Special Education

Special Education serves children and young adults with a variety of exceptionalities including learning disabilities, mild to moderate disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and cognitive disabilities. Students work as special educators in schools and program developers and directors in community-based systems.


A Major of its Own at BVU

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers as:

  • Special education teachers
  • Community-based program directors
  • Program developers in school, community, and international systems

Above all, BVU:

  • Is the only university in Iowa providing a major in special education.
  • Has the highest amount of professional engagement and planned mentorship with school and community professionals.
  • Is the leading producer of special educators in Iowa.

We value the work it takes for our teacher candidates to be well-prepared for their field, thus we engage in actual practice, professional learning communities, literature, and even research in order to hone our skills at the state, national, and international level. BVU’s excellent partnerships with community schools allows BVU students gain tremendous experience through their interactions with their mentor teachers. While most of our classes require a 10-hour field experience, many spend much more time on location because of these great relationships.



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Partner with exercise science students to host Unified Sports Day for special needs students and athletes.


Team up with computer science majors to develop virtual reality learning activities.


Use the SMARTBoard system to easily practice demonstrating new lessons.


High Demand

BVU’s Path to Post-Grad Success

There continues to be a high demand for special educators in the United States as mandatory services are emerging worldwide. This leads to more opportunities and settings for you.

BVU students are prepared to serve children with emotional/behavioral, and/or cognitive disabilities within community and hospital-based day and residential programs supporting academic and lifelong skills.

Students driven to serve and make a difference for students and families on a more individualized level are often drawn to this field at BVU. Our students have a strong sense of social justice, policy, and an even stronger desire to have a positive impact on the world.


  • Daycare intervention and curriculum intern
  •  Assessment and progress monitoring specialist and interventionist-
  •  Student Teacher


  •  Papillion-LaVista Community Schools, Special Educator and Student Advocate
  •  Learning Resource Specialist
  •  Autism and Developmental/Cognitive Disabilities Teacher

Graduate School

  •  Drake University
  •  University of Northern Iowa
  •  University of Minnesota
Major in Special Education (54 Credit Hours, with Education Core 73 Credit Hours)
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Mrs. Erica Boettcher
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Meet the Professor
Dr. Karin Strohmyer
Associate Professor of Education, Special Education
Meet the Professor