special education

Teach a struggling child and change their life. As a special education teacher, you champion for children who need different approaches to learning. You are an educational leader and advocate, collaborating with families and communities to creatively approach and adapt educational opportunities so all children can achieve their dreams.

Although the many available special education jobs vary, you should expect to adapt curriculum, collaborate with other professionals and families, advocate for students, and become a trusted mentor for students with special needs. You will work with students and families to make life-long goals based on high expectations and plan programs to accomplish these goals for continuing education and future employment. Special education teachers create and implement plans, teach academic and behavioral skills, and remove barriers between the students and their future goals.



From your very first clinical experience, you will be part of the co-teaching model. You are paired with a professional teacher from your very first education course through your final experience as a student teacher. Parkside has strong partnerships with area schools who open their doors so that you can experience first-hand what it is like to be a teacher in the real world.


How do the clinical hours work? 
Teacher candidates (you) work alongside a professional educator (a teacher) to support student learning at area schools.  Depending upon your major, you will serve clinical hours at different developmental or grade levels. UW-Parkside currently has two license areas: Secondary Education for grades 6-12 (middle and high school) and Elementary Education for grades 1-8. Initial EDU courses require 20 clinical hours per course, which comes out to about two hours a week that you’ll be spending time in a classroom. 

What does the clinical placement involve? 

Our Clinical Placement Coordinator, Tracy Hribar, will set up a time within the first weeks of the semester for what we call “Pairs Training," where you will meet the teacher you’re going to spend time with for the semester. This meeting is a chance for you to share times you’re available and discuss expectations for you in their classroom. You’ll confirm the days and times you’ll be in their classroom during this meeting as well. 

How will I fit 20 hours into my semester schedule? 

By learning and utilizing time management skills, you will be able to work these hours into your semester schedule. On average, 20 hours a semester works out to be about two hours per week in the classroom. This doesn’t include your travel time to and from your clinical placement. IPED recommends keeping one or two mornings a week open so you have this time to go to your school placement to help you complete the required clinical hours. The IPED advisor is available to work with you to learn time management skills. 

What if I don’t end up liking teaching? 

Don’t worry, exploring is very important to help you learn what you like or dislike about any degree program.  EDU100 is a good class to introduce IPED students to the classroom experience. Working with the IPED advisor, you will find it is very easy to change your major or continue exploring your options. 


Education Programs

Elementary Education Major
Secondary Education Major
English as a Second Language Minor
Bilingual Education Certification

Licensure Opportunities

Elementary Education
Secondary Education
Technology + Pre-engineering
English as a Second Language Minor
Bilingual Education Certification


Mary Henderson | 262-595-2180 | hendersm@uwp.edu

Faculty Highlights

University of Wisconsin System Member
The Higher Learning Commission
Carnegie Foundation, Elective Community Engagement Classification
UW Vets - Veterans Education & Transition to Success