Longwood's Special Education program is a five-year pathway to becoming a licensed special education teacher. You'll have all the tools, experience and knowledge to ensure your success teaching general curriculum to Kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Career Path

Special education teachers promote growth for all students, advocate for children with special needs and provide support to their student's families.

What You'll Study


We offer several pathways that lead to teaching Special Education in Virginia.

Liberal Studies Fifth- Year

This Master's program is for students who declared their Special Education concentration as an undergraduate.

You'll receive your Bachelors of Science Degree in Liberal Studies, Special Education once you complete your undergraduate coursework and the undergraduate components of Teacher Prep. You'll have your Virginia Teaching License at the completion of your Fifth Year

Fifth Year: You'll take 36 graduate credit course hours spread out over two sessions in one summer, one session in the fall and one session in the spring. You'll also complete a comprehensive exam and the Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities Praxis. 

At the end of the Fifth Year, you'll have a Master of Science in Special Education, and will be eligible for your Virginia State Teaching License (or another state equivalency) and licensed to teach Special Education K- 12, Mild to Moderate Disabilities.

Special Education General Curriculum - Five Year Requirements

Plus One Year, Special Education

This Master's program is for you if you have: 

  • An undergraduate degree in Elementary and/or Secondary Education 
  • A Bachelor of Science or Arts Degree in Liberal Studies, Elementary and/or Middle School Education (or their field of study in Secondary Education)
  • A valid Virginia State Teaching License (or another state equivalency)

Plus One Year

You'll take 39 graduate credit hours spread out over two sessions in the summer, one session in the fall and one session in the spring and complete a comprehensive exam and the Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities Praxis. 

At the end of your Plus One Year, you'll have your Master of Science in Special Education and you'll be eligible for your Virginia State Teaching License in Special Education. After you've completed the program you can teach Special Education K - 12, Mild to Moderate Disabilities. 

Plus One Year Special Education Requirements (pdf)

K-12 Initial Licensure

Designed for individuals with a baccalaureate degree who wish to meet eligibility requirements for the Virginia Postgraduate Professional License with an endorsement to teach students with special needs in the general education curriculum.

Special Education General Curriculum - Initial Licensure Requirements

Special Education Professional Endorsement

Designed for educators who have or are eligible for Virginia Elementary/Secondary Initial or Continuing teaching licensure.

The program provides coherent preparation in all areas of the Special Education curriculum, including field experience. Successful completion of the entire program meets current eligibility requirements for an endorsement in Special Education General Curriculum grades K-12.

Special Education General Curriculum - Professional Endorsement Requirements

Longwood alumni honored as top teachers

Chanel Vaughan Leslie ’97 Alabama PTA Council Elementary Teacher of the Year

Chanel Vaughan Leslie made her way on hands and knees under a loft in her Huntsville, Alabama, classroom to reach an autistic child.

"He wouldn’t come out; no one could reason with him," she said. "No one could do anything. I remember crawling under the loft and talking to him. Fifteen minutes later he and I crawled out, and he wrapped his arms around my neck, told me he loved me and went to sit down."

Moments like these are career-defining and underscore the passion great teachers have for connecting with their students. For Leslie ’97, 15 minutes under a loft with a child showed her she was where she was meant to be.

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