Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education has launched a new fifth-year nontraditional program with special education certification. The M.S.E. in K-12 Collaborative Special Education Fifth-year Nontraditional program is a 36-credit-hour program designed for those who desire to gain the necessary knowledge and understanding to effectively teach, plan and impact the learning of students with disabilities and at-risk for disabilities in the K-12 classroom.
The fifth-year nontraditional program allows students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any area other than teacher education to earn their Class B teaching certification while earning their Class A certification and masters in special education in just 18 months.
According to U.S. News and World Report, there is drastic teacher shortage in all areas of education but there is a particularly high demand in the area of special education. “The field of special education is wide open for individuals seeking employment opportunities,” said Mandy Hilsmier professor and program director. “This is one area of education where there is an ongoing need for highly qualified, well-prepared teachers and our program will leave them more than prepared to enter the classroom.”
Hilsmier is an education professor and director of the M.S.E. in K-12 Collaborative Special Education Fifth-year Nontraditional program. She is also director of the traditional M.S.E. in K-12 Collaborative Special Education program.
The program is delivered through a blended format with on-campus and online options. Class delivery occurs in the evening to meet the time demands of working professionals. The structure of the program can be individualized to meet the needs of professionals who may be working in schools, businesses or other areas but desire to become certified to teach special education.
Students will graduate with a deep understanding of accommodations and modifications for all student needs, effective instructional strategies for working with low and high incidence disabilities, and how to manage challenging behavior using the functional behavior assessment. “The intent of this program is to prepare highly qualified special educators to make a difference in the lives of children and to meet a critical need for special education teachers in the state,” said Hilsmier.
“The education school is thrilled to add the K-12 Collaborative Special Education Fifth-year Nontraditional program to its impressive list of graduate programs,” said Michael Hardin university provost and education interim dean. “There is an increasingly growing need for exceptional educators across our nation and we are proud to now offer outstanding traditional and nontraditional routes to a master’s in special education.”