Elementary education is the term commonly used to describe the formal teaching and care of children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home, usually from early childhood through 6th grade. Special education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, accessible settings, and other interventions.  These interventions are designed to help learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and community than would be available if the students were only given access to a typical classroom education.

Description of Field

Students receive a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with Texas teaching certifications in EC-6 Core Subjects and EC-12 Special Education. As part of the 120 credit hours students are required to take for the Bachelor of Science degree, students must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program by fulfilling GPA requirements and passing the THEA test with the required scores for admission to the Teacher Education Program. These scores may differ from score requirements for admission to the university. Students must also complete Clinical I which includes classroom observations and Clinical II which is the student teaching semester. Finally, in order to teach in the state of Texas, students must pass state certification exams which they are eligible to take after completing the Teacher Education Program and consulting with the UNT Dallas Certification Officer to ensure they are adequately prepared before registering. After these requirements are completed, students are eligible for teacher certification through UNT Dallas.

Suggested Degree Plan

EC-6/EC-12 Special Education Transfer Guide

Possible Employers

Students are primarily being prepared to teach all subjects in early childhood through 6th grade and special education students from early childhood through 12th grade with this degree. However, the following employers also look to hire certified teachers.

Texas Public Schools

Private and Charter Schools

Private Tutoring

Daycare Centers

Correctional Institutions

Education Consulting Firms

Social Service Agencies

Peace Corps


Adoption Agencies

Test Preparation Companies

Publishing Companies


United Way Agencies

Group Homes

Mental Health Clinics

Community Recreation Centers

Overseas Schools for Military Dependents

Possible Job Titles

Elementary Teacher

Middle School Teacher

Content Mastery Teacher

Intervention Teacher

Missionary Worker

Day Care Worker

Resource Teacher

Private Tutor

Social Services Worker

Educational Consultant

Curriculum Writer

Educational Materials Sales


Success Strategies

  • Obtain multiple certifications to increase employability.
  • Obtain master's degree in subject area for increased employability.
  • Acquire teaching experience.
  • Obtain master's degree and certificate in school administration.
  • Graduate study required for "special service" fields.
  • Obtain master's degree in area to become specialist.
  • Develop strong word processing, editing and desktop publishing skills.
  • Learn federal, state and local job application procedures.
  • Take some general business and computer courses.
  • Gain experience through volunteer work or internships.
  • Develop writing and public speaking skills.
  • Learn to work well with people of various backgrounds.
  • Add additional coursework in area of interest such as human services, counseling or psychology.
  • Seek grant writing experience to increase opportunities.
  • Learn a second language to increase opportunities.
  • Gain experience and an advanced, typically Ph.D., degree for high level positions in government.

Online Resources

Texas Education Agency- http://tea.texas.gov/
Special Ed Careers- http://www.cec.sped.org
School Spring- http://www.schoolspring.com
Teachers-Teachers- http://www.teachers-teachers.com
K-12 Job Search- http://k-12jobs.com
Private School Employment Network- http://www.privateschooljobs.com
Department of Defense Office of Overseas Schools- http://www.dodea.edu
US Department of State Office of Overseas Schools- http://www.state.gov/m/a/os

Professional Associations

National Association of Special Education Teachers- http://www.naset.org
Council for Exceptional Children- http://www.cec.sped.org
TX CEC- http://www.tcecweb.org
National Education Association- http://www.nea.org
Association of American Educators- http://www.aaeteachers.org
Association of Texas Professional Educators- http://www.atpe.org
National Alliance of Black School Educators- http://www.nabse.org/index.html
Association of Mexican American Educators- http://www.amae.org

What students are saying

" I love this campus. It’s friendly and inviting, the class size is small, and everyone seems willing to help, even the professors."

Nayelli, Class of 2018

Read Nayelli's story »