teacher education courses and early field experiences are offered to students as freshmen and sophomores
  • Courses are taught by Samford teacher education professors with few adjunct instructors
  • Teaching certificate reciprocity across most states in the U.S.
  • 100% Pass rate on PRAXIS licensing exam

Career Preparation

Graduates of the ESEC teacher education program are well-prepared and certified to teach in many settings across age groups and grade levels spanning preschool through 6th grade. ESEC program graduates are qualified to teach in a general classroom setting with expertise serving special needs students grades preschool through 6th grade. The ESEC program also prepares students to be skilled special education teachers prepared to teach preschool through 6th grade.

Career Opportunities

  • Preschool teacher
  • Elementary school teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Early Childhood teacher
  • Textbook and Instructional Materials Sales Representative
  • Educational consultant
  • Youth detention center teacher
  • Owner of a tutoring business
  • HeadStart or daycare teacher
  • Facilitator of teacher training courses for a college, university, K-12 school (public or private)
  • Online K-12 instructor
  • Corporate Trainer & Professional Development Specialist
  • Testing company administrator
  • Department of Education professional
  • Think-tank associate
  • Researcher
  • Lobbyist
  • Textbook author or editor
  • Reporter
  • Educational Blogger
  • School planter
  • Museum educator or activities director
  • Health educator
  • Private tutor
  • Teacher contracted for homeschooled or homebound student
  • Teach abroad
  • Admissions Counselors or Academic Advisor
  • Residence Hall Director
  • Disability Services Coordinator
  • College Student Activities Director
  • Adult Literacy and GED Instructor
  • After School Programming Coordinator
  • Public Relationships Specialist
  • Church or Temple Children's Ministry Coordinator
  • Daycare or Camp Manager
  • Director of the Multi-Cultural Center
  • Learning Center Instructor
  • International Students Advisor
  • Education recruiter for university or college
  • Non-profit Director
  • Recreation Director
  • Youth Director
  • Community Relations Director
  • Course designer
  • Education Program Director (zoo, museum, park, cruise ship, resort, historic parks/sites


  • Elementary Schools, public and private, general education classrooms and special education classrooms
  • Preschools, public and private
  • Early childhood learning centers

Clinical Handbook

Accolades & Alumni

Nationally recognized by: Association of Childhood Elementary International (ACEI), the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

Dr. Andrew Jackson: Alabama State Teacher of the Year, 2020

Mandy Jane Stanley: Kappa Delta Pi, National Student Teacher of the Year, 2014

Dr. Betsy Rogers: National Teacher of the Year, 2003-2004

Alumni Careers

  • Educational Missions work at home and abroad
  • Owner of a tutoring business
  • University professor
  • Public school elementary teacher
  • Private Christian school elementary teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Academic advisor at a university
  • Charter school teacher
  • KIPP school teacher
  • Teacher at a magnet school
  • Children’s minister
  • Mother’s Day Out director
  • Children’s book company consultant
  • International educator at an American School
  • Preschool teacher
  • Co-founder of non-profit organization
  • Speech language pathologist
  • Gifted resource teacher
  • Lead teacher at a children’s learning center
  • Teacher at a classical school
  • Tutor at a Foster Care Home